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In fact, Zakzaky’s link up with the Iranians has helped give him a new purpose following the northern states’ adoption of sharia law.30 For once they did so, one of the main planks of his agenda was removed. Yet crucially, the IMN remains committed to “involv- ing itself in national or international issues that are of concern to Muslims, as well as in solidarity with op- pressed sections of the Muslim Ummah such as the Palestinians and Iraqis . . . [and] to mark certain events such as Quds Day and Ashura Day.” And more wor- ryingly, it seems quite prepared for the violence that often accompanies these rallies and “sometimes results in heavy casualties on the part of the movement.”31

Just as the Izala does with the funds it gets from Saudi Arabia, the IMN uses some of the money it re- ceives from Iran to build prayer rooms and offer free education to the children of poor families. Indeed, it is alleged that as well as teaching these children for free, both organizations give them food and a little spending money.32 In light of the widespread pover- ty found throughout the north and the abject failure of the federal and state authorities to maintain public services, such acts of welfare are greatly appreciated by the recipients. And the poverty of those receiving it helps guarantee their loyalty to the group providing it. Moreover, this investment in schools and education is part of a deliberate strategy to target children and young people.33

Unsurprisingly, the Izala, the IMN and the other Muslim Brothers proclaimed the introduction of sharia a victory for them and their respective causes. Long had they campaigned for its implementation; and for equally long had they seen their efforts thwarted. Its sudden adoption, then, not only seemed to vindicate their patience and persistence, but also represented— so they argued—a first crucial step along the path to-


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