A Muslim rights group in Nigeria has condemned the public beheading of a woman who allegedly blasphemed Islam’s Prophet Muhammed. Bridget Agbawe, 74, was working alongside her husband at a market in Kano in northern Nigeria when she was attacked by a mob.
Nigerian Police arrested two key suspects, Dauda Ahmed and Subeiru Abubaka, in the killing, spokesperson Kolawole Olabisi said in a statement Saturday. But Nigeria's Muslim Rights Council said in a statement Sunday the "barbaric" murder demanded greater action than simply two arrests.
“We dare say this is not good enough. Two people cannot publicly hold a woman down and cut off her head. Available evidence point at the participation of a large number of people," the council's director, Ishaq Akintola, said in a statement. "Heads must roll on this if we must make it a deterrent. We therefore urge the police to dig deeper in order to prevent future carnage. Enough is enough.”
Agbawe was tending to her shop when a Muslim man reportedly entered the space and attempted to carry out his evening prayers. She objected and began arguing with him, which prompted the man to make blasphemy accusations against her. Soon, a mob formed and attacked Agbawe, local media outlets reported. Her husband was nearly killed in the scuffle.
"At about 4:30 pm, there was a disagreement between the murdered woman and some traders bordering on religion," Musa Magaji, a spokesperson for the Kano Police, told reporters. "The woman was said to have blasphemed Prophet Mohammed, which did not go down well with the mob."
The brutal attack has made headlines across Nigeria, home to Africa's largest economy. The crime comes as the militant group Boko Haram has carried out murders across the northern part of the nation, becoming the world's most deadliest terrorist group.
"It is shocking that such an incident could happen in 2016 Nigeria. It also begs the question how equipped and prepared the security agencies, especially the police, are to respond to spontaneous incidents such as mob action," human rights activist Obo Effanga wrote in Nigeria Today. "How long shall we live with conceding that certain people can commit heinous crimes in the name of culture and religion and we go gentle with them? Why is Kano often so combustible and so easily known for mob actions?"
The Muslim Council said Islam does not approve of killing or mob attacks. “Even where blasphemy is committed, the woman should have been taken to the police station instead of being brutally attacked. There is no jungle justice in Islam," the statement said. "We charge the Nigerian Police to get to the root of the matter and deal with the culprits according to the law. Nobody has the right to take to take the law into his hands."
The statement added, "Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said the noblest of men are those who honor women."