Just days after the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria was declared a terrorist group by the Kaduna state government, more revelations have emerged about the activities of its members led by Ibraheem El-Zakzaky who is still in detention.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has revealed that the group actually carried out the assassination of some Islamic clerics and attacked the Emir of Zaria, Shehu Idris.
Before the group clashed with the Nigerian Army, it reportedly held Zaria almost under control with the government accusing its leader of creating another country inside Nigeria.
In a statement titled: ‘MURIC is neither pro-Shiite nor anti-Rufai’, issued on Wednesday, December 7, Ishaq Akintola, the director of the Islamic rights group, said: “Well-meaning Nigerians, particularly from the north where the impact of the group has been felt most, have sincerely intervened and thrown more light on the activities and status of the IMN.
“Fresh information has revealed IMN’s attack on the Emir of Zaria, its alleged involvement in the assassination of some Muslim clerics, its lack of respect for constituted authority, its posturing as a government within a government, its alleged possession of arms, etc.
“In the face of these fresh facts, we are obliged to incorporate the opinions of our members who are up-North. This is necessary in order to carry them along. Who feels it knows it. Those who live very close to the IMN must know IMN better.
“Even while we are not holding brief for the authors of the allegations, MURIC wishes to state clearly, categorically and unequivocally that at no point in time had we been pro-Shiite.
“Neither do we share any doctrinal identity with IMN. Our interest lies in the maintenance of peace in the Nigerian society and the need to avoid creating another monster like Boko Haram.
“MURIC is as worried as every other Islamic organization about the doctrinal differences and heretic inclinations of Shiism.
“But sectarian differences are not limited to Islam. Above all, we are gravely concerned about the self-imposed isolationist disposition of IMN in relation with mainstream Islam in Nigeria.
“We are equally nonplussed by the group’s refusal to recognize officially installed leaders. These are big and questionable minuses for IMN.
“In the light of the above, we affirm that MURIC remains committed to the goals and aspirations of mainstream Islamdom which has been pursuing peaceful coexistence, neighbourliness, tolerance, love, forgiveness and, above all, sacrifice for our great country, Nigeria under the umbrella of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).”
Daily Post reports that MURIC urged the Shiite group members to retrace their footsteps in character and doctrine.
MURIC added that the IMN needs better image laundering in Kaduna state and the north in general.”
Advising that efforts must be made to avoid turning IMN into another terror machine like the Boko Haram, Akintola said: “Nonetheless, we stand by our word of caution. Everything possible must be done to avoid turning IMN into another terror machine.
“What we need in Nigeria to get out of the current recession is peace. We also need peace for economic growth and political stability. We cannot afford another Boko Haram.
“As we round up, we appeal to Governor El-Rufai to ignore IMN’s unnecessary verbal war against his administration, avoid further bloody crackdown on the group and concentrate on the good work he has been doing in governance.
“We call on the Federal Government to investigate the serious allegation of possession of arms leveled against IMN. This will rest the controversy surrounding the labeling of IMN as an insurgent group once and for all.”