The Honourable UN Secretary General
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Re: Killing of Nigerian civilians by armed forces of the country
The Majlis Ulama-e-Shia (Europe) is a religious organisation of Shia Scholars based in Watford UK. It comprises 57 scholars of Shia Muslim faith and religion and it also supervises about 60 organisations of Shia Muslim communities throughout the United Kingdom.
We and the entire Muslim Shia community are very sad and pained by the recent incidence that took place in Nigeria in which many hundreds of Nigerian citizens many of them Shia Muslims were killed by the military in Nigeria and we strongly express our concerns, protests and condemnation of this killing and destruction of the religious property including Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s home, office and a Shia Muslim house of worship that followed the killing.
We understand from various recent reports that an attack by the state military took place on a peaceful Shia gathering in Zaria, Nigeria. We understand that the Nigerian Army laid siege to the gathering, in addition to the private residence of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and an adjacent Shia center of worship in a blatant disregard for human life and a complete contradiction to their duty to Nigerian citizens. The siege lasted 24 hours resulting in the deaths of unarmed civilians, including women and children.
This attack took place only days after a bomb targeted a Shia procession by known terrorist outfit, Boko Haram. We understand that the military returned to Zaria after the killing to demolish Sheikh El-Zakzay’s home, office and a Shia Muslim house of worship. This was followed by the subsequent arrest of Sheikh Et-Zakzaky a prominent local Shiite leader in Nigeria and the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
We together with all people of conscious and Muslim Shia community throughout the world are very concerned at this persecution of religious minority and condemn the attack that took place.
We the Majlis Ulama-e-Shia (Europe) in the name of justice and humanity hereby request and entreat you as the Secretary General of United Nations to call upon President Buhari to fulfill the trusts and responsibility of the post he was elected to by the people of Nigeria and to protect the people of Nigeria from such killings by the Nigerian Army.
The attack on the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, which opposes Boko Haram, an insurgency that Nigerian government is fighting against, took place also in July 2014, when members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria were on a procession to mark the annual Quds day in Zaria. On that occasion the army opened fire and amongst those 30 plus who were shot dead were three of Sheikh Zakzaky’ sons.
The intimidation of innocent Muslims on any basis on sectarian grounds or otherwise is unacceptable and is indeed in violation of international human rights laws. This ongoing oppression of individuals, which is a clear violation of human rights law, must not be tolerated by the United Nations which stands for global human rights and justice.
We call upon the United Nations to intervene to ask the Nigerian Government to carry out investigation into these killings, to seek redress for the victims and their family members and to let the culprits’ face the full force of the law and to make reparations for the property destroyed by the military.
We also seek assistance of United Nations to use all its influence and call upon the Nigerian Government and President Muhammadu Buhari to release Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky and his companions who we understand have been held in captivity without any access to him and prevent further violence against them.
We hereby also request the Secretary General of the United Nations to do all in his powers and influence to promote and ensure security and peace for religious minorities particularly the Shia Muslim communities in Nigeria and throughout the world.
Shaikh Zafar Abbas
Majlis Ulama -e-Shia (Europe)