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Biography of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky Shia Cleric

Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky (alternately Ibraheem Zakzaky; Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky) (May 5, 1953) is a Shia Muslim cleric in Nigeria, and head of Nigerias Islamic Movement (IMN). In 1980s, Ibraheem Zakzaky introduced Shia Islam in Nigeria, which formerly had only Sunni Muslims.He has been arrested several times by the Nigerian government in 1980s and 1990s. Recently, after Nigerian armys December 12 attacks on IMN members which has been described as a massacre by human rights activists, Zakzaky was injured and arrested by the army. Since then, his exact whereabouts and conditions remain unknown.

Personal life

Ibrahim Zakzaky was born on 5 May 1953 (15 Sha’ban 1372 AH), in Zaria, Kaduna State. He lives in Kwarbai quarters in Zaria City. He is married to Zeenah and has given birth to six children. (4 killed in clashes with Nigerian government).


Zakzaky attended traditional Quranic and Islamic schools in the town of Zaria under the tutelage of scholars such as Malam Isa Madaka and Malam Ibrahim Kakaki. He attended the Provincial Arabic School, Zaria (1969-1970), Law School (now the School for Arabic Studies), Kano (1971-1975) and the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria (1976-1979). He became the secretary-general of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) in the Main Campus of ABU (1977/78) and later Vice President (International Affairs) of the National Body of the MSSN in 1979.

Islamic Movement in Nigeria

His activity in the society saw the conception of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria which came as an independent body since early 1980s. The movement has established many schools known as Fudiyyah or Fodia schools named after Shiekh Usman dan Fodio a famous 18th-century scholar and jihadist. The movement also publish newspapers and magazines in both English and Hausa languages. Dr Iqbal Siddiqui described El-Zakzaky as "the de facto leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria".

Political alignment

Zakzakys supporters say he has never advocated violened In September 2009, Zakzakys supporters clashed with police in Zaria, leading to injuries and deaths on both sides. The IMN accuses the government of intimidation and attempting to wipe it out.

The Resource Forum of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) held a symposium on "The Creation of the Illegal State of Israel" at Arewa House Kaduna on May 21, 2008. Zakzaky said, "when Israel is celebrating sixty years of occupying Palestines land, we are mourning because the truth is Israeli State is created on the basis of terrorism and what is not yours is not yours, no matter years of oppression and hostage it would slip someday along with those supporting them. Israel will fall with her allies certainly."

Zakzaky is fluent in English, Hausa, Persian, Spanish and Arabic languages. He has lectured in Nigeria, Iran, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Niger, Algeria, Britain, France, Spain, the United States and Azerbaijan.

Political conflicts with Nigerian governments


Zakzaky was jailed several times on charges of sedition by successive Nigerian regimes in the 1980s and 1990s. According to an account by Ibrahim Usman the head of IMN media forum, on 11 December 1998, the Nigerian government decided to silently release Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky along with three of his supporters after having held them two years in Federal detention. The final short court session reportedly ended when the presiding judge announced discontinuation of the case before its conclusion. This was considered a defeat for the state as it had failed to provide evidence for the charge that Zakzaky and his supporters had “[formed] a common intention to excite or attempt to excite a feeling of disaffection against the government” among others. Zakzaky had reportedly outwitted and disgraced several prosecution’s witnesses in past court sessions. According to Usman, there was no condition attached to the release, as some of the state-owned media later reported

Nigerian army attacks against the movement

Zaria Quds day massacre

Main article: Zaria Quds Massacres

On Friday 25 July 2014, Nigerian Army reportedly gunned down 35 followers of Ibrahim Zakzaky including his 3 undergraduate biological sons after pro-Palestinian procession in Zaria. The brutal murder drew world attention and world wide sympathizers which led the Nigerian Government to set up committee to investigate the action. The UK based Islamic Human Rights Commission launched a thorough fact-finding mission on the killings and finally published a comprehensive report titled Zaria Massacres and the Role of the Military in October 2014, narrating the incidence, findings and recommendations. The work was co-authoured by Massoud Shadjareh and Abed Choudhury and printed in United Kingdom.

2015 Zaria Shia massacre

On Saturday 12 December 2015, Nigerian forces proceeded to invade Zakzakys house; after having attacked an IMN ritual gathering that was going to see a public lecture by Zakzaky, leading to death of hundreds of IMN members. The army alleged that the violence was in response to an alleged attempt by the IMN members to assassinate the army chief. But the IMN and human rights organizations have strongly denied the armys claim arguing that the attack was pre-planned. Sheikh al-Zakzaky was injured and arrested.

17:40 - 27/12/2015    /    Number : 67384    /    Show Count : 1494

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