Shiites warn against denial of right to worship
Appeal for global intervention
Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) have cautioned the Federal Government against denying them their right to worship.
A statement by the spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, condemned the ban placed on the group by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
He said they were denied their religious obligations last Friday, which marked the beginning of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.
The group, also called Shiites, urged the international community and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the governor to stop his interference.
According to Musa, the Islamic calendar is a mourning period for adherents of Shia Islam all over the world, in remembrance of the brutal killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
He added that evil forces of tyrannical Yazeed murdered the Imam on the plains of Karbala, adding that: “To Shia Islam, mourning his death is a sacred religious duty.”
Musa stressed that El-Rufai deployed armed security agents to forcibly disperse them from solemnly mourning the Imam as it is done worldwide.
He said this happened “a day into the mourning period, which he said was last Saturday 02/01/39, which is equivalent to 23/09/17). It was sheer protection of Allah that prevented an unnecessary loss of lives in Zaria and Kaduna.
“The governor and his security agents have been encroaching on our religious’ rights for too long. Their action must be taken as trampling on our rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as freedom, either alone in public or private, or in community with others, to manifest and propagate our religion or belief in worship, teaching, and practice and observance.”
Musa added that a similar thing happened in Kaduna last year when they were attacked, resulting in the death of scores of mourners, who were performing their obligations.
He described it as “provocation of the highest order and persecution taken too far, which must stop immediately.”
He accused the governor of supporting one religion against another, adding that everyone must be allowed to practice his belief as guaranteed in the Constitution.
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