The gruesome killing and burning of Deborah Samuel, a Christian, by Muslims in Kano makes it difficult to believe Nigerians are living in the 21st Century. The extent of the savagery by the northern Muslims is all too reminiscent of barbarian tribes. The cold-blooded bigots hurled stones at Deborah, chased and beat her to death and finally set her ablaze. They felt happy, fulfilled, and victorious. The connection of Islam to violence was not in doubt. The bloodthirsty northern Muslims successfully portrayed Islam as a religion of violence.
The attacks on 9/11 on America by Muslims brought Islamic terrorism to the forefront of American and Western awareness. The violent strain of Islam has metastasized to many parts of the world: Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Somalia. Islamic violence precipitated a civil war in Yemen. The country was torn into shreds. The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria have turned these countries into fields of blood.
There are different groups of Muslims. One of the groups is Islamic fundamentalists. This is the most problematic and dangerous group. The group’s vision of Islam is a regime based on sharia, Islamic religious law. They believe Islam must be preserved in its original form. To them, this is a requirement of their faith that they must impose on everyone else.
They see the imposition of Sharia as their sacred religious duty as practised by Prophet Mohammed. They believe Sharia as a divine code is superior to civil laws. Sharia is the major motivating force for Muslims to engage in jihad. They preach, practise, and pursue the theological warrant for intolerance, violence, and killings embedded in their religious texts. The Kano Muslims who gruesomely murdered Deborah belong to the Islamic fundamentalist group.
The killers of Deborah justified their heinous crime on the historical actions of Prophet Mohammed and the Quran. During his time in Mecca, Mohammed and his small band of believers had little or no success in converting others to the new religion- Islam. Ten years after Mohammed started preaching, he fled to Medina. While in Medina, he cobbled together a militia and began waging wars.
Passages in the Quran and Hadith support violence and armed jihad in the name of Allah. For example,
Q 4.95 states, “Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home).” Q 8.60 advises Muslims “to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know.” Q 9.29 instructs Muslims: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden by Allah and His messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pray the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
Indeed, some Islamic jurisprudence argued that the so-called “sword verses” (9.5 and 9.29) have
“abrogated, canceled, and replaced” those verses in the Quran that call for “tolerance, compassion, and peace.” In fact, Sahih Muslim, one of the six major authoritative Hadith collections, claims Prophet Mohammed fought 19 military expeditions. According to Hadith, Mohammed personally fought eight of them. According to Yale Professor of Religious Studies, Gerhard Bowering in his book, Islamic Political Thought, says after the 627 Battle of the Trench, “Mohammed felt free to deal harshly with the Banu Qurayza, executing their men and selling their women and children into slavery.” In his book, Ancient Religions, Modern Politics, Princeton scholar Michael Cook observed that “The historical salience of warfare against unbelievers… was thus written into the foundational texts of Islam.”
Islam claims that “Mohammed had a revelation which commanded Muslims to wage jihad until every human being on the planet accepts Islam or a state of subservience…” It is therefore no surprise that many Nigerian Muslims support the killing of Deborah. What’s more, Quran and Hadith provide justification for violence, gender inequality, and discrimination against other religions. Sunni, Islamism, Salafism, Wahhabism, and Jihadism, etc., point to Islam as a religion of violence controlled by the central ideological movement to impose Sharia law by force.
Nigerian state will not stop the killing of another Deborah. It will not stamp out ISIS, Boko Haram and other violent Muslim sects. It will not stop Muslim fundamentalists from killing another Deborah because another Muslim fundamentalist is lurking around the corner ready to kill. We’ll not succeed in countering the message of death and intolerance. We’ll not be able to convince killers like the ones who murdered Deborah with civilized messages of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In a lawless and ungovernable Nigeria headed by General Muhammadu Buhari, a Sunni fundamentalist Muslim, such killings are made attractive and irresistible. This is another compelling reason why Yorubas must exit Nigeria to retain and practise freedom of religion, speech, and right to life more abundant.