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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07ABUJA2007 2007-09-14 12:58:00 SECRET Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

(S/NF) NIGERIA: IDENTIFYING "CREDIBLE VOICES"

Tags:   KISL PINR NI 
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VZCZCXYZ0007
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUJA #2007/01 2571258
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 141258Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0945
					  S E C R E T ABUJA 002007 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

CTCC FOR JAMES VAN DE VELDE, DEPT FOR AF/PD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2032
TAGS: KISL PINR NI
SUBJECT: (S/NF) NIGERIA: IDENTIFYING "CREDIBLE VOICES"

REF: A. SECSTATE 122288

B. ABUJA 484

C. ABUJA 968

D. ABUJA 215

E. ABUJA 1327

F. ABUJA 270

Classified By: CDA Robert Gribbin for Reasons 1.4 (c).



1. (S//NF) Per Ref A request, names follow of "credible
voices" in Nigeria's Muslim communities.



2. (S//NF) Shaykh Sharif Ibrahim Saleh AL-HUSSAINI (See Ref
B)
(A) INFLUENCE: Al-Hussaini enjoys popularity throughout
Nigeria, particularly in the North-East, and is viewed as an
authority on Islam. Al-Hussaini is respected by other
Islamic scholars and has considerable sway over followers of
the Tijaniyya Sufi brotherhood. Hundreds of aspiring Imams
study under his tutelage in the North-Eastern city of
Maiduguri at any given time. Dispassionate, highly
articulate and well-read, Al-Hussaini represents a promising
cadre of Muslim intellectuals, whose extensive knowledge of
Islam and prevailing Western trends (i.e. socialism,
democracy, etc.) uniquely garners him both relevance and
credibility to often discordant segments of society.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: 69
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni (Tijaniyya)
-- Ethnicity: Shuwa Arab (a minority group with links to
Yemen in Nigeria's North-East zone)
-- Education: Traditional madrasa education in Maiduguri;
formal training in Islamic sciences and Sharia in Egypt's
al-Azhar University and universities across Saudi Arabia,
Sudan, and the Indian subcontinent. Al-Hussaini is fluent in
Arabic and English.
-- Occupation: Since 1992, Al-Hussaini has served as a
Special Adviser on Islamic Affairs to the GON. Al-Hussaini
is leader of Nigeria's Tijaniyya adherents and chairman of
the Assembly of Muslims in Nigeria (AMIN), a national
organization with membership numbering into the millions and
the first umbrella Islamic organization Nigeria to publicly
recognize President Yar'Adua's government. Al-Hussaini is
also Chairman of the Fatwa (religious edicts) Committee of
both the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA)
and the Jama'atu Nasrul Islam (JNI) and an esteemed member of
the Nigerian Eminent Scholars Council. In 2005, at the
request of the Government of France (GOF), Al-Hussaini
traveled to France to address French Muslims on the need to
coexist with other French citizens and renounce violence and
rioting as a way to express dissatisfaction. Coverage of
Al-Hussaini's trip was positive, and he is credited with
helping to ease tensions between the Muslim community and the
GOF. From 1995-1998, Al-Hussaini participated in GON
delegations to Sudan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iran, and
Pakistan. (C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: North-East
Nigeria, potentially nation-wide
(D) AUDIENCE: Adherents of the Tijaniyya
(E) FORUMS: Radio, mosque sermons, public lectures
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy: US
foreign policy in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: NO

-- Ideological position regarding jihad: Al-Hussaini believes
Islam is a religion of peace that teaches restraint and
patience. He contends regardless of the legitimacy of one's
grievances, violence is disallowed in Islam.
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual:
While Al-Hussaini asks Muslims to support the GON, his
willingness to speak out publicly against abuses of the
Sharia by various northern governors has earned him some
important critics.
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: None.



