Blasphemy: Respect Sheikh Kabara’s Constitutional Rights, Nigeria is a Secular Country, Shi’ites Tell Ganduje

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The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has called on Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to ‘restore’ the human rights of the embattled controversial Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abduljabbar Kabara, and drop the ”phony” charges levelled against him.

IMN made the call in a statement issued by its Media Forum President, Ibrahim Musa on Monday.

The controversial Kano-based preacher was recently arrested and arraigned before a Sharia Court for blasphemy.

Kabara has been at loggerheads with other Islamic sects over his controversial views on the religion.

The state governor had ordered the closure of the cleric’s mosque citing threat to the security of the state.

A debate was recently organised between Kabara and other Islamic scholars but the moderator, Professor Salisu Shehu said the controversial cleric failed to substantiate his religious views with fact.

IMN however claimed Kabara was lured to engage in the debate which it said turned out to be a ”secret trial”.

Musa alleged that Ganduje and other Islamic scholars in the state have an agenda to keep Kabara out of circulation and ban his teachings because he (Kabara) has a different religious views from thiers.

The Shiites spokesperson insisted that the controversial cleric has a constitutional right to hold his religious belief given that Nigeria is a secular country.

The statement read; ”The Islamic Movement in Nigeria condemns in totality the way and manner the Kano Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara was harangued in a stage-managed “debate” with a coalition of Kano-based Islamic clerics, before being unjustifiably arrested and subsequently arraigned last Friday, July 16 before an Upper Sharia Court on charges including blasphemy, incitement and other sundry offences. He was thereafter remanded in prison till July 28.

”We have closely followed events with regards to his differences of understanding and opinion with these Kano-based coalition of Clerics and how the Ganduje-led government took sides by closing the Sheikh’s school and mosque without first substantiating the accuracy of the allegations against him.

”He was lured into engaging in a “debate” with these government supported Clerics that turned out to be a secret trial, in which those who accused him of heresy were the prosecutors and the judges at the same time. The so-called “debate” was clearly designed from outset to favour the Coalition against the embattled Sheikh. It was held behind closed-door populated by only those who were openly opposed to him.

”Furthermore, the moderator of the “debate”, Professor Salisu Shehu, is part and parcel of the coalition of petitioners against the Sheikh and an extremist Wahabi/Salafi ideologue who is openly an avowed opponent of the Sheikh and his teachings. Expectedly, the coalition and Ganduje government all claimed that Sheikh Abduljabbar had not satisfied them and must be prosecuted, with a section of them even calling for death sentence!

”Fillers from some video clips of Kano state Governor and his commissioner for religious affairs going viral in the social media however have exposed the secret agenda of the state government and the rainbow of these hate mongers in the garb of clerics.

”They only seek to keep Sheikh Abduljabbar out of circulation and ban his religious teachings and activities simply because he differs in his religious outlook and viewpoint from theirs. We strongly believe that Ganduje government is misusing the instruments of power to gag Sheikh Abduljabar even as he is known to conduct his religious activities peacefully.

”His antagonists are only exhibiting extreme religious intolerance to those who differ with them. The coalition of Kano clerics must not compel their understanding on others by force. This is clearly an infringement on his constitutional rights of freedom of worship in a secular country like Nigeria.

”Sheikh Abduljabbar Kabara’s Constitutional rights as guaranteed in the Nigerian Constitution include the right to freedom of religion and conscience and freedom to worship, teach, practice, and observe his religion of choice.

”Arresting and charging Sheikh Abduljabbar by Ganduje government is a serious violation of these rights and we strongly condemn it as it should be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians irrespective of their religious affiliations.

”Finally, we call on Ganduje to drop all these phony charges against the Sheikh and restore his fundamental human rights immediately. The Sheikh has as much rights as the coalition of clerics opposed to him to preach as each understands.”

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