By Luminous Jannamike
Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, a.k.a. Shi’ites, have opposed plans by a renowned filmmaker, to release a film that allegedly depicts their detained leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, as a hypocrite, and the sect as an armed gang of killers.
According to them, the development is capable of raising conflict and disturbing peace in the nation.
The Shi’ites spoke on Thursday after a street protest held in Abuja to demand El-Zakzaky’s unconditional release from security custody.
They called on the stakeholders in the film industry to stop the release of the movie, which they described as an attempt to defame El-Zakzaky.
In his speech as the spokesman of IMN, Ibrahim Musa, said: “We are shocked by a recent film shot at Enugu where the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky are badly portrayed.
“From the clips of the film, one can see protesters and religious mourners depicted as murderous armed gang of killers.
“One wonders what is happening to the Nollywood industry. Where are those patriotic directors, producers, actors and actresses who stood their ground to fight evil, corruption and dictatorship during Abacha regime as we witnessed in ‘Stubborn grasshopper’, a movie which sided with the oppressed masses at that time.
“After the Zaria massacre, some highly placed people launched massive campaigns of calumny and character assassination against Sheikh El-Zakzaky, the IMN and Shi’a Islam in various ways.
Similarly, Mahdi Garba, a top member of IMN, described the movie as a propaganda machine.
He said, “We have continued to weather the storm for more than four decades. The resilience and doggedness of our leader have made all efforts to blackmail the movement futile.
“In their never-ending attempt to blackmail the movement, the foes are at it again. Some bizarre clips alongside shots from a movie location surfaced on the internet.
“In the clips, half-claded women dressed in a Ku Klux Klan-like outfits heads covered with scarfs, and hands gripping sharp swords, alongside others holding banners and flags displaying a bearded man in turban and gown while chanting meaningless protest-like slogans.
“In a normal circumstance, this kind of clips can be dismissed but not at times like these when some persons at the corridors of power are sponsoring security operatives to launch offensive on the Islamic Movement.
“We have a reputation for upholding peace even at the peak of unprovoked attacks. Evidently, for every Nigerian, these clips are meant to cartoon the peaceful movement and portray it to the world as a violent armed movement.
“We hereby reject this development in its entirety and urge the stakeholders to rise onto their feet and see that potential danger is averted.”