Sheikh Mohammed Yakoob is a brother to the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. TED ODOGWU met him at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, on his way to Saudi Arabia to perform this year’s holy pilgrimage in Mecca. He talks about El-Zakzaky’s childhood, how he became a Shiite, and why he abandoned his brother in his trying time
You’re Ibrahim El-Zakzaky’s brother, what kind of person was he as a young man?
My brother, El-Zakzaky, and I grew up together as youths. He is very bright, gifted, and has a photographic memory. He is like a tape recorder. Everything he reads, he comprehends and translates the same to his numerous followers. We attended the same primary school. He is indeed very bright.
Although you are brothers, you’re Sunni while he is Shiite, why is that? At what point did that change?
On completion of our primary school education, El-Zakzaky gained admission to the Advanced Teachers College in Kano (now Federal College of Education, Kano) while I went to Katsina Teacher’s College. Shortly after, he started corresponding with Iran. He was not a Shiite member at the time. But after he acquired a degree from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, he started assembling students to propagate Islam, like a preacher. He got the idea from Iran and subsequently, he started amassing money. Iran invited him to their country to join them (become a Shiite), and they financed him. Originally, El-Zakzaky was Sunni but Iran lured him into becoming a Shiite.
Some people feel you don’t like Shiites generally, as you described them as liars and being responsible for problems in the Middle East, why?
The genesis of the crises in Iraq, as well as Yemen and Syria, can be traced to Shiites, who are always engaged in protests. If the government allows them to continue to protest daily, the opposition will use the opportunity to overthrow the government in power. It has been established that Shiites are responsible for the lingering crisis rocking Yemen and Syria, and if the government allows them to continue unchecked, they would sooner than later overthrow the government.