Deborah: Soyinka calls for sacking of national mosque Imam over comment on ‘Muslims’ redlines’


Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate, says Ibrahim Maqari, Imam of the national mosque, should be sacked from his position over his comments on “redlines” of Islam.


On May 12, Deborah, a female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto state, was killed by a mob over alleged blasphemy.


Amid this development, Maqari through his Twitter handle insinuated that Deborah deserved her death.


He tweeted: “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,” said a statement posted on the imam’s Twitter account.”

Speaking on Saturday during the launch of the late Ibrahim Attahiru’s biography in Abuja, Soyinka accused Maqari of directing his followers to take laws into their own hands.


He called for an end to such acts in the name of religion and demanded that the Islamic cleric be removed from office.


“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,” Soyinka said.

“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.


“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.


“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 cohabitation and respect for a human commonality known as – life.


“It is time for all group interests to draw their lines, to decide where they intersect with others, where they run parallel, and where they diverge and/or snarl into a chaotic maze. 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.”


He added that Nigerians should desist from extending their religious predispositions beyond constitutional legitimacy.


In response, Aisha el-Rufai, the wife of Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna governor, said the people behind the death of Deborah do not have the backing of Islam.


She described the people who kill in the name of religion as “crazy people” who use religion as a reason to back “their crazy actions”.

”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,” she said.


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


”Islam does not preach what they do and the Prophet if alive would not have allowed such a madness 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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