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What Are The Stages of Getting Lynched By Islamic Extremists In Nigeria?

Christians in Northern Nigeria understand what it means to live and walk on eggshells. Northern Muslims appear meek, unassuming, and welcoming until a person (read as non-Muslim) crosses their religious red lines and you would see this personality transform into a monstrous being capable of taking your life, in a matter of moments.

The problem is that this red line is poorly defined, hastily interpreted, and tenaciously defended. 

To survive as a Christian, you take to moving on egg shells. So the Christian man and woman takes to moving on eggshells, and if he must speak about religion, he contributes from a place of wilful ignorance and imbecilic agreeableness, with a mile-long pole. The ghosts of Gideon Akaluka beheaded and paraded in Kano, Evangelist Eunice Elisha hacked to death in Abuja, and, more recently, Deborah Samuel burned alive in Sokoto loom heavily in the back of his/her mind.

Now and again, a Christian is construed to have crossed this red line and pays with their life. The questions this article answers are- How does it happen and what are the enabling factors? 

These are some of the stages to getting lynched by Islamic extremists in Northern Nigeria. 

1. Where Muslims are in home turf

The first stage to killing a Christian (an infidel) is the location. If the leadership of an area is majorly Muslim and they possess a population advantage, the chances of a Christian getting lynched increases. In this situation, It doesn't matter who the de jure leader is. For example, If a state is led by a Christian governor but the General Officer Commanding the military division, the commissioner of police, and the head of DSS could all be Muslims and since real security apparatus is controlled by the federal government, a would-be Muslim executioner of a blasphemer knows he's truly covered.

Secondly the population of this area favours Muslims. This is not always the case. An area can be Christian dominated but Muslims could create a bubble of impenetrable dominance where Christians must "behave". For example, Apo Mechanic Village is dominated by Christians but the Muslims who make up the labour hands are capable of hurting any Christian who crosses them by virtue of their ability to organize quickly, get armed in an instance, and take the larger population by surprise.

So whether by perceived power, numerical advantage or speedy organization, an area where Muslims feel at home is as good as gallows for hanging infidels.

2. Tension

The second stage is tension which can be defined as the budding feeling of resentment against the Christian group by the Muslims in an area. If the Christians are perceived to be more successful, if the Christians practice their faith overtly, if there is a fiery Islamic preacher who continually sow the seeds of Islamic dominance and restiveness, if there are political division between the two faiths, etc., the ground is wet enough for violence against Christians. It's a matter of time and convenience for the Muslims to strike.

In the case of Deborah Samuel, tension already exists in the class WhatsApp group and off it between Christians and Muslims who felt the school is primarily a Muslim dominion before being a centre of intellectual and social intercourse. Someone needed to put Christians in their place and Deborah fell victim over a comment that could attract anything between a reprimand and removal from the group by an admin. She paid with her life.

3. The defence of Islam

This is when a Christian crosses the red line. Above we mentioned that these red lines are poorly defined and hastily interpreted. The haste to define this red line (and punish/correct it) usually matches the thickness of the tension in the area. 

Where there is no urgent tension, a Christian could get away with placing an inferior book on his roommates' book or telling his neighbour Muslims worship a false god.

The defence of Islam is not usually about the offence per se. It's connected to the level of anger, suspicion, and outrage in the land. The higher the animosity, the quicker the retribution.  

In a less tense environment, Deborah Samuel would have been blocked online and verbally trolled but would still be alive today. Sokoto is an Islamic home turf, omission or commission someone made Christians the immediate of Muslims in Deborah's area of Sokoto creating tension that made thousands of Muslim youths, learned and otherwise, drag Deborah out of the school gate and burn her till she died in defence of Islam.

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