The Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), a body of Muslim journalists in the country, has condemned what it termed jungle justice meted out to Deborah Samuel, a female student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto.
The deceased was accused of committing blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, through a voice note she reportedly shared on a WhatsApp group of her classroom.
The voice note, which was shared in the Hausa language, was interpreted to mean an insult to the prophet.
In a statement issued and signed by its national president, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, MMPN described the action as anti-Islam, barbaric and sad.
It said the case of mob killing of Ms Samuel is a criminal offence in Islamic law, noting that anyone whoever takes the law into their hands is a criminal that should be punished for their crime.
The group also noted that the punishment for any offence in Islamic law is decided by a judge. “No other member of the public has that jurisdiction.”
The statement read in part: “Allah says in Qur’an 5 verse 32 thus: …We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people…
“In essence, it is a criminal offence in the Shari’ah of Islam for anyone or any group to take the law into their hands. Even if it is a crime committed against the state, it is when the specific punishment is prescribed in the Qur’an or Hadith, only a competent judge of a Shari’ah court is allowed to approve of the witnesses and evidence, and to give the sentence for the execution of the appropriate punishment.”
MMPN also commended the Sultanate Council and the Sultan, Sa’ad Abubakar, for condemning the “criminal act and calling for calm pending the outcome of the investigation panel set up by the Sokoto State Government.”
The group further said: “As a body of Muslim media practitioners, we join all others to condemn this barbaric act and call for immediate justice on any individual or group of people found guilty of perpetrating this dastard act.
“This is so because if any individual or group is permitted to judge and execute punishments on their own without recourse to the constituted authority, there will be nothing but jungle justice and anarchy on the land.”
According to the group, what happened in Sokoto is a manifestation of ignorance of what the religion of Islam preaches, “hence the need for Islamic scholars to renew their commitments to preaching peace, love, tolerance and understanding as taught by Prophet Muhammad himself.”
“The Prophet (S.A.W) during his life time was maligned, insulted and attacked but he didn’t retaliate or order his people to prosecute any of them, hence, people accepted Islam during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad ( S.A.W ) because of his exemplary and worthy character”.