As Musa Abdullahi prepared for weekly Muslim prayers Friday, there was something else on his mind.
He said he’s worried about the war between Israel and Hamas — and he’s especially concerned about the plight of Palestinian Muslims.
Soon after prayers, Abdullahi joined other Muslims marching in the streets in support of Palestinians and to criticize Israel’s heavy bombardments in Gaza.
“You see people carrying Palestinian flags chanting slogans in support of the Palestinian people to say ‘no’ against injustice, most especially the women and children that are being brutally attacked by the Israeli soldiers,” said Musa Abdullahi.
Anger in Nigeria is growing along with the rising death toll in the Israeli-Hamas war. More than 1,400 Israelis were killed in the Hamas attack on southern Israel nearly two weeks ago, and more than 4,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli retaliatory attacks since then.
Every year, more than 90,000 Nigerians visit holy sites in the Middle East. Nigerian authorities this week said they’re concerned about the escalation of violence there.
Last week, the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission suspended visits to Israel due to the ongoing crisis.
On Thursday, the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria held a news conference criticizing the killings, saying they are a violation of human rights.
The supreme council blamed the United States for voicing support for Israel and called on the United Nations to take a firm stance.
The council also urged Nigerian authorities to review the country’s relations with Israel.
“Apart from its criminality and lack of humanity, it also clearly shows [the] failure of global institutions established after the second world war to protect human beings,” said Sheikh Abdur-Rasheed Hadiyatullah, the president of the council. “The international community has failed to address the root cause of this conflict.”
This week, the U.S vetoed a U.N security council resolution that called for humanitarian pauses in the conflict to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip.
For now, many Nigerian pilgrims are watching and hoping that the fighting ends so that it is safe again for them to travel.