By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
Millions of people have attended the International Quds day marches organised by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) known as Shias, across various cities of the country unmolested, contrary to fears expressed in some quarters that they may be stopped by security agencies.
The President of Media Forum of IMN, Mr. Ibrahim Musa, in a statement yesterday, said that their members marched to show their solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people and condemn what he described as “Israeli atrocities in occupied territories of Palestine”.
Musa stated that “thousands of Members of the IMN in Sokoto, Katsina and Potiskum started their peaceful procession in the morning before Friday prayers, where they followed the major streets chanting slogans in support of the Palestinian course”.
In Katsina, he said, Sheikh Yaqoub Yahya addressed the mammoth crowd that participated in the march, calling on the international community to sever the hands of Israeli usurpers in Palestine.
He said that in Sokoto, it was Sheikh Qasim Umar that called on the thousands that attended the march not to relent in their efforts to see to the liberation of Palestine from the clutches of Israeli Zionists.
However, he stated, the Quds Day marches were held after Friday prayers in many other cities like Kaduna, Zaria, Kano, Bauchi, Yola, Lafia, Gombe and Jalingo.
Musa said that with members of the Movement clad in white T-shirts with inscriptions “Free Sheikh Zakzaky”, Free Palestine” they also called for the immediate and unconditional release of the leader of the Movement who has been in detention since the Army attacked the center of the Movement in Zaria last December.
He said while addressing the protesters at the close of the event in Kaduna, Malam Aliyu Tirmizi who led the demonstration, warned against the importation of state terrorism by the Nigerian government from Israel as evident in what happened in Zaria last December.
He stated: “Even though prior to the Quds Day procession there was wide spread apprehension that Nigerian Army will attack the protesters, it ended peacefully.
“Soldiers were sighted in Katsina and Sokoto during the marches, however they did not make any effort to disperse the protest.”
Musa said that during the marches, public statement was issued and distributed to bystanders, signed by Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello, part of which read: “As we march out today in millions on the streets to protest against Israeli occupation and aggression in Palestine, we are answering the call made by Imam Khomeini in 1979, wherein he declared the liberation of Quds ‘a religious duty of all Muslims.’
“I invite Muslims all over the globe to observe the last Friday of Ramadan as Al-Quds Day, and to pledge support and solidarity to the people of Palestine and their legitimate rights. I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join hands and sever the hand of this usurper and its supporters,’ said Ayatollah Khomeini of blessed memory”.
The statement further read: “In conclusion, as we demand for the complete and unconditional withdrawal from all Israeli occupied territories including Jerusalem, acknowledging and facilitating the return of the Palestinians who were forced to leave their land after 1948 Nakab, compensation for the damage of land and property, and ban on the building of new settlements and immediate evacuation of all existing settlements; we also call for the unconditional release of our Leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, and all other members of the Islamic Movement languishing in detention centers across the country.”