3. (S//NF) Shaykh Aminudeed ABUBAKAR (See Ref C)
(A) INFLUENCE: Affable and charismatic, Abubakar enjoys
popularity throughout Nigeria, particularly the North-West,
is viewed as an authority on Islam, is respected by other
Islamic scholars, and has considerable sway over followers of
the Qadiriyya Sufi brotherhood. Hundreds of aspiring Imams
study under his tutelage in Kano at any given time.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: Unknown, mid 50s
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni (Qadiriyya)
-- Ethnicity: Hausa-Fulani
-- Education: Traditional madrasa education in Kano; Abubakar
attended Bayero University (Kano), where he received his
formal Islamic training as a qadi (Sharia court judge) and
faqih (scholar of Islamic jurisprudence). Fluent in Hausa,
English, and Arabic, Abubakar maintains contact with scholars
throughout the Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia and
Egypt.
-- Occupation: Now retired from the courts, Abubakar
continues to mentor other Islamic scholars while also serving
as Senior Adviser on Religious Affairs to the Kano State
Government and Chief Imam of the Da'wah Mosque (Kano).
(C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: North-West Nigeria,
potentially nation-wide
(D) AUDIENCE: Adherents of the Qadiriyya
(E) FORUMS: Radio, mosque sermons, public lectures
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy: US
foreign policy in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: NO
-- Ideological position regarding jihad: Abubakar believes
Islam is a religion of peace that teaches restraint and
patience. He contends regardless of the legitimacy of one's
grievances, violence is disallowed in Islam.
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual: NO
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: None.



4. (S//NF) Shaykh Ahmed LEMU
(A) INFLUENCE: Lemu is widely respected for his legal
scholarship. As Chairman of the Islamic Education Trust
(IET), Lemu is actively engaged in countering extremist
ideology at the secondary school level and among Imams
through teacher training programs in Niger state and Abuja.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: 73
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni
-- Ethnicity: Nupe (a minority group from Niger state)
-- Education: Unknown
-- Occupation: Lemu was appointed Grand Qadi (Sharia court
judge) of Niger state and currently serves as Chairman of the
IET, which trains teachers in Islamiyya schools in Niger
state and the FCT and may receive funding through Saudi
Arabia. In August 2007, Lemu was appointed to President
Yar'Adua's Electoral Reform Panel.
(C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: Middle Belt, potentially
nation-wide
(D) AUDIENCE: Educated individuals
(E) FORUMS: Print media, radio, television
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy:
Unknown
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: Unknown
-- Ideological position regarding jihad: Unknown
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual: NO
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: Embassy Public Affairs Section collaborated with IET to
donate books in 2007.



5. (S//NF) Imam Fouad ADEYIMI (See Ref D)
(A) INFLUENCE: Adeyimi influences broad sectors of the Muslim
community through his frequent travels and media appearances
throughout Nigeria. While we do not know the extent of the
Imam's influence, his positive impression of America and
consistent willingness to speak publicly about his admiration
for American ideals may have improved his congregants'
attitude towards the US. Adeyimi also hosts a talk show
broadcast on Nigerian state television.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: 35
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni
-- Ethnicity: Yoruba
-- Education: Traditional madrasa education in Osun state,
studied under his father who was a local Imam
-- Occupation: Chief Imam and Chairman of al-Habibiyyah
Islamic Society; administers 4-month training courses for
Nigerian Muslim elite in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt
(C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: South-West Nigeria, Abuja
(D) AUDIENCE: Youth, educated individuals
(E) FORUMS: Radio, television, mosque sermons, public
lectures, internet
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy: US
foreign policy in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: Though at one time he endorsed anti-American
views, Adeyimi has moderated his tone and critical stance
especially following his 2005 visit to the US.
-- Ideological position regarding jihad: Jihad is an internal
spiritual struggle against the ego. Violent extremism is
categorically rejected by Islam.
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual: His
perceived association with the Embassy has sowed distrust for
him in the minds of some Islamic leaders.
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: 2005 International Visitor Program Grantee; Embassy
Public Affairs Section collaborated with al-Habibiyyah on
Ramadan events in 2006.



