Kaduna (Nigeria), Nov. 20 (Reuters): Islamic militants burned down the regional office of a leading Nigerian newspaper today after it referred to the Prophet Mohammad in a report on the Miss World pageant in Nigeria, witnesses said.
The fundamentalist Nigerian Muslim Umma, declaring a “serious religious emergency” immediately issued a statement calling on the government to stop the December 7 pageant, already dogged by controversy.
The incident in the northern city of Kaduna triggered tension in other parts of the predominantly Islamic region where sectarian riots have killed thousands in the past three years.
Residents said police had been placed on the alert in the nearby city of Kano, another hotbed of sectarian violence.
Witnesses said hundreds of irate Islamists chanting “Allah u Akbar” (God is greatest) were involved in the attack on the Kaduna office of This Day, a Lagos-based independent daily, housed in a converted villa in an exclusive part of the city.
“They said they were protesting against a story in This Day newspaper of last Saturday which said Mohammad would have married one of the beauty queens,” a witness said.
This Day has retracted the report and published an apology.