17th December 2015
By Catherine Shakdam for the Epic Times.
On December 15, mainstream media briefly reported that Nigeria had been hit by a wave of violence following clashes in between Shiites and the military. What most outlets failed, or rather, omitted to report is the agenda sitting behind the bloodshed.
For decades now, Nigeria’s religious minorities have suffered by the hands of vicious radicals – whether Shiites or Christians, cities and regions have had to bow before the dark banner of Wahhabi-inspired extremism, the very ideology professed by Saudi Arabia.
Infamous for their rejection and fierce denunciation of all faiths other than their own, those extremists we have all learn to call by their acronyms: al-Qaida, ISIL, Boko Haram, and al-Nusra, have been at war with Islam – Shia Islam to be precised.
An Islamic school of thought denounced by fundamentalist Saudi Arabia, Shia Islam has long been portrayed by Wahhabi clerics as an apostasy to be eradicated, an ideological plague requiring handling. Far from being the monster of the story, Shia Islam has been the one voice within the Islamic world which has systematically denounced terror and radicalism, oftentimes standing a protective barrier for religious minorities across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
But because Islam has been brushed as this dark nefarious cloud of violence, few have bothered looking deeper into the issues, thus failing to recognize that Wahhabis’ grand war was always first and foremost against Islam’s real message. A faith made strong by its pluralism and broad acceptance of all Abrahamic faiths, Islam’s essence was stolen by those hellish hordes which claim themselves holly. THIS the media has completely overlooked …
Nigeria’s sudden explosion of violence reflects this fight within Islam, this war which has torn communities apart and forced millions to flee the vengeful blades of a psychotic minority raised on Wahhabism.
While TV stations and reporters remain focused on the Middle East, or Donald Trump’s latest outrageous statement, Nigeria has stood besieged by powers which have disguised themselves as legitimate, the avant-garde of an ideological plague which seeks a complete re-engineering of Africa’s religious map.
But we ought to pay closer attention to Nigeria as this one African country has been infiltrated by terror’s agents so deeply that even its military has come to serve not the people but radicals’ agenda.
Nigeria it needs to be said, is home to one of the most brutal denominations of Wahhabi-terrorism: Boko Haram. Although ISIL might, from a distance. epitomize terror’s irrational taste for bloodletting, this one homegrown African radical faction has claimed to its name more deaths than ISIL, al-Qaeda, or any other Wahhabi outfits ever did in their years of rampage.
An RT news report this November read: “The Nigerian jihadists, who pledged allegiance to ISIL in March 2015, killed more people than their fellow Islamists, claiming 6,644 lives compared to 6,073. Nigeria accordingly experienced a staggering 300 percent rise in terrorism deaths in 2014, although other militant groups take partial blame for the increase.”
To oppose Boko Haram and the stooges it bought to its ideology, one man has stood tallest: Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, the country most renowned Shia cleric.
A fervent advocate for religious freedom, Sheikh Ibraheem Zhakzaky has worked to denounce those powers within Nigeria which have claimed to oppose radicalism, to better benefit from war lords’ financial largess, thus betraying their office in the name of personal gain.
Shielded by Gulf monarchies’ wealth, protected by regimes whose political myopia made them blind to the real enemy hiding among their midst, Boko Haram’s armies have advanced in Nigeria, sowing destruction and fear as they carved a bloody empire.
On December 12, Nigerian soldiers raided the home of Sheikh Zakzaky, in Zaria, a Shiite stronghold. What started as a targeted attack quickly devolved into a carnage as soldiers opened fire on civilians.
Where such actions might have been rationalized by officials’ allegations that Shiites pose a threat to national security, it is really the community’s opposition to Boko Haram and military officials’ ties with radicals which prompted such a sectarian witch-hunt
The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Zakzaky has been highly critical of political corruption, Boko Haram and the relationship it entertains with facets of the Nigerian army. But for all its statements and condemnations, never did the movement stray from its commitment to peace and interfaith harmony. A role model for many religious communities outside his own, Sheikh Zaksaky has been hailed an inspiring humanitarian figure by the like of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, ABNA and the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies.
Zaksazki’s stand for peace was rewarded in blood. As soldiers rank-sacked his home, his wife, and son were held at gun-point, only to be shot before his eyes.
On Sunday Haroon Bainavi, a Nigerian political activist confirmed that Sheikh Zakzaky was shot and wounded during the attacks.”We don’t know where he is or where they took him,” he told local press. Activists and local residents also confirmed that a large number of soldiers torched and destroyed several parts of Al-Zakzaky’s house before arresting him this Sunday.
But the military did not have its fill of blood just yet as a mourning procession became target practice for over-zealous soldiers: 30 unarmed civilians were killed and countless more were injured.
One man, Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega took to social media to alert the world to the crimes taking place in his hometown. Before he was slain, alongside his wife and baby daughter, Bukhari was able to relay the horrors Shiites and Christians have had to endure under the reign of Boko Haram.
Recalling soldiers’ firts attacks on Zaria last Saturday (December 11), Bukhari writes: “It is carnage here in Zaria … soldiers are killing civilians in Gyellesu area and the home of our revered leader…. Sheikh Ibraheeem Zakzaky…. They destroyed all the shops along the road leading to the house and several bodies of civilians are just piling up here… Do we have human beings in government? Are Nigerian soldiers above the law? Do those in authority lack the will or power to stop those vampires?”
On Sunday his plight turned into a prayer for his fallen brethren: “Disappointment and confusion in the camp of Nigerian soldiers as they are about to face the biggest shame of their lives… they have done a lot of killing and they have injured scores of brothers and sisters, yet, we remain peaceful. Shame and defeat is eminent, as morning get closer…. the people will continue from where we stopped… they lost the support and sympathy of the people …. The REAL BOKO HARAM is now on the loose bombing building and killing innocent civilians ….. Indeed the command centre has just moved to Zaria … “We are praying to God to give us courage, bravery, faith and patience , we pray not to change no matter the hardship and tension…”
On Monday Bukhari’s voice was silenced by a bullet.
It is such violence and Nigeria’s connections to terror which has gone unreported for it betrays a agenda rooted in the exploitation of terror for political and hegemonic gains.
With tensions running at all-time high Nigeria religious minorities fear they lost the safety Sheikh Zakzaki offered them so far by acting a rampart against Wahhabi fundamentalism.
A fire has been lit in Africa and few so far seem interested in extinguishing it.