Africa OP-ED Opinions 

Atheism And Virus Of Taqiyyah In Muslim Communities By Leo Igwe

Since the arrest and detention of Mubarak Bala, the atheist community in Nigeria has been afflicted by a more virulent form of Taqiyyah. Some Muslim individuals, who are seeking to fulfill imagined protective duties, have reached out to atheist and humanist organizations. These questers for this-worldly and otherworldly gains, desirers of Ummah capital, and transcendental mileage have been the prowl. Even before the arrest of Bala, Taqiyyah Muslims were there. Taqqiyyah lurked in the underground atheist movement and is linked to Bala’s arrest, the outing of atheists, and a  clampdown…

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Africa OP-ED Opinions 

Religion And Contempt For Humanity By Leo Igwe

While there has been so much emphasis on how religion is a resource for human nourishment and enrichment, there has been limited conversation on the harmful and deleterious effect of religion on human beings. Religion has notedly inspired acts of love, kindness, compassion, and fellow feeling. Religion has motivated people to do so much good and render selfless services to other humans. At the same time, religion has been a force of unimaginable evil and harm. Faith in God(Allah) has compelled human beings to abuse, kill, kidnap, pillage, and destroy…

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OP-ED Opinions 

Blasphemy Is A Right, Not A Crime By Leo Igwe

The arrest of Nigerian Humanist, Mubarak Bala, has generated heated debate on the issue of blasphemy on various platforms. Opinions are divided regarding the status of contempt of religion and how alleged blasphemers should be treated. In this piece, I draw attention to a perspective that analysts often overlook-that blasphemy is part of everyday discourse. People indulge in one form of blaspheming or another. Contempt of religion is part of the universe of faith and belief. I suggest that it is utterly senseless for some religious believers, Muslims in this…

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OP-ED Opinions 

Nigeria: Free Thyself By Leo Igwe

The arrest and incarceration of Mubarak Bala has compelled a review of the role of religion, in this case Islam, in governance, in Nigeria’s nation building and development. I did not know Mubarak Bala until 2014. Then I was studying for my doctorate in Germany. Before leaving for my studies, I knew a few ex muslims who were part of the Humanist Association. From interacting with them. I understood how dangerous it was to be an atheist or an ex muslim in Northern Nigeria. I am from southern Nigeria, in…

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OP-ED Opinions 

Bala’s Facebook Posts And Allegations Of Racism By Leo Igwe

Something is strikingly absurd in the petition brought against Mubarak Bala. That his said posts were forms of racist and xenophobic attack. Racist and xenophobic attack? Did the petitioners look up the meaning of these terms in a dictionary before using them? They said: “It should be noted that Mubarak’s characterization of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a terrorist follows that his followers, The Muslims, are also terrorists” Does it follow? The petition further states: “and this is a racist and xenophobic attack within the meaning of section 26(1)C of the…

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OP-ED Opinions 

Mubarak Bala: Facebook Posts And Limits Of Religious Freedom By Leo Igwe

While waiting for the police to formally charge or release Mubarak Bala, it is important to critically examine a key proposition in the complaint filed against him at the Kano State Police Command.  This is necessary to understand the intent and motivation of the petitioners as well as implications for religious freedom in the country. The complainants claimed that Mubarak Bala made comments on Facebook that were “provoking” and “annoying” to Muslims.  Meanwhile, Nigeria is not a Muslim country. Nigeria is a nation of Muslims and non-Muslims. The petitioners alluded…

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OP-ED Opinions 

Confronting Jihadist Narratives And Islam-based Phobias In Nigeria By Leo Igwe

Introduction While there has been much talk on insulting the prophet of Islam, there has not bpeen enough focus on Islam based phobias, that is, strands of hatred that draw from Islamic beliefs and practices, texts, and traditions. In this piece, I use the story of Gandoki and some verses from the Quran to highlight some jihadist narratives and phobias. At a time of heated debate over the alleged blasphemous Facebook posts of Mubarak Bala, I argue that imputations of insulting the prophet of Islam are being used to deflate…

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OP-ED Opinions 

Police: Charge Or Release Mubarak Bala By Leo Igwe

It is a month today since the police arrested Nigerian atheist, Mubarak Bala. It is still difficult to comprehend how the police had in the past four weeks connived with the petitioners to deny Mr. Bala his basic human rights. The petitioners and their sponsors have been in a triumphant mood, celebrating the arrest and illegal detention of a person who committed no crime. What was his alleged offense? He made a post on Facebook that was critical of the prophet of Islam. And nothing more! Since the arrest of…

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Lifestyle Nigeria West Africa 

AFAW Rescues Man Accused of ‘Stealing’ Destinies of People in Nigeria

On May 5, an associate of the Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AFAW) drew attention to the case of a man who was accused of ‘holding’ the destinies of people in the community, Ugbelle. Ugbelle is in Ideato South (not Ideato North as earlier reported) in Orlu, Imo state. The man was alleged to have engaged in some occult activities that had hampered the progress and development of people in the community. A photo that was circulating on social media showed an elderly man, probably in his seventies surrounded by a…

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OP-ED Opinions 

Atheist Sallah Message To Muslims By Leo Igwe

I am writing to extend warm greetings to all Muslims across the country on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr, being aware this message may come as a surprise to many of you. But it should not, especially for those who understand the history of humanism and atheism in the country. Humanism is not against Islam. Atheists are not against Muslims. Almost all members of the humanist/atheist community are very well versed in Islamic, Christian and various other religions. Most of us have religious ties. We have connections to Muslims; as friends…

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