President of Humanist Association of Nigeria Arrested for Alleged Blasphemy

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Mr. Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria
Mr. Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria

Mr. Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was on April 29, 2020, arrested by policemen at his residence in Kaduna State over a Facebook post regarded as critical of Islam’s holy Prophet Muhammad.

The Kaduna State police spokesman, Mohammed Jalige, confirmed the arrest saying Mubarak was in police custody but refused to disclose where he was being held.

On, April 27, Mubarak, in a Facebook post compared Lagos pastor and president of Synagogue Church of all Nations, Prophet TB Joshua to Prophet Mohammed, saying: “There’s no difference between prophet TB Joshua (S.A.W) of Lagos and Muhammadu (A.S.) of Saudi Arabia, it is better for our Nigeria to be terrorism.”

In another post, he said, “Whoever believes religion has been duped – If you cant take blasphemy against Islam, criticism of its doctrines, this page is not for you. I have not even started ooo.”

Later, a group of lawyers petitioned the Kano State Police command to prosecute Mubarak for insulting Prophet Muhammad.

In addition, one Halima Sa’adiya Umar raised an online petition on change.org asking Facebook to close down Mubarak’s account. The petition was later deleted the same day.

The group of lawyers prosecuting Mubarak through a legal firm S.S. Usman& CO accused him of taking advantage of the freedom of expression guaranteed to him by the constitution [Section 39] to incite violence through statements against Islam.

In their letter to the police, they claimed: “Among such stuff is calling the Prophet of Islam Muhammad denigrating names like pedophile. terrorist. among other statements that will …ultimately provoke them to take law Into their hands which may ultimately result Into public disturbance and breach of peace.”

Consequently, the lawyers said he is liable to serve a jail term for allegedly erring against section 210 of the Penal Code of Kano State which says “Whoever by any means publicly insults or seeks to incite contempt of any religion in such a manner as to be likely to lead to a breach of the peace, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.”

Mubarak Bala is an atheist who openly expresses his interest in anti-religious beliefs and as part of his Facebook bio, he says: “Religion insults human reason and conscience, duped me that I have another lifetime.”