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Religion of Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Source: Office of the Shia National Imam, Ghana

Shia National Imam sends condolence message to Sheikh al-Zakzaki

Having watched closely the unfortunate incident meted unto the family of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky in Nigeria and the Shiite Fraternity on Friday 25 July, 2014, I hereby use this medium to express my sincere and belated condolence to Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, spiritual leader of the Islamic Movement, and the Nigerian Shiite fraternity and an avowed critic of Boko Haram in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The deaths of Ahmad, Hameed and Ali, all sons of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, including 33 innocent fasting Muslim brothers, were peacefully voicing their discontent with the unfortunate massacre of Palestinian women and children by Israel in the Coastal enclave of Gaza, when the federal military irresponsibly fired and killed 33 people.

Ayatollah Ruhullah al Musawi Imam Khomeini, late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, designated the last Friday of the lunar month of Ramadan as the International Day of Quds, during which Muslims across the world hold peaceful rallies to show their solidarity with Palestinians.

This year’s anti-Israel rallies have been held when Israeli warplanes and tanks bombarded civilian sites including hospitals, schools, refugee centers, women and children in the Gaza Strip. About 2000 people have been killed in the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip since July 8, and 10,100 have been injured. According to the United Nations UN, over 80 percent of the Palestinian fatalities have been civilians, including nearly 400 children.

This is not the first peaceful procession carried out by Muslim brothers in Zaria. Similar peaceful processions took place that day in Bauchi, Gombe, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Potiskum, Sokoto and many other towns in Northern Nigeria. And all ended peacefully and as a result, residents in Zaria don't consider it as an unusual event that calls for caution. Unfortunately, the Quds Day rally in Zaria turned violent when soldiers unprofessionally gunned down 33 peaceful protesters including 3 innocent sons of Sayyed Zakzaki, and arrested 12 others at Kofar Doka-PZ Junction, in Zaria.

“I was greatly saddened to hear the news of the shooting at Kofar Doka-PZ Junction, I condemn in no uncertain terms the unwarranted attack on Muslim Brothers in Zaria”.

I therefore admonish the authorities of the Federal Republic to emulate tolerant, democratic and peaceful states within the sub-region like the Republic of Ghana, respect and honor public opinion, democracy, good governance, rule of law and fundamental human rights and administration justice, so as to avoid transgression and prevent future casualties in the Federal Republic.

“I wish to convey my personal heartfelt sympathies to my brother Sayyed Ibrahim Zakzaki and the Shiite fraternity in the Federal Republic. While the Shiite fraternity and other well wishers in Ghana and the sub-region join me in expressing our sincere condolences to the Shiite leader and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at this tragic moment, our thoughts and prayers are with the parents and the people of Zaria, who will need fortitude and courage to come to terms with their grief over this unfortunate incident. May the souls of the peaceful protestors rest eternally in the bosom of Allah”.

It is also incontrovertibly clear that the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease is a Public Health Emergency of local, regional and International concern. I use this medium by urging government to cooperate and garner the international community’s support in containing this outbreak.

I also complement the efforts of the Foreign Ministry by advising Ghanaians to avoid non essential travels to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria including places where there are potential outbreaks of Ebola fever.

It appears that cases of the virus have not been diagnosed in the country. This seems to also suggest that the country has a low or zero level of risk in terms of the record of the virus entering the country, but it may still be prudent if the Ghana Immigration Service, and the Customs Exercise and Preventive Service CEPS, take precautionary measures at ports and other entry points to monitor people coming into the country. It is deemed appropriate to issue strict travel instructions to the public and to boost the level of preparedness at the entry gates to the country. Government may also take precautionary steps to deal with any potential case of the virus.

There is the need to educate the people on hygienic practices and to intensify public education campaigns to reduce the cholera epidemic which has been ravaging the Greater Accra over the past weeks.

The Qur’an has used the concept of prevention, in many situations to refer to taking preventive action against all kinds of diseases. Prevention is therefore one of the fixed laws of Allah in the universe. Its application to medicine therefore becomes most obvious. As Almighty Allah states “We sent down in the Quran that which is a cure and mercy for the faithful”. (17:82)

Office of the Shia National Imam, Ghana

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