Murder of Student in Nigeria among "anti-Christian acts": Rector of Grand Mosque of Paris

Grand Mosque of Paris in France. Credit: LPLT / Wikimedia Commons

The Rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris in France has condemned the stoning and murder, of Deborah Yakubu, describing the May 12 incident as one of the heinous crimes that joins "a series of anti-Christian acts" in Nigeria.  

In a statement obtained by ACI Africa, Chems-eddine Mohamed Hafiz says the Grand Mosque of Paris "expresses its deepest emotion after the murder of Deborah Samuel Yakubu" who was  allegedly stoned and murdered by her male Muslim colleagues for reportedly testifying that Jesus Christ helped her to perform well in her examination.  

Various media accounts have indicated that Deborah, an Economics student at the Sokoto College, allegedly had an argument with fellow students in a WhatsApp group and the Muslim students among them claimed that she had made blasphemous statements about the Prophet Muhammad.

The argument on WhatsApp reportedly took place during the Muslim month of Ramadan when the College was on break. When they reportedly saw Deborah at College on Thursday, May 12, all available Muslim male students allegedly surrounded her and started stoning her until she fell. They reportedly made sure she died and subsequently set her body ablaze.

“This heinous crime, of unspeakable brutality and cowardice, condemned by the local Muslim religious authorities, unfortunately joins a series of anti-Christian acts in the country and has itself led to further violence which all voices must address,” Mr. Hafiz says in his one-page statement. 


He adds, In these difficult times, we cannot allow the scourge of intolerance to win the hearts of men."

The Franco-Algerian lawyer said the leadership of the Mosque known for rescuing Jews during the Nazi occupation of World War II said will always speak for those whose religious freedoms have been infringed. 

He said, “The Grand Mosque of Paris will speak out whenever anyone, anywhere in the world, is targeted because of their religious affiliation, whatever it may be."

In his May 21 letter, the Rector of one of France's largest Mosques recognizes the efforts of members of the Muslims of France for Good and Peace and testifies to their unfailing solidarity and friendship with the Christians of France and the world. 

"Together, let us remember how Islam teaches that every life is sacred and that every human being is a sister or a brother before God and humanity," Mr. Hafiz says. 

More in Africa

Two students, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, were arrested and charged for disrupting peace and criminal conspiracy. 

Irate youths took to the streets of Sokoto to protest the arrest of the two suspects on May 14.

The youths destroyed property in various Catholic Church premises, including the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral of Sokoto Diocese, St. Kevin's Catholic Church Gidan Dere, Bishop Lawton Secretariat, and St. Bakhita Centre located along Aliyu Jodi Road where they burnt down a bus

On May 17, officials of the UK-based human rights foundation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) described as “inexcusable” the arraigning of only two suspects

CSW officials said the current charges are “bailable”. 


They called on Sokoto State authorities to uphold the rule of law and challenge impunity "by reviewing these charges as a matter of urgency, and sparing no effort in identifying and arraigning perpetrators identified on video in a manner commensurate with their role in this heinous murder."

CSW officials also called on Sokoto State authorities to ensure that the Christian community "is compensated for losses incurred during the riot on 14 May and is sufficient protection amid the continuing religious tensions."

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.