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Shiites embarks on annual procession despite ban by Nigerian government

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The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) known as Shiites Monday announced it will embark on its annual procession despite being proscribed by the Nigerian government.

“The procession is to mourn the massacre of the prophet’s grandson who was brutally killed on the 10th of Muharram which coincides with tomorrow, 10th of September,” a member of IMN media forum Ibrahim Musa said.

Musa said the procession slated for Tuesday, September 10 was Shiites “yearly peaceful Ashura procession” and will hold in major cities in Nigeria.

Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. It marks the day that Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, was killed in the Battle of Karbala.

He said the procession is also aimed at mourning their late members.

The Nigerian government Tuesday, July 30 officially proscribed the Shiites, a few days after a court outlawed the Islamic group whose recently clashes with the police has left many dead.

“In consequence, henceforth, any person engaged or associating, in any manner that could advance the activities of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, shall be treated as a terrorist, enemy of the State,” Nigeria’s inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu said at a press conference in Abuja.

“The import of this is that all forms of procession or protest by IMN is now illegal and thus banned.”

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The Shiites dragged the Nigerian Government to court over the proscription, saying the action is a violation of their constitutional rights to worship and freedom of association.

The Shiites group contended that the order was made without jurisdiction and also made against a non-juristic body.

While the court is yet to rule on the case, the Shiites spokesman said the procession will hold despite an alleged plan of the Nigeria Police to disrupt the procession.

Musa disclosed that “peaceful mourning will take place in various European countries including New York, London as well as Massard in Iran and Eastern part of Saudi Arabia.”

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