“Why Shiites are law-abiding Nigerian citizens”

Haruna Magashi, a lawyer a member of IMN speaking at the peace interactive meeting
Haruna Magashi, a lawyer a member of IMN speaking at the peace interactive meeting
Haruna Magashi (middle) a lawyer and member of IMN speaking at the peace interactive meeting

A lawyer and member of the controversial Ibrahim Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Haruna Magashi, has said contrary to general belief that members of the group (Shiites) are lawless, members of the movement are actually law abiding Nigerian citizens.

“We are truly law-abiding citizens,” said Magashi who was speaking during an intra-faith peace interactive meeting organized by the Interfaith Partners for Peace and Development (IPPD), a faith-based organization, in the city of Kano on Saturday with the support of Nexus Fund. “Sheikh Zakzaky [IMN’s leader] has always told us to be law-abiding, as far as the law does not contradict Islamic law; there is no harm in obeying that law.”

He described Zakzaky as a proud Nigerian who always admonish his followers to represent the country well wherever they go calling on the Nigerian security agencies to stop relying on rumors about the movement by reaching out to its members for clarification on issues. “We are Nigerians, we live here, we have residences, offices, and phone contacts; we don’t live in another planet,” he said.

Tijjani Imam, chair of the Interfaith Partners for Peace and Development (IPPD), said the idea of the meeting was to bring together followers of various religious sects in Kano for discussions on promoting peaceful coexistence between members of the various religious groups, urging the media to stop aiding the spread of dangerous and hate speeches that were capable of breaching public peace.

Femi Sodipo, the country representative of Nexus Fund in Nigeria said the meeting was also aimed at “dispelling rumors and misconceptions” about followers of various religious sects towards achieving peace and harmony in the society. “We have representatives from the various religious sects who engaged in frank discussions. I hope this will give room for similar engagements in the future,” he said.

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