Nigerian President Obasanjo (UN photo)
Ten churches torched for one copy of the Qur’an. From AFP:
Kano – At least 10 churches were torched and one police station vandalised when Nigerian Muslims rioted after a young Christian defaced a copy of Islam’s holy Qur’an, a witness said on Monday.
Rioting broke out on Saturday in the religiously mixed northern town of Makarfi, hometown of Kaduna State’s Governor Ahmed Makarfi, local resident Yusuf Abubakar said.
“A teenager, who is said to have a mental defect, went into an Islamic school, took a copy of the Qur’an from one of the students and tore it. This provoked the students and people nearby who pounced on the teenager,” he said.
“His mother, who recently moved to Makarfi with her teenage son from Calabar in the south-east, managed to rescue him from his assailants and ran into the only police station in town for safety,” Abubakar said.
Muslim youths attacked the police station, smashing windows and damaging two patrol vehicles, before burning down ten churches, he said.
Kaduna State’s deputy governor, Stephen Shekari, later made a radio broadcast appealing for calm and warning that rioters would be prosecuted.
So far there have been no reports of anyone being seriously hurt in the disturbances, and large numbers of officers from Nigeria’s feared Mobile Police have been deployed to keep order, Abubakar said.
In recent years sectarian rioting in northern Nigeria has left thousands dead, and widened the divide between the region’s rival Muslim and Christian communities.