Muslim rights group reveals why it has been quiet on Shiites clashes

Muslim group has revealed why it cannot get involved in the challenges faced by members of Shiites

– They said residents of Zaria has raised various concerns over infringement on their rights by members of the Shiite group

– According to the group, there is nothing it can do when hundreds of Muslims express fear and reservations about a particular group

A Muslim rights group in Nigeria has explained why it is yet to comment on the ongoing challenges faced by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) said many people who live in the same neighborhood with members of the group have complained about infringement on their rights.

In a statement, MURIC said these residents of Zaria have accused IMN members of various excesses which are evidently overwhelming.

The statement signed its director, Ishaq Akintola, said it had no reasons to doubt these residents. Akintola said there is nothing MURIC can do as a group when hundreds of Muslims express fear and reservations about a particular group.

“We have no reason to doubt them. The evidence is overwhelming. These complainants are the eye-witnesses. They see it everyday. Who feels it knows it. So why wont we believe them?

“What can we do as a Muslim rights organization when hundreds of Muslims express fears and reservations about a particular group? What can we do when fellow Muslims narrate their harrowing encounters with the same group?”

What can we do when Muslims who are very close neighbours of an Islamic group submit pictures and written testimonies of harassment, intimidation and outright attacks on their persons by another Islamic group?

“How can we now come out publicly to defend such a group? We realize that those complainants are also Muslims whose rights must be protected by us. We court the anger of Muslim complainants if we rise publicly in defense of an Islamic group which they see as a bully.

“That is why we have opted for tactical diplomacy. On one side are the Muslims and other members of the public who complain bitterly that they are being harassed. On the other side are the followers of Al-Zakzaky who have been accused of intimidating ordinary Nigerians including their fellow Muslims,”Akintola said.

He further advised members of the IMN to adopt a tactical conflict resolution method to address the issue. “It is not a matter for the courts. Nigerian courts hardly consider security implications,” he added.

The Muslim rights group also called on the federal government to bring leaders of the IMN group to a round table meeting and engage them in a dialogue.

“The round table should aim at securing the release of Shaykh Al-Zakzaky, an assurance of respect for peace, law and order by the Al-Zakzaky group, a written commitment that members of the group will stop intimidating their neighbours and a halt to the group’s endless long-distance walks on express ways which cause hardship to innocent citizens,” MURIC said.

The Shiite members were arraigned before a magistrate court in Abuja which granted them bail.

Some of the minors among the group were released on a bail bond of N300,00 each which would also be signed by their parents or their guardians.