SHAFAQNA – The following is a copy of a letter penned by Mohammed el-Zakzaky, the last surviving son of Sheikh Ibraheem al-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
In December 2015, Sheikh Zakzaky was attacked in his home-town of Zaria. After he was repeatedly shot at by soldiers, he was taken into custody and held incommunicado ever since.
“Assalamu Alaikum As usual, since the Zaria massacre, I used to send messages to our brothers and sisters, so today, I would like to use this opportunity to once again condole with all the people who have fallen victim to this barbaric crime committed by the Nigerian army, that has affected hundreds of families, and continues to do so to this day. May God accept the dead as martyrs, give them strength and perseverance, and a speedy recovery to the injured.
I would also like to thank the large number of people in their millions around the world who have not only shown sympathy and kindness but also acted in numerous ways in support of our plight. I would however like to draw the attention of the members of the Islamic movement to certain important issues regarding the current adversity we are going through, there is need for all of us to excercise caution when it comes to our utterances and actions, when it comes to spreading our messages on social media. There are certain salient issues that require a great deal of introspection.
We should not under any circumstance spread messages that are capable of flaming the embers of violence in the society. It is imperative to weigh in the impacts of what one is about to write even if the message is relevant to our activism, as every member movement must realize that he is a defacto ambassador of the movement to the world. This means that every thing we choose to write can and would most likely be taken as the opinion of the millions of our brothers and sisters, rather than the emotional out burst of a single person.
And could be twisted by the enemies who are more than happy to perpetuate the negative light in which they our enemies are trying to paint us. I would like to therefore reiterate that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is a nonviolent movement, whose message is one of change for the better. We should under no circumstances be found resorting to spreading messages of hatred or intolerance. The use of abusive language should better be left to the ignorant and the violent who have violated our rights. It is unfortunate that some people have deviated from the cause of our movement, stooping to the same level as that of those responsible for this unspeakable crime and their supporters.
People should think hard before they use the kind of language we intentionally avoid, in our name. At this time of hardship we must express the truth however we can and in whatever way we can, with patience, wisdom and foresight. The Nigerian government has a responsibility to protect all the citizens of this country. And the Nigerian army is the arm responsible for this unspeakable crime. However unbridled personal attacks against anyone who happens to be a member of the government is precisely what our enemies wish to see us do. The truth will always be more than enough, our brothers and sisters have been massacred, their bodies withheld, our homes, our holy sites and the graves of our people desecrated and destroyed, and many of our people are still in captivity.
Those responsible still roam free. Once again I pray to Him, the Almighty, to accept the martyrdom of our brothers and sisters who were unjustifiably murdered. I also wish all the injured a speedy recovery. Ameen.
Muhammad Ibraheem Zakzaky ”
The transcript was made available courtesy of ABNA.