A few days ago, I reported on the unconstitutional detention of the President of the Nigerian Humanist Association, Mubarak Bala on accusations of blasphemy. The Nigerian Humanist Association is an affiliate of Atheist Alliance International so we swung into action to demand Mubarak’s human rights, which were being violated. As I write, he has been held for more than 570 hours, the Kano police have refused to disclose his whereabouts leaving his lawyer and family without access to him and unable to be sure he is safe. Nigerian law requires detainees to be given reasonable access to legal representation and to be charged or released within 48 hours. Repeated calls to Kano police have failed to confirm that Mubarak has been charged. We have been supporting his family in the meantime.
The fifteen minute video above was made last week and I now have some more information: we have just learned that his case against the Kano state’s police Commissioner for Human Rights violation will be heard on Monday 25th May 2020.
As blasphemy is being taken off the books in more progressive countries, the northern Nigerian state of Kano is in the grip of Sharia Law.The Nigerian Constitution lists the following:
Article number: 11
11. The Government of the Federation or of a State, shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.
The adoption of Islamic law is clearly in violation of the constitution.
It grieves me that there are parts of the world where believers can still use the law to punish people who ‘blaspheme’. They protect their belief system by outlawing criticism or mocking statements about their god on grounds of ‘offence’. This is denial of free speech on a religious pretext. There is a famous saying: “To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?”
It also grieves me that, although everyone has the right to belong to whatever religion they choose to adopt, non-believers have no such protection. That is why Atheist Alliance International has started the campaign for the Right to be Secular
Our President, Howard Burman, will be speaking at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, to promote that cause. Please click the link to support us.
Let’s hope that Mubarak Bala is soon released from illegal custody.