Islamic seminary students meet Sheikh Zakzaky in Abuja
A group of Islamic seminary (Hawza Ilmiyah) students have met with the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
During the meeting that lasted several hours last week, the students who represented their colleagues from other Islamic seminaries in Nigeria held talks with Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife at his residence in the country’s capital Abuja. They conferred on various issues including the recent developments in the country.
Sheikh Zakazky urged the Shia seminary students to increase their religious and cultural activities adding that, “the Islamic society needs active and compassionate scholars and students to their fellow human beings."
He pointed out that the educated class must warn the Islamic Ummah against the conspiracies of the enemies.
In December 2015, Nigeria’s military launched a crackdown as part of a deadly state-ordered escalation targeting the movement that Abuja has branded as illegal.
The campaign saw the troops attacking Zakzaky’s residence in the town of Zaria in Kaduna, afflicting him and his wife with serious injuries that reportedly caused the cleric to lose his left eye.
During the crackdown, the military also attacked the movement’s members as they were holding religious processions, with the government alleging that the Muslims had blocked a convoy of the country’s defense minister.
The movement has categorically rejected the allegation, and said the convoy had intentionally crossed paths with the IMN’s members to whip up an excuse to attack them.
The violence led to the death of three of Zakzaky’s sons and hundreds of innocent Muslims.
The couple were kept in custody despite a 2016 ruling by Nigeria’s federal high court that ordered their release from prison.
Amid the long-drawn-out jail term, the couple were allowed to leave for India for medical purposes. Their stay was, however, reportedly plagued by the state’s interference aimed at preventing them from receiving proper medical treatment.
Their trial at the Kaduna State High Court started on May 15, 2018 and dragged on for over three years
They were acquitted of all their charges on July 28 this year, but reports say that the state is still trying to launch a new lawsuit against the couple.
The couple’s freedom came following tireless activism on the part of Nigeria’s Islamic Movement members and repeated damning reports about their situation by international human rights bodies.