Murdered in the name of Islam Religious Conflict in Nigeria


The recent sickening and shocking murder of a female high school teacher in an all-female secondary school in Nigeria bears eloquent testimonies to the degenerated state of a religious Nigerian society.

The woman (names withheld) was a teacher at a Government day secondary school in Gombe state (a state in North-central Nigeria), before she met her untimely death in the hands of those she had impacted knowledge. She was said to have rightly seized a set of books a student smuggled in with with the intent of cheating, during the course of writing the examination on Islamic religious knowledge. Unfortunately to her, a copy of the holy Quaran was discreetly hidden among the confiscated books and which she angrily threw away.

Soon after the end of the said examination, the affected student played the victim and cried foul, a mob attack swooped on the hapless and unsuspecting woman, and killed her for desecrating the holy book. The woman’s gruesome assassination should be condemned in its entirety as a crime against humanity, a sin against God and a contravention of the tenets of Islam, the religion in whose name the perpetrators committed the offence. The effrontery displayed by the irate students (with assistance from hoodlums outside the school) also runs contrary to the natural emphatic soft instincts of the female gender.

Yet, Islam advocates that even in times of war, women and children should be spared. Besides, God enjoins Muslims to treat human life as something sacred. So, where is the justification for the murder of the female teacher? What kind of students would falsely shield themselves with the holy book to commit sins that are condemned in the same book? Besides the fact that the students’ actions are capable of breaching the peace and boomeranging into sectarian conflicts, inflaming passion, disaffection and mistrust between Muslim and Christian populations in the country, the basic principle of Islam premised on peace is open to misinterpretation, especially by non-muslims and which, unfortunately, gives credence to perception of Islam as hostile, intolerable and volatile.

Equally, their ignorance is a pointer to their miseducation, lack of knowledge and ill-bred nature.

These behaviours are antithetical to religious and moral ethics. Even though I am a Christian, I still understand that the students who committed this crime might be acting a script from some people, only to cover their shame with Islam. The above scenario casts a pall of shadow on the kind of method of imparting knowledge to the younger generation. And for the cheating girl to have been caught in the act while writing a religious paper also calls to question the essence of the teaching of that subject itself. It further exposes the moral decadence and laxity of the society.

Notwithstanding the fact that operators and adherents of religion (in this case, Islam)should be separated and treated differently, Muslim leaders, teachers, and parents should come to terms with the barbaric behaviours perpetrated in the name of their faith. There is no better time of retrieving the values inherent in Islam than an auspicious time like this, when its noble name is being dragged in the mud.

God’s supremacy and sovereignty are such that mere mortals are not needed to intervene on His behalf.

This further underscores Islam’s emphasis that there are no compulsions in religion. Therefore, those who kill in the name of Islam, like the Gombe school students should be brought to judgement,{even though they are teenagers}, to serve as deterrence to others.

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