Deborah Samuel Sokoto: The Muslims United for Peace and Justice has condemned the brutal murder of Deborah Samuel, who was killed for allegedly making unpleasant comments about Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W).
The group, which is a conglomerate of leaders of different Muslim organisations, on Sunday called on the government to swiftly bring the killers to justice.
They, however, noted that Deborah’s murder can be a turning point in the Muslim-Christian relations, and herald a new era of peaceful and respectful coexistence, ‘if each religious adherent will embrace and sincerely practise the sublime messages of their faith’.
However, the group condemned insults, abuse and all mischievous attacks against “all prophets of God”, calling on Christian leaders to employ all means to fend off intolerance.
It also urged Islamic scholars to issue a fatwah against jungle justice and extrajudicial killings at any time.
Meanwhile, the Muslim body further urged governments of all states in Nigeria to strengthen or promulgate laws to criminalise blasphemy, and killing for blasphemy outside the law, and faithfully enforce them.
The statement reads, ”As Muslims and Nigerians, we are united with other citizens in expressing complete shock and revulsion at the murder of Deborah Samuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto on 12th May, 2022, alleged to have blasphemed against our Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, SAW).
“Sadly, the alleged crime of blasphemy and the graphic murder of the young lady are not without precedence. We, therefore, come together today, as leaders of Muslim organisations, to amplify the voice of condemnation by other Muslim leaders, most notably the Sultan, Muhammadu Abubakar, against the dastardly murder of Deborah Samuel.
“We call for swift and transparent justice against her killers. In addition, we wish to make the following statements:
“We condemn the murder of Deborah Samuel and call for justice against the perpetrators, irrespective of the nature of their motivation or the justification they claim.
“Perhaps, the tragic event of the murder of Deborah can be utilised as a turning point in Muslim-Christian relations, and herald a new era of peaceful and respectful coexistence. These are achievable ideals if each religious adherent will embrace and sincerely practice the sublime messages of their faith.
“We condemn every act of insult and provocation along religious and ethnic fault lines. In particular, we condemn in an equal measure any insults, abuse, denigration or mischievous attacks against any and all prophets of God, be it Muhammad (SAW), Jesus, Moses, Abraham or any other (peace be on them all)
“We call for deep introspection by leaders of the Christian community and urge them to employ all means to fend off intolerance. We urge governments of all the States of the Federation to strengthen or promulgate (where none exists) laws to criminalise blasphemy, and killing for blasphemy outside the law, and faithfully enforce them.
“We urge Muslim scholars to issue fatwah specifically against frontier justice, jungle justice and extrajudicial killing at any time.
“Moreso, we appeal to Imams to use the Friday khutbah to spread and promote the peaceful coexistence, respect for constituted authority and rule of law, as enjoined in Islam.
”We lament the poor state of the judicial system in Nigeria and call for improvement of same in order to restore public confidence in the judicial system, as well as prompt and effective administration of justice.
“We condemn jungle justice and lament its endemic nature in Nigeria and call for justice for all other victims of extrajudicial killings, the Tijaniyyah travellers who were murdered in Jos, the Baptist College, Ijagbo, hijab killing, the Lekki killing by okada riders and other similar acts of barbarism and mob violence
“We express strong solidarity with voices of reason and moderation amongst scholars of Islam and declare readiness to continue working together to strengthen the pillars of national peace, reconciliation and understanding.
“We urge leaders of faiths to continue to enlighten and educate adherents on the need for mutual respect, to focus on messages of love and work against voices of hatred and extremism amongst them.
“We call on the leadership of The Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) in particular to demonstrate that they stand united and together in opposition to all prejudiced appeals.
“We call on the organisation to use the platform to denounce the act of extrajudicial murder and the alleged crime that led to it, including the high prevalence of Islamophobia, the threat of the forces seeking to delegitimize genuine concerns and those spreading hatred between the two major faiths in Nigeria.
“Sadly, the tragic event in Sokoto is another reminder of how fragile peace can be without mutual respect and united leadership.
“We pray for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for peace, for political stability and economic prosperity, combat the festering of Islamophobia amongst their followers, and prevent words and actions from the adherents of the Christian faith that are antithetical to the core teachings of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) which are based on piety, love, respect and tolerance.”