6. (S//NF) Shaykh Ibrahim KHALIL
(A) INFLUENCE: Khalil is soft-spoken and cerebral. He claims
to have educated thousands of Imams and others in Kano over
his 30 years of teaching experience. While he does not
possess a formal Western education, he is erudite,
sophisticated, and believes Muslims should embrace both
Western and Islamic education. He has also said that he
dissuaded many youths from traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan
to fight against the US. Khalil indicted the Nigerian mass
media for helping to radicalize northern Nigerian youth
against the US; he believes strongly that the media can be
used as a positive force for change.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: Unknown, early 50s
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni
-- Ethnicity: Hausa-Fulani
-- Education: Traditional madrasa education in Kano; possible
formal training in Islamic sciences in Sudan and/or Egypt.
Khalil is fluent in Hausa and English and proficient in
Arabic.
-- Occupation: 30 years of teaching experience in Kano
madrasas
(C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: North-West Nigeria
(D) AUDIENCE: Youth
(E) FORUMS: Radio, mosque sermons
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy: US
foreign policy in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: NO
-- Ideological position regarding jihad: Jihad is an internal
spiritual struggle against the ego. Violent extremism is
categorically rejected by Islam.
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual: NO
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: None.



7. (S//NF) Ustaz Muhammad Abubakar SIDDEEQ
(A) INFLUENCE: As Deputy Imam of the National Mosque, Siddeeq
has given the Friday sermon to crowds of well over a
thousand. As head of the Muslim Consultative Forum, Siddeeq
is also in close contact with other Imams in Abuja. While
not a commanding orator, Siddeeq is influential with youth.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: 41
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni
-- Ethnicity: Hausa-Fulani
-- Education: LLB, Bayero University Kano (1993); BA
(English), University of Abuja; Siddeeq is fluent in English
and Hausa and proficient in Arabic.
-- Occupation: President, Muslim Consultative Forum (Abuja);
Managing Director, Comerel Travels & Tours Ltd. (Abuja);
Deputy Imam, National Mosque (Abuja)
(C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: Abuja and FCT
(D) AUDIENCE: Youth
(E) FORUMS: Radio, mosque sermons, public lectures
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy: US
foreign policy in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: NO
-- Ideological position regarding jihad: Unknown
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual: NO
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: Siddeeq spoke at an Embassy-sponsored event in 2006.



8. (S//NF) Lateef ADEGBITE (See Ref E)
(A) INFLUENCE: As the Secretary General of the Nigerian
Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), an influential,
umbrella Islamic organization, Adegbite has ample opportunity
and access to speak publicly on a host of issues of concern
to Muslims in Nigeria. The NSCIA advocates the interests of
Muslims nation-wide. Adegbite is not viewed as an authority
on issues related to Islamic practice or belief.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: Unknown, late 60s
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni
-- Ethnicity: Yoruba
-- Education: LLB, University of Lagos
-- Occupation: Secretary General, NSCIA; barrister (based in
Lagos)
(C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: South-West Nigeria,
potentially nation-wide
(D) AUDIENCE: Educated individuals
(E) FORUMS: Radio, television, print media
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy: N0
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: NO
-- Ideological position regarding jihad: Adegbite believes
Islam is a religion of peace that disallows violent
extremism.
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual: The
NSCIA has been criticized for being too close to the GON and
is routinely disparaged for being part of the "establishment".
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: None.



