The cold murder of a Christian lady called Deborah must be condemned irrespective of the circumstance because Islam frowns at barbarism, jungle justice, and mutilation of dead bodies let alone roasting of human bodies. The prophetic traditions warned against mutilating dead bodies of enemies killed in war let alone burning them. The same prophetic traditions were captured when Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) stood up silently when a corpse of a Non-muslim was being carried away.
No religion or ideology is immune to extremism, manipulation, and politicization. Hence, Islam should not be judged all the time by the atrocities of misguided and radicalized few. Christianity was once used as a tool of validity for the slave trade, genocidal actions, and blasphemous murder of scientists in the medieval era by The ruling Church (Papacy) but I have refused to stereotype or view Christianity from that lens.
The Muslim World and Northern Nigeria especially must do a lot to de-radicalize the region, and purge itself of dominant extremists who are posing as Preachers, Scholars, and politicians. Northern Nigeria must understand they represent Islam largely and enabling factors of radicalism such as chronic poverty, out-of-school children, illiteracy, and unemployment must be aggressively addressed. The region is indeed more volatile and much more comfortable for religious and ideological radicalization.
The stance of Islam on blasphemy has been a subject of debate amongst old and modern scholars but it is clear that nothing in the Quran stipulates the punishment of death for blasphemy and any tradition that contradicts the Quran must not only be reviewed but voided. The brief history and evolution of the criminalization of blasphemy in Islam have been addressed in a brief article which will be shared below. However, public abuse of religion or revered founders of religion must be condemned, discouraged, and penalized by the laws but not to the extent of capital punishment. Infact, such public abuse can fall under incitement of the public or public nuisance addressable under common law.
Lastly, good Muslims are urged to always raise their voices against the bad eggs, influential Muslims must not be timid in condemning extremism and challenging unfounded radical views enabled by political dynamics or distortions. There’s also a need for Non-muslims to be open-minded about Islam and outgrow stereotypes about Islam which have been projected more through “media framing and amplification” while similar extremism perpetrated by Non-muslims or other regions is given less amplification.
“Not being open-minded about Islam is an enablement of dogmatism which helps extremism to grow in any religion or ideology”.
Mujib Dada-Qadri is a legal practitioner and public affairs
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