- Slams Lawyers Defending Accused Killers
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called for the immediate sack and prosecution of the Chief Imam of Abuja National Mosque, Professor Ibrahim Maqari Yakub, over his comment on the gruesome murder of Deborah Samuel over alleged blasphemous language against Prophet Muhammad.
Deborah was stoned to death and burnt by her colleagues at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto. Since the incident, several individuals, groups have spoken against the lynching of Deborah.
However, Maqari, in his reaction justified the murder of Deborah. The Chief Imam of Abuja National Mosque who took to his Twitter handle said there are some lines in Islam that must not be crossed by anyone, claiming that anyone who fails to adhere risks grievous consequences.
“It should be known to everyone that we the Muslims have some red lines beyond which MUST NOT be crossed. The dignity of the Prophet (PBUH) is at the forefront of the red lines. If our grievances are not properly addressed, then you should not be criticized for addressing them ourselves,” Maqari had said.
Speaking last night at the one-year remembrance of the late former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, organised by his Foundation, Soyinka accused the Islamic cleric of directing his followers to take the law into their hands in the name of religion with his statement.
According to the elder statesman, Maqari has shown that he is not fit to remain as the Chief Imam, as he has “declared himself a Supreme Being with the power of life and death over all the denizens of the world.”
In his words, “However a glorified cleric, no less than the Grand Vizier of the iconic Mosque of the nation’s capital, Abuja, has inserted a dissenting voice. The young woman, Deborah, he declared, deserved her death. This mullah, allegedly a man of learning, since his name is professorially captioned, says that there is a line, a red line that none of us must cross, no matter who we are, what we think, profess or value.
“Like the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, this mere mortal has declared himself a Supreme Being with the power of life and death over all the denizens of the world. His call is unambiguous. Professor Ibrahim Maqari has placed his myrmidons of faith on the alert, primed to emulate the example of these death dealing mutants of fanatic indoctrination.
“Permit me a digression, one that is however pertinent to this occasion. I must take you back to a certain indelibly bloodstained day of December 2015. On that day, and not for the first time in the career of a certain religious sect, hundreds of lives were mown down in broad daylight, and within minutes, in the state of Kaduna.
“The presumed leaders of the alleged provocation were locked up, charged with every kind of criminal conduct, and are still battling, even till today, for their full liberation. Now, what exactly was their crime? They also had drawn a line. That line, they declared, should not be crossed by any. Well, it seemed they had met their match. The Army also had a line, but the Shiite leaders appeared not to know where it was drawn, For that, they paid a deadly forfeit of numerous lives.
“So there we are, arbitrary lines crisscrossing, drawn by individuals and constituencies of beliefs and non-beliefs, of power and aspirants of power. Nowhere do the belligerents profess the common constitutional line and the boundaries of legitimate conduct that supposedly define the imperatives of co-habitation and respect for a human commonality known as – life.
”In the ongoing war in the Ukraine, it is being demonstrated that an ancient line remains for ever with us, and that those who deliberately kill defenceless civilians are regarded as war criminals, to be placed on trial at the first opportunity, A Russian soldier, at this very moment, is undergoing that line of instruction. He has not only pleaded guilty, but actually confronted the widow with the words “I am sorry”.
“Professor Imam Ibrahim Maqari however insists, with a handful of others including a vocal serving policeman quite recently, that there is no remorse attached to the torture and lynching of a young student on this earth we all share. To anyone who cares to listen, Maqari has implicitly directed his followers to take the law into their own hands in the name of religion, and in a nation beset on all sides by wars of ultra-nationalism and religious fanaticism. That is the message of a supposedly holy man to youths, to us, his message to a nation embroiled in a madness of multiple insurgencies.”
Soyinka lamented the resort to lynching people in the name of religion, calling for the end to such barbaric acts in the country.
According to him, if a particular religion decides to draw a red line then all other group interests deserve to draw their lines.
“If Professor Grand Imam Maqari can draw a line in blood, the rest of the community of equal rights must proceed to draw their own, but they will do so in less primitive, bloodthirsty mode, in full respect of human dignity.
“That apostate of the creed of humanity, Professor Maqari, must be removed from office. 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 civilized norms. Let all pietistic denunciations be backed by affirmative action.
“The nation is confronted with just two propositions: One, that the Sultan of Sokoto is right, a position that is daily reinforced by voices stretching from even Zamfara in the north to the southern voice of the Chief Imam of the Yoruba. The alternative position is that Professor Ibrahim Maqari is the acknowledged Oracle of Islamic Ethics. Between the two, a choice must be made, a choice that is both moral and constitutional.
“Both the Sultan and Professor Maqafi cannot be right. And that choice does not belong to any esoteric domain. It is not grounded in privileged, hermetic caucuses of religious doctrine and interior revelations. It is not subject to spiritual pietisms. It is straightforward: either murder is criminal and abhorrent, or it is a legitimate pastime, to be indulged at whim and by any.
“What exactly is “blasphemy” in a polity of religious pluralism? Presumably the twenty four heroic lawyers who have sprung to the defence of the accused killers will also take up that question and enlighten us along the exposition of their briefs. Until then, however, the protocols of association, known as the constitution, remain the sole arbiter.
“We, on this side of humanity, must draw our defining line, and that line reads simply: do not extend your religious predisposition beyond the realms of constitutional legitimacy. Do not flout the protocols of association. Else, pack your private baggage of homicidal precepts and depart for the purist wilderness of blind Submission.
“We have already paid, are still paying too high a price for the culture of Appeasement and Impunity. Let it end now, in Affirmative Action. That a new generation should also be programmed to aspire to brutish existence below the Lowest Common Denominators of what constitutes “human” ? Surely that is where any self-respecting nation should draw its defining, unbreakable line,” he added.
Speaking also, Kaduna state’s First lady, Hajia Aisha El-Rufai, said Islam condemned killings in the name of the Prophet.
She clarified that the individuals that murdered Deborah are bad eggs of the society, and should be treated as such.
She said, “Permit me to say that these people are people we should talk about just like another person who robs and kills the other person, just like a pervert Muslim who rapes a three-month-old baby, just like a crazy Christian who rapes a six-year-old girl”.