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Blasphemy: Abuja National Mosque’s Imam Maqari Must Be Sacked, Tried Now — Soyinka

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called for the sacking of the Imam, National Mosque, Abuja, Professor Ibrahim Maqari, over his comment on the murder of Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a 200-level student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, who was lynched for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.

Soyinka accused the Islamic cleric of directing his followers to take the law into their own hands in the name of religion.

He spoke in Abuja on Saturday during the one-year remembrance of the late former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, and the launch of Attahiru’s biography written by author, Niran Adedokun.

The Nobel laureate lamented lynching in the name of religion, adding that the “apostate of the creed of humanity, Professor Maqari, must be removed from office.”

He added, “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 civilised norms. Let all pietistic denunciations be backed by affirmative action.”

The playwright noted that the Islamic cleric had done nothing but encourage his followers to kill anyone that blasphemes Prophet Muhammad.

Soyinka added, “Professor Maqari, however, insists, with a handful of others, including vocal serving policemen quite recently, that there is no remorse involved in the torture and lynching of a young student on this earth.

“Maqari has implicitly directed his followers to take the law into their own hands in the name of religion, and innovation. That is the message of a supposedly holy man to a nation embroiled in his madness of multiple incidences.”

The Nobel laureate said youths had been programmed to aspire to a brutish existence below the lowest common denominator of what constitutes human.

“Surely, that is where any self-respecting nation (ought) to draw its defining unbridgeable line,” he added.

Also speaking, the wife of the Kaduna State Governor, Aisha El-Rufai, condemned killings in the name of Islam, adding that Deborah’s killers acted contrary to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

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.

”These people are not doing this with the backing of any religion. Whatever reason they might give their choice to use religion, they are not for Prophet Muhammad.

”Islam does not support what they did and if the prophet were alive, he would not have allowed such madness to be done to anyone. I feel it is necessary to defend him and the religion which these crazy people smear with their crazy actions.”

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