9. (S//NF) Sultan Muhammadu Sa'ad ABUBAKAR III (See Ref F)
(A) INFLUENCE: As the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar is viewed as
the communal leader of Nigeria's 70 million Muslims. He does
not have authority to make Islamic pronouncements other than
to announce the beginning and end of the Ramadan fast; he
does not broach religious issues otherwise. He has made
public statements linking anti-American sentiment to the lack
of education in northern Nigeria and has pledged to focus
efforts on improving relations with the US. Traditional
rulers like the Sultan were stripped of their political roles
when Nigeria gained independence and are searching for
relevance today. Younger and more urbane than Nigeria's
previous sultans, Abubakar is looking to exert greater
influence in politics and in mitigating conflict between
Christians and Muslims.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: 51
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni
-- Ethnicity: Hausa-Fulani
-- Education: Military training received in Nigeria (Kaduna),
India, and Canada. In 2006, Abubakar completed a 9-month
conflict mitigation course at the Nigerian Institute for
Policy and Strategic Studies.
-- Occupation: Abubakar was chosen as the 20th Sultan of
Sokoto in November 2006; he is President of the Nigerian
Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA)and Jama'atu Nasrul
Islam (JNI). Prior to being appointed Sultan, Abubakar had a
long career as an army officer, serving in the elite Armored
Corps, and spent 27 years outside Nigeria. After commanding
a battalion of African peacekeepers in Chad, Abubakar headed
a presidential security unit guarding Head of State General
Ibrahim Babangida. Later, he served in ECOWAS' peacekeeping
force to Sierra Leone and, most recently, as Defense Attache
to Pakistan with concurrent accreditation to Iran, Iraq,
Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.
(C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: Nation-wide
(D) AUDIENCE: All
(E) FORUMS: Radio, television, print media, public lectures
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy: NO
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: NO
-- Ideological position regarding jihad: NO
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual:
While praised for his commitment to non-violence and
respected for his title by older Nigerians, the office of the
Sultan is viewed increasingly as outmoded to the 21st
century. Traditional title holders are also looked upon with
disdain for being too close to the GON, which exploits the
prestige of the Sultan to garner legitimacy.
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: None.



10. (S//NF) Jibrin IBRAHIM
(A) INFLUENCE: Ibrahim is well-respected among academicians
and educated Nigerians. While a secular Muslim, he believes
strongly that democracy can work in Nigeria, as a means to
address grievances.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: Unknown, mid 40s
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni
-- Ethnicity: Hausa-Fulani
-- Education: BA/MA (Political Science) Ahmadu Bello
University (Zaria); PhD (Political Science) University of
Bordeaux, France
-- Occupation: Director, Centre for Democracy and Development
(Abuja, Lagos, United Kingdom); former Associate Professor of
Political Science, Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria), Director
of the International Human Rights Law Group (Abuja), Senior
Fellow at the Institute of Federalism (Friborg, Switzerland)
(C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: Nation-wide
(D) AUDIENCE: Educated individuals
(E) FORUMS: Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is a
nonprofit, non-governmental organization that focuses on
democratic development and peace-building in West Africa.
The CDD maintains a website at www.cdd.org.uk and receives
funding from the governments of Britain, Sweden, Canada, and
Belgium and the Ford and Macarthur Foundations.
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy:
Unknown
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: NO
-- Ideological position regarding jihad: Unknown; Ibrahim
would not be suitable to address issues concerning Islamic
practice or ideology. His value added, however, would be in
offering Muslim educated youth in particular alternative
solutions other than violence to address societal problems
and frustrations.
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual:
Unknown; As an academic and activist, Ibrahim retains a
degree of freedom, which he liberally and routinely exercises
to criticize the GON.
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: None.



11. (S//NF) Abdul-Qadir ORIRE
(A) INFLUENCE: As the Secretary General of the Jama'atu
Nasrul Islam (JNI), an influential, umbrella Islamic
organization, Orire has ample opportunity and access to speak
publicly on a host of issues of concern to Muslims in
Nigeria. The JNI advocates the interests of Muslims
nation-wide and has a strong presence on university campuses,
especially in northern Nigeria.
(B) BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES:
-- Age: Unknown, mid 40s
-- Gender: Male
-- Religious Affiliation: Sunni
-- Ethnicity: Yoruba
-- Education: Unknown
-- Occupation: Secretary General, JNI
(C) GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF INFLUENCE: Nation-wide, potentially
(D) AUDIENCE: University students
(E) FORUMS: Radio, television, print media
(F) CREDIBILITY AND SUITABILITY:
-- Any known disagreements and criticisms of US policy: While
Orire's personal views are unknown, JNI has criticized the US
over its foreign policies in the Middle East, Iraq, and
Afghanistan and for not "criticizing" the GON over the flawed
April 2007 elections.
-- Any known record of advocating violence against the US or
its allies: Unknown
-- Ideological position regarding jihad: Unknown
-- Any known derogatory information: NO
-- Any known calls for violence against this individual: NO
(G) The nature of any known current relationship with the
USG: None.
GRIBBIN