A.S. Ibrahim | The death of a college student in Nigeria is the most recent example
Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a Christian student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, Nigeria, was beaten to death last month by a group of Muslim students after they accused her of blasphemy against Muhammad.
The Guardian reports that an angry mob considered Yakubu’s comments on social media insulting to Islam’s prophet. After they declared her blasphemous, a group of zealots dragged her from her home and assaulted her. They threw her on the floor, stoned her to death, and burned her body.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and is roughly divided into a majority Christian south and a Muslim north. Yakubu’s murder occurred in northwestern Nigeria.
The Guardian’s report lacks important details from eyewitnesses. Yakubu was a member of the Evangelical Church Winning All. According to David Ayuba Azzaman, senior pastor at The King Worship Chapel in Kaduna, there was no insult against Muhammad, but Yakubu “turned down a Muslim proposal to date her” and that led to the man accusing her of insulting Muhammad.
The Guardian also inaccurately claimed that attacks like this one are “very rare.” According to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report, Nigeria is at the top of the list of countries where Christians are killed for their faith, with 13 martyrs a day. The number went from 3,530 murdered Christians in 2020 to 4,650 in 2021. The report ranks Nigeria as one of the most violent countries, where Christians are kidnapped in droves, with the number going up from 990 in 2020 to 2,500 in 2021.
Following Yakubu’s murder, the police arrested two Muslim students. However, hundreds of Muslim youth gathered, took to Sokoto’s streets, lit fires, demanded the release of the two Muslims, and attempted to loot shops belonging to Christian residents.
The incident is heartbreaking. While it clearly shows the rule of the mob in some Muslim-majority lands and how it threatens Christian lives, it also conveys the fragility of Islam when it comes to questioning Muhammad, his character, and teachings.
There is no real evidence that Yakubu insulted Muhammad. The evidence instead indicates she was unjustly and brutally murdered. However, the horrific incident reflects a problem unique to Islam. It highlights how some Muslims react violently to any claims against Muhammad.