Shiites in Nigeria have become the prime target of a plot jointly hatched by the African country’s government, the Western powers, the Zionists and Wahhabi groups.
Tasnim News Agency on December 14 published a report on Nigeria and attempts by outsiders who aim to eliminate the Shiites in the African country on the Gulf of Guinea. The following is a translation of part of that report:
A country of 170 million, Nigeria is in West Africa. It has the largest population on the black continent and its 36 states are run by a federal government. Nigeria has the world’s tenth largest oil reserves and is the eighth biggest oil exporter. Muslims account for 50 percent of the population in Nigeria.
Since 2002, the country has been hit by military conflicts between Boko Haram and government forces. Boko Haram, which is an armed terrorist group, is seeking to shut down all modern schools and impose its Takfiri-Salafi laws in the country.
Shiites in Nigeria
Shiites in Nigeria are the biggest Shiite community in Africa. In 2008, the population of the Shiites was estimated to stand around seven million. The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a Shiite group, is led by Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. Nigerian Shiites live in Lagos, Zaria and Kano, and the Baghiatallah religious site in Zaria is their stronghold.
Ninety-five percent of the Shiites are said to have embraced Shiite Islam in the past three decades. They are known as Mostabserin [those who have converted to Shiism]. Except for indigenous Shiites, a number of Lebanese immigrants are living in Nigeria too.
The Twelver Shiites hold religious ceremonies which bring together the faithful in their hundreds, among other occasions, to mark Ashura; they release newspapers, magazines and books, develop websites, and produce audio and video materials on the beliefs of the Prophet Muhammad’s infallible Household in their native language.
Shiites were present in Nigeria in three historic periods: 1) It started before 1994 when the number of Shiites did not exceed 500 in total, because the Nigerians were not familiar with this branch of Islam. 2) It began after 1994 when the Islamic Movement – which was inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood – was established. The tendency of certain members of this movement toward Shiism created rifts in its ranks with those converting to Shiism defecting from the movement and leaving for other countries. This marked the beginning of familiarity with Shiism and led to the emergence and spread of Shiism among Nigerian Muslims.
3) This period, which was inspired by the awakening and the Islamic Revolution of Iran, started from 1999 onward. During this period, Shiism was given a broad, hearty welcome by Muslims and people in Nigeria, and grew in the country remarkably. Despite the negative propaganda and mistreatment [of Shiites] by the anti-Shiite sects, over seven million people have converted to Shiism.
Who is Ibraheem Zakzaky?
Born in 1953, Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky – who holds a degree in economics – is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). He landed in jail many times in the 1980s and 1990s. His three sons were killed on International Quds Day rallies in Zaria in 2014 at the hands of the Nigerian police. [On July 25, 2014, Nigerian Army reportedly gunned down 35 followers of Ibrahim Zakzaky including his 3 undergraduate biological sons after pro-Palestinian procession in Zaria]. His activities have helped a number of Nigerian natives join [Shiism and] embrace the ideology of the Prophet’s Household.
He has been in charge [of helping Nigerians convert to Shiism] since about 30 years ago, or as far back as the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran back in 1979. Following the Islamic Revolution, Zakzaky was inspired by the late Imam Khomeini. In the following years he came to Iran, and when he returned to Nigeria in clerical clothing, he embarked on promoting Shiism in Zaria and Kano.
On the “vehemently anti-American” leader of Nigerian Shiites, a BBC reporter says, “When I met the white-bearded, traditionally dressed religious leader, who looked older than his 57 years, he resembled a peaceful, friendly, elder statesman and smiled as he told me that he now has hundreds of thousands of followers.
“We sat together on his bright, fluffy pink, red and white rug and an orange-flowered garland framed a hanging portrait of the revolutionary Islamic leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, who watched over us.
“But followers here, including Sheikh Zakzaky, are closely watching present-day events in Iran.”
Western plot against Shiites
The emergence of Shiism and the growing number of Shiites in Nigeria together with the burgeoning hopes of truth-seekers and the oppressed people have triggered bitter opposition to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its leader. Zionist-run organizations and Wahhabi groups are in the ranks of the opponents.
A closer study of such opposition brings to light the covert cooperation of two Salafi and Zionist movements which are taking action against the Shiites by committing terrorist acts. Such terrorist measures have been mainly plotted by Mossad in cooperation with the Nigerian security forces. A case in point is the abortive assassination of Sheikh Zakzaky in 2009. A bomb was to go off in the Sheikh’s residence in Zaria, but he disclosed the plot in Friday prayer sermons on September 11.
The details of the plot showed that the assassination had the support of the Saudis in addition to involvement of the US and Israel. The Saudis had [reportedly] paid certain missionaries to talk against the IMN all over the country.
The Nigerian security forces gathered in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, last September to hold their final talks on carrying out such a plot [against the Shiites]. As part of the plot, they decided to unleash a barrage of charges against Zakzaky and his followers. Their decision was put in force courtesy of Saudi financial support and by the Wahhabi clerics who describe the Shiites as Rafezi (a derogatory term Wahhabis use to refer to Shiites).
The [anti-IMN] measures are at their highest in Zaria which is home to the largest numbers of International Quds Day ralliers each year.
On International Quds Day last year, security forces in Nigeria dispatched a so-called anti-terrorism squad to different states, especially Zaria [in Kaduna State in Northern Nigeria] to apparently track down the remnants of Boko Haram – a [terrorist] Wahhabi group – but they massacred people and captured a group of individuals. Police checkpoints had been ordered to stop the inflow of aid from other regions into the predominantly Shiite regions.
Meanwhile, the government had supported the clerics linked to the establishment asking them to identify – in their remarks – the Islamic Movement, its leader and members as part of a deviant sect which should be eliminated. The clerics have also been demanded to downplay the sympathy of people, especially women and children, with the movement if its members were killed.
Unlike in the past when different groups were instigated to attack the Islamic Movement, this time around the Nigerian security forces got involved in the anti-IMN measures. The government is not simply happy with the killing of the Islamic Movement’s leader and active members. The next phase of the long-term plan calls for the identification of the clerics who are like-minded with the Islamic Movement. Police in the Kaduna State had admitted in a report to the federal government that the US embassy had called for drastic measures against the Shiites in Nigeria.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman traveled to Nigeria a few days before such [anti-Shiite] operations got underway. His visit [ostensibly] produced a mutual cooperation document on agricultural and technological fronts, but it also generated a secret security treaty under which the Zionist regime would train Nigeria’s security forces and would get involved in communal conflicts in the African country.