Justice for Mubarak Bala

It was with much sadness and surprise that the humanists in Jos, Plateau State received the news of the judgment handed to the President of the Humanists Association of Nigeria – Mubarak Bala by the presiding judge of a high court in Kano State.

Mubarak Bala is an ex-Muslim cum Atheist, who had denounced Islam sometime in 2014. He has since taken to social media to criticize some Islamic teachings and practices which didn’t sit well with some devotees. He was later arrested after being kidnapped from his home in Kaduna State on April 28, 2020, and taken to Kano State.

He was held incommunicado against his fundamental human rights for 706 days by religious fanatics in the guise of the Kano State government. He was denied bail and visit from his wife, son, friends, and well-wishers. His physical and mental health deteriorated from prolonged incarceration among other inhumane treatment he received while held in detention.

His case was once again heard on the 707th day of his incarceration and judgment was delivered on that same day, Tuesday, 5th of April, 2022. He was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment after he pleaded guilty – against the advice of his counsel and legal team – to 18 count charges bordering on blasphemous and inciting posts he made on his social media page(s).

You may now be tempted to execute the following pirouette: He shouldn’t have criticized or talked about other people’s religious beliefs and/or practices? But we have to admit that religious beliefs are mere ideologies that have been passed down for many generations. As such, when such ideas are challenged through criticism, people shouldn’t be killed or maimed or incarcerated or imprisoned.

And yet that is exactly the society we are living in. This is the woefully irrational world that religious fanatics and extremists are working so tirelessly to create.

It is terrible that we will all die and lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive.

Devout Muslims are as convinced as they could be that their religion is perfect and that any deviation or criticism leads directly to hell and every debate about public policy is subverted to the whims of ancient authors. This is a horrific misappropriation of our material, moral, and intellectual resources.

We, therefore, call on the Kano State government and the federal government to see to it that Mubarak Bala is freed from all religiously coated charges. We ask for justice for Mubarak Bala.

Humanists in Jos, Plateau State

