A young woman in Nigeria was reportedly stoned to death and her body beaten and burned after she was falsely accused of insulting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a Shehu Shagari College of Education student in Sokoto, Nigeria, was brutally murdered May 12. The violent attack was purportedly filmed and shared on social media.
“We have videos, we have photos which I’ve seen, unfortunately,” Joel Veldkamp, head of international communications at persecution watchdog Christian Solidarity International, told CBN’s Faithwire.
Watch Veldkamp share details of the horrific story:
Veldkamp, who stated facts on the deadly attack are still being pieced together, said Yakubu, a Christian, was the head of a Christian fellowship organization at the university.
She came under fire and was later killed over comments purportedly made on WhatsApp, a messaging app.
“There was some kind of argument in the WhatsApp group about religion,” Veldkamp said. “Some people say she praised Jesus for something, other people say she asked some other people to stop talking about religion so much.”
Other reports claim she was falsely accused of insulting Muhammad after refusing to date a Muslim, or that she said on WhatsApp that Christians at Shehu Shagari College of Education were discriminated against and Muslims favored.
An additional assertion was that she thanked Jesus after passing tests and refused to retract her statement of gratitude.
Regardless of Yakubu’s purported comments or the causal details, she was attacked the next day by young Muslims who were outraged and violently decided to end her life.
“The next day some young Muslim students went to her hostel and grabbed her and beat her to death and then burned her body,” he said. “We have the video of the body being burned, and you can see the faces of the people who did it, and you can hear them shouting ‘Allahu Akbar.'”
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Veldkamp continued, “They are apparently not afraid at all of being punished for this.”
He went on to warn that attacks like this are “becoming more common” in Nigeria, which might be surprising to some who assume the totality of the African nation is Christian.
While Veldkamp said at least half of Nigeria believes the Gospel, states in the north have long been bastions of extremism. In a separate case, a 13-year-old Muslim boy is imprisoned on accusations of blasphemy against Allah during an argument with a friend — and there are many other similar examples.
“There has been a 20-year campaign to install Shariah law as the law of these 12 northern states of Nigeria,” he said. “It is against the law to blaspheme Islam in these states.”
Nigeria’s sinister and divisive situation deeply troubles Veldkamp, with Yakubu’s death giving a horrific lens into the dangerous situation.
“Nigeria is one of the biggest Christian countries in the world. The Gospel is on fire in Nigeria. The Gospel is spreading, churches are growing. This is the future of Christianity,” Veldkamp said. “And why is it that we aren’t paying attention to this, and why is it that we haven’t noticed that, precisely where the church is having the biggest growth, the devil is attacking the most ferociously?”
Open Doors USA’s 2022 World Watch List ranks Nigeria the seventh most dangerous place in the world to live as a Christian.
“Persecution in Nigeria is, simply put, brutally violent,” the Open Doors USA report reads. “In much of northern Nigeria, Christians live their lives under the constant threat of attack from Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Fulani militants and criminals who kidnap and murder with few consequences.”
Police reportedly shut down Shehu Shagari College of Education after the attack and arrested two students. Authorities purportedly pledge to find all those responsible for the brutal killing.
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