Muslim students in northwestern Nigeria stoned a Christian student to death and then burned her body after accusing her of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad, police said Thursday (May 12th). The case occurred in Sokoto State, where Sharia is applied alongside common law, as in other states in northern Nigeria.

Dozens of students at the Shehu-Shagari school became enraged after reading a comment posted on social media by fellow Christian student Deborah Samuel that they considered offensive. of the Prophet Muhammad, Sanusi Abubakar, the Sokoto police spokesman, said in a statement. “Students dragged her out of the room where she had been taken to safety by education officials, killed her and burned the building down,” the spokesperson added. Two suspects have been arrested, he said.

A student, who went by name only as Babangida, accused the student of posting “the offensive comment on a student WhatsApp messaging group that everyone saw”. “Muslim students at the school, who were furious after her insult, mobilized and beat her to death,” he added.

Sharia applied in twelve states

A video of the scene, shared on social media, shows the dead student, dressed in a pink dress, lying face down among dozens of stones thrown by her pursuers. This video also shows a mob whipping the body while shouting insults, before piling used tires on the body and setting it on fire with the shout of “Allah Akbar”. Police said all suspects identified in this video will be arrested. The local government ordered the immediate closure of the school in order to determine “the ancient and immediate causes” of this matter.

In Islam, blasphemy, especially against the Prophet, is punishable by death, according to Sharia. Islamic law was introduced in 2000 in twelve states in northern Nigeria. These courts, which operate alongside the state justice system, have already handed down death sentences for adultery, blasphemy or homosexuality, but no executions have taken place so far. Two Muslims had been sentenced to death in 2015 and 2020 by Islamic courts for blasphemy against the Prophet.