Deborah: Soyinka wants National Mosque Imam sacked over blasphemy comment

Soyinka condemned the Imam for making comments capable of instigating his followers to take laws into their own hands.

Wole Soyinka

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called for the sacking of Professor Ibrahim Maqari, the Imam, National Mosque, Abuja, over his comment on the killing of Deborah Samuel.

The deceased, a 200-level Home Economics student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto State, was gruesomely murdered by a mob following accusation of blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.

Reacting to the dastardly act, Imam Maqari claimed that there are some red lines in Islam which must not be crossed, adding that if issues of blasphemy against the prophet are not addressed by the authority, the Muslims would do so themselves.

Soyinka has now accused the Islamic cleric of instigating his followers to take laws into their hands in the name of religion.

The Nobel Laureate made the accusation during the one-year remembrance of the late former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, and the launch of Attahiru’s biography written by author, Niran Adedokun held in Abuja on Saturday, May 21, 2022, reported The Punch.

He condemned extrajudicial killings in the name of religion, adding that the “apostate of the creed of humanity, Professor Maqari, must be removed from office.”

The Prof added that, “It is no longer sufficient for all to declaim that Islam is this and that, that the Sharia is thus and thus, that Prophet Mohammed set this or that example and made this or that humanistic pronouncement.

“We have gone beyond theocratic rhetoric that merely pays lip service to civilised norms. Let all pietistic denunciations be backed by affirmative action.”

Soyinka insisted that Imam Maqari's comment served as further encouragement for his followers to kill anyone that commits blasphemy against the Prophet.

He said, “Professor Maqari, however, insists, with a handful of others, including vocal serving policemen quite recently, that there is no remorse involved in the torture and lynching of a young student on this earth.

“Maqari has implicitly directed his followers to take the law into their own hands in the name of religion, and innovation. That is the message of a supposedly holy man to a nation embroiled in his madness of multiple incidences.”

Meanwhile, the Sokoto state police had arraigned two suspects arrested in connection with the killing of Deborah.

The two suspects, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, were brought before a Sokoto State Magistrates' Court on Monday, May 16, 2022, over charges allegedly bordering on ‘public disturbance.’

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