The vice-chairman of the Assembly of Experts has strongly criticized Saudi Arabia for taking side with the Nigerian army in the massacre of Shiite Muslims of the African country.
“Saudi Arabia’s coalition with the US and arrogant powers is a blatant example of friendship with blasphemers; the Saudi king’s congratulations to the perpetrators of crimes in Nigeria is shameful and disgraceful,” Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi said on Saturday.
He reiterated that attacking and killing innocent Shiites in a country that has about 15 million Shiites and an apparent Muslim government is a painful crime against Islam.
“In a country where Boko Haram kills innocent people and enslaves children and women, and no effective measures are taken against it, authorities treat 15 million Muslims in a violent manner only for fulfilling their religious duties and staging protests against Israel,” Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi said.
The Nigerian army attacked two religious centers of the country’s Shiite community last week, killing hundreds of defenseless civilians there. The military also arrested Leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky after raiding his house and killing his son, assistants and followers.
On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Nigeria’s charge d’affaires in Tehran over the massacre of the Shiite Muslims in Zaria in Kaduna State and voiced Tehran’s serious concern over the incident.
At the meeting, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s office for African affairs condemned the Nigerian army attack on the Shiite community as unacceptable, and reiterated the Nigerian government’s responsibility for protecting the lives of the Shiites and religious centers, especially the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran seriously demands clarification of the dimensions of the incident, treatment of the wounded people and compensation for the damage incurred at the earliest,” the Iranian diplomat said.
The Nigerian charge d’affaires, for his part, said that he would inform his government of Iran’s concern and provide Tehran with a response.