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Sokoto Blasphemous Thugs Must Be Brought To Justice -By Abdulkadir Salaudeen

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The people of Sokoto take pride in Sokoto being the seat of Caliphate—reminiscent of Uthman Ibn Fodio Jihad. A jihad undertook by this noble ancestor against syncretism and overbearingly fantastic ignorance which then prevailed in many parts of what would later be known as northern Nigeria. A caliphate is, to summarize, an Islamic government in an Islamic state. Islamic state is a civilization-state which substructure is the Qur’an and the Sunnah upon which the superstructure is built. The superstructure is a manifestation of beauty, justice, knowledge, light, and peace. It is unfortunate that Sokoto thugs are violently pulling down this envied superstructure.  They are tarring the beauty of Islam unrelentingly—right under our nose—with ugly brush. This is frittering away the labour of our heroes past. We must all rise against them.

Some thugs in Sokoto State have, again, displayed a stone-age cruelty in the recent “blasphemous killing.” This is a demonic act perpetrated in the name of religion. These thugs must be made to face the wrath of the law. Usman Buda—a butcher by profession—was butchered and sent to his grave by some thugs in Sokoto State on Sunday. Usman was accused of making blasphemous comments against Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Some thugs who neither know the Prophet nor understand what blasphemy is bounced on Usman and excised his soul savagely from his body. Any Muslim who knows the noble Prophet(SAW) automatically—by that knowledge—becomes noble. A noble cannot be a savage nor act savagely. These savage thugs who acted savagely should be severed for their savagery. They should be severed from existence because they do not deserve to live.

How did it happen? A source claims an altercation broke out between the late Usman and some ignoramuses on a sectarian issue. A beggar who begged for alms in the names of God and the Prophet (SAW) was cautioned by Usman that one can only beg in the name of God; not in the name of the Prophet. In the Islamic theology, it is a basic knowledge taught to kids at their elementary Islamic schools that while a Muslim must revere the Prophet (SAW), they must not idolize him nor elevate him to the realm of Divinity. This is what these trigger-happy envious criminals tagged blasphemy. Usman spoke from the perspective of knowledge to ignoramuses who are least exposed to scholarship. They probably could not read the Qur’an with minimum correctness and eloquence or even identify its letters; but they are “experts” in the theology of blasphemy.

According to one of Usman’s neighbours, Daily Trust reports, “Usman is my immediate neighbor. He is very religious, in fact, he belonged to Izala sect. We prayed and attended Tafsir together at Primary board quarters. There is no way he could make such a statement against the Holy Prophet.” He continued: “There must be a reason behind his murder. Because he is very popular in his business of selling cow entrails and was envied by many of his colleagues.”

A perishable items seller whose stand is next to that of Usman expressed shock over Usman’s killing; “I have not been myself since I heard about what happened. I know Usman liked arguments on religious issues but I didn’t hear him even for once using derogatory remarks against the Prophet’s companions.” Another butcher in the market said “This is how God destined his end. The cow entrails seller next to him will now come back, because he has been out of the business since during the fasting period due to lack of patronage. Because people patronize Usman more than him.”

Funnily, when the policemen arrived at the scene of the brutal killing, these self-appointed blasphemous police—policing the utterances of their fellow Muslims—escaped the scene and left the victim who was later confirmed dead. What an act of cowardice! These coward thugs ran for their lives and could not wait to defend their so-called killing in the name of Allah and their so-called fighting for the Prophet (SAW). It is in this same Sokoto State that a Christian—Deborah—was killed without any recourse to the law. Contrarily, although, killers of Deborah stood their ground even to be captured on camera due to their conviction of the correctness of what they did.

Even if Deborah behaved mannerlessly, as I argued in my article titled “Why Other Christians shouldn’t be like Deborah Samuel,” thugs should not, under any circumstance, be allowed to take law into their hands. Then I wrote, “Shocking again is the behavior of some ulama who, in reaction to calls to bring the killers of Deborah to book, urged the common people on the street to violence. I heard some of them say “If anyone blasphemes the Prophet again, kill them. They failed to realize that there are criminal elements among these youths who may want to settle scores with some Christians and take advantage of the situation. Criminals may seize such opportunity to steal and loot, to maim and rape. What kind of ‘mallamic’ shortsightedness is this? We should learn how to react to issues within limit. The gate to chaos has been irresponsibly unlocked by Deborah. We should not, by our reactions, help open it completely. This will lead to a free for all. It will be catastrophic.”

Now we can see the catastrophe. The gate of chaos has been opened completely. Muslims among themselves now use blasphemy to settle scores. Deborah’s killers are said to have evaded justice as their whereabouts is unknown. Though the Nigeria Police Force dismissed the claim that persons arrested in connection with the killing have been released. But justice delayed is justice denied and justice denied consequently energizes perpetration of crueler acts by thugs; like in the case of Usman. May Allah have mercy on Usman.

Since blasphemy has become a handy tool employed by people to nail those whom they dislike or those whom they disagree with, only God knows the next victim of contrived blasphemy. A popular cleric in Bauchi State, even if controversial, has been battling with a similar case of blasphemy. He was accused by his detractors who could not debate him scholarly on the alleged blasphemy. That is Dr. Abdul’aziz Dutsen-Tanshi. What did he say for which they accused him of blasphemy? He insisted that he will only seek Allah’s help; and that he will not seek the Prophet’s help on things that are exclusively sought from Allah. These are basic theological understanding which no sane Muslim should find offensive. But here we are.

I urge Sokoto State government to invest massively and radically in education. I think these thugs need serious tutorials. They need thorough schooling where real knowledge will be acquired—especially Islamic knowledge. As the Kano State Government is radically committed to demolishing buildings (rightly or wrongly) to restore Kano to its original urban master plan and to sustain its historic walls(heritage), Sokoto State Government should, in similar fashion, enthusiastically demolish the edifice of ignorance epitomized by its teeming religious thugs. This can be achieved by criminalizing ignorance.

How would it criminalize ignorance? Sokoto State Government should, first and foremost, make basic education compulsory. This should include Islamic education which is integral to its culture. These schools should be well equipped and well staffed with qualified teachers who must be seen in schools and must be seen teaching. Parents who refuse to educate their children—formally or informally—should be dealt with like criminals which they are. It is criminal and irreligious not to educate one’s children as they will most likely become public nuisance like killers of Usman.

My heart goes to Usman’s family. He is the family’s breadwinner with six children, and a committed Muslim, according to his aged father and his neighbors. Government and good Samaritans should extend their generosity to his dependents. His killers, and their ilk, must be brought to book. Justice for Usman Buda.

Abdulkadir Salaudeen

salahuddeenabdulkadir@gmail.com

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