Top Iranian Cleric Blasts Harassment of Nigerian Shiites
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior Iranian cleric deplored recent acts of violence against Shiite Muslims in Nigeria, urging the immediate release of prominent Shiite Nigerian cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.
In a statement on Monday, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani condemned the distressing attacks on Shiite Muslims in Nigeria and detention of leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.
Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani also called for respect for the Muslim rights in the African country, bringing the military forces with arbitrary conduct to justice, release of Sheikh Zakzaky, and medical treatment for the cleric and for those injured in the attacks.
The top Iranian cleric further called on the Nigerian government to focus efforts on the fight against the Takfiri terrorist groups, including the Boko Haram.
On Saturday night, Nigerian military forces surrounded the house of the religious leader in the northern city of Zaria. Heavy fighting broke out afterwards between the government forces and members of the Islamic Movement, which stretched into the early hours of Sunday.
At least 20 Shiite Muslims have been killed in the clashes. The Nigerian Army alleges that members of the movement were involved in an attack on the convoy of the Chief of Nigeria’s Army Staff, Tukur Buratai. The Islamic Movement has denied the allegations.
Later, Sheikh Zakzaky was arrested in the raid, while his wife, Zeenat, and his son, Aliy, were killed by the military forces.
Three of the cleric’s sons had been killed in a similar attack by the Nigerian Army in July 2014.
The movement said in a statement, released by head of its Media Forum Ibrahim Musa, that apart from Sheikh Zakzaky’s son and wife, other prominent leaders of the group were also killed.