Nigeria: Crowd lynches a man accused of “blasphemy”

A mob lynched a Muslim man in a northern Nigerian town on Sunday, accusing him of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad, local police and residents said Monday.
Usman Buda, a butcher working in slaughterhouses in the town of Sokoto, “was lynched and attacked by Muslim worshippers who inflicted serious injuries on him”, local police spokesman Ahmad Rufa’i said on Sunday evening. The attackers fled when police arrived on the scene and Mr. Buda was taken to hospital, where he was later confirmed dead, Mr. Rufa’i added.
Blasphemy is punishable by death under Islamic law, or Sharia, which applies alongside ordinary law in some ten States in northern Nigeria, where the majority of the population is Muslim. In recent years, the death penalty has rarely been applied. However, in several cases, the accused have been killed by mobs without going through legal proceedings.
Mr. Buda, a Salafist Muslim, was stoned and beaten to death by his colleagues following an argument, he told his butcher colleague Isa Danhili. “It all started when some young beggars came to ask for alms in the name of Allah and the Prophet,” he said.
When Mr. Buda disapproved of the children begging, a heated argument broke out, he added. The butcher became emotional and made “statements” that his colleagues deemed insulting to the prophet and “rushed at him with stones and sticks”, said Mr. Danhili.
A video of the attack, widely shared on social networks, shows a man dressed in a bloody sleeveless jersey staggering and falling as a crowd throws stones at him. In the background, a voice can be heard shouting “Kill him!” in Hausa, the most widely spoken language in northern Nigeria.
Sunday’s lynching took place a year after the stoning to death of a Christian woman in Sokoto, on similar charges.