Religious ban: Shiites challenge Gov El-Rufai

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– The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) faults Governor El-rufai for contradicting himself regarding the ban it imposed on them

– The group describes the ban on its activities as nothing but the portrayal of Kaduna state government as intolerant of religious minorities

– IMN warns that if allowed to stand unchallenged the ban could extend to on other religious minorities, in Kaduna state

The IMN has called for the release of its detained leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife, and other members of IMN incarcerated in various detention centers across the country.The IMN has called for the release of its detained leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife, and other members of IMN incarcerated in various detention centers across the country.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has described the alleged ban placed on them by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state as akin to banning their faith or stopping them from practicing Islamic religion the way they understand it.

The groups also known as the Shiites movement in Nigeria blasted Governor El-rufai for contradicting himself regarding the ban it imposed on them, Daily Post reports.

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The group challenged the official Gazette, No.21, which declared the IMN an unlawful society on the ground that they threaten public order in the state.

It faulted the gazette, querying if IMN has ever been taken to a court of law and convicted of being a threat to public order before.

“On the contrary, his predecessor, Lt. Col Jafaru Isa, once issued a commendation to Sheikh Zakzaky, describing him as an ‘Ambassador of peace’ in the state,” the group said.

“Elrufai’s twisted imagination seeks to mischievously label IMN as violent. This is contrary to evidence anywhere anytime. Only recently, a report by a crisis monitoring group, listed 18 new armed groups that sprang up in Nigeria in the last 17 months, with many of them involved in the killings and kidnap in Kaduna. Not only was IMN not listed, but Governor Elrufai has not turned his attention to those by banning them.

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“The group described on its activities as nothing but the portrayal of Kaduna state government as intolerant of religious minorities.”

It said if allowed to stand unchallenged by the good people of Kaduna state, it will lead to a ban on other religious minorities, especially Christians and the Muslims following the Sufi order.

IMN also accused the governor of cunningly hiding behind the findings and recommendations of Justice Muhammad Garba Judicial Commission of Inquiry to the Zaria massacre, which he promised after receiving the report.

It said: “If the Governor is sincere enough in the peaceful coexistence of Kaduna state, why won’t he as well prosecute the Army officers indicted by the Commission for the mass murder of at least 347 people and dumping them in mass grave secretly in the middle of the night?

“IMN rightly believes, Governor Elrufai wants to cover up his complicity in the murder of over a thousand innocent souls in Zaria. We are not distracted by his antics. We are already seeking redress in the court and will pursue the case to its logical conclusion.”

The group resolved to continue to demand the unconditional release of its detained leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife, and other members of IMN incarcerated in various detention centers.

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Meanwhile, Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has said that the state government only declared the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and not the Shi’ite.

According to Leadership, spokesman of the governor, Mr. Samuel Aruwan who spoke to Journalists in Kaduna on Thursday, October 20, categorically stated that Shi’itism “as a religious body is not ban, but we only ban IMN.”

The government disclosed that it “did not and cannot ban any religion, but it has a duty to declare unlawful any group that threatens peace and security.”