Pastor's Wife Stabbed to Death in Nigeria for Allegedly Insulting Prophet Muhammad
A Christian woman and the wife of a local Nigerian pastor was stabbed to death by attackers last week, reports say, allegedly because she insulted the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.
AllAfrica reported that the woman, 74-year-old Bridget Abahime, was followed and killed at a market in Kano, following accusations that she had insulted the Islamic faith. Nigeria's police say that two suspects connected to the murder have been arrested, and have deployed further security to the area to prevent the incident from "degenerating into a major security threat."
The Christian Association of Nigeria, which represents followers of Christ who make up nearly half of Nigeria's population, condemned the killing, and questioned why police are not doing more to protect Christians.
"This barbarism must stop now," said the association's spokesman, the Rev. John Hayab. He accused police of trying to cover up the killing.
Muslim groups have also spoken out against such violence, with the Muslim Rights Concern calling it "preposterous, barbaric and unIslamic."
Nigeria's President Mohammadu Buhari, also a Muslim, said that the killing was "utterly condemnable."
"Let us ensure that we keep the peace, as justice will be done," Buhari vowed. "Let us learn to respect each other's faith, so that we can know each other and live together in peace."
Christians in Nigeria face a variety of threats, from local violence and attacks, to wide-spread persecution and slaughter at the hands of extremist groups, such as Boko Haram.
Radical Muslim Fulani herdsmen have also been a major threat, with close to 500 Christian farmers in Benue state in central Nigeria being killed over land disputes throughout the month of March.
One Christian witness described the attacks at the time: "Entire villages were burned down completely by Fulani herdsmen. Unidentified corpses of these Christians were discovered, properties were looted by these Fulani invaders. As I speak to you, Fulani herdsmen are living in the deserted villages. I couldn't believe what my eyes saw."
Christian pastors have also been the target of much violence, with one church leader kidnapped and killed back in April for preaching to Muslims and telling them to repent for their sins.
"The gang also confessed to have been responsible for the kidnapping of Pastor Chukwu Ekere of same Ohigha community and killed him for the simple reason that the man of God disturbed them with his preaching of repentance and also for urging them to shun their nefarious activities and accept God," authorities said at the time.
Persecution watchdog groups, such as Open Doors, have warned that the killing of Christians in Nigeria has surged by 62 percent in just one year, documenting that throughout 2015 there were 4,028 killings and 198 church attacks.