- Deborah Samuel*
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned the killing in Sokoto of a student, Deborah Samuel, over allegation of blasphemy.
In a statement released by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Friday, 13th May, 2022, MURIC described the killing as outrageous, illegal and unlawful.
The full statement reads :
“A female student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, Deborah Samuel, was on Thursday killed for allegedly blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The blaspheme statement was reportedly posted on a whatshap group. She was asked to withdraw the statement but she allegedly refused to do so. The school’s security unit and police were overwhelmed by the crowd when they tried to rescue her.
“MURIC strongly condemns this killing and all others that have been happening in Nigeria in recent times. Those aggrieved by the student’s post should have reported her to the security agencies or to the Shariah police, the hizbah. Mob killing is archaic and bohemian. It belongs to the Stone Age. Nobody has the right to take the law into his hands.
“The Glorious Qur’an compares the killing of a single person to the killing of the whole of humanity just as it compares the saving of a life to the rescue of all homo sapiens (Qur’an 5:32) In like manner, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself condemned all acts of violence and advocated peaceful conduct at all times.
“But this incident should not be condemned in isolation. The recent trend whereby Nigerians now freely shed their brothers blood should be condemned by all patriots. In this regard, we also strongly denounce the killing of several Northern Muslims in the South East in the past few months.
“We frown at the recent burning last week of a truck fully loaded with cows in the South East as well as the killing of many Muslims of South East origin by their Igbo brothers in the same South East. We note with keen interest that Muslims in the North did not retaliate when these killings were taking place.
“MURIC calls on the Sokoto Police Command to do everything within its power to get to the bottom of the yesterday’s killing of the female student over alleged blasphemy. We appeal to members of the public to remain calm and law abiding. Nigerians should allow the police to carry out its investigations on the case. The Sokoto Police Command has started well as it already has two suspects in detention for the killing.
“Meanwhile we remind Nigerians to always exercise restraint on matters of religion. Free speech is no longer free if it amounts to religious provocation. Even the European Court has ruled that the utterance of derisive statements against the prophet of any religion is a crime.
“We affirm clearly, categorically and unequivocally that there is a symbiotic relationship between provocation, violence and extremism. While MURIC will not condone extremism and violence, the anatomy of terrorism is becoming clearer day by day. We must all ponder over the causal-effect theory. Violence and terrorism are mere symptoms. The real disease is provocation. Violence and terrorism are mere smoke. Provocation is the fire and we all know that there is no smoke without fire.
“We therefore appeal to Nigerians to desist from insulting, deriding or abusing the prophets of other religions. Muslims should continue to respect Jesus (peace be upon him) whom the Christians hold very dear. In the same vein, Christians should avoid casting aspersion on the person of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). We have experienced enough religious crisis in the land.