Muslims Concerned about Fate of Detained Nigerian Cleric: Iranian Diplomat
An Iranian deputy foreign minister reminded the Nigerian government of its responsibility about recent attacks on Shiite Muslims and detention of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, stressing that the Islamic world is worried about the cleric’s health.
“The Muslim people and nation of Nigeria and the Islamic world definitely attach importance to Sheikh Zakzaky’s health,” Hossein Amir Abdollahian said in a televised interview on Monday.
Concerns about the fate of the Shiite cleric should be allayed, he added, noting that all Muslims want to see the religious figure back home doing his regular activities.
Highlighting the “positive atmosphere of relations” between Tehran and Abuja, Amir Abdollahian said Iran has reminded the “friends in the Nigerian government” about their responsibility for the fate of Sheikh Zakzaky, who has been arrested amid a new wave of violence against Shiite Muslims.
Sayyid Ibrahim Zakzaky is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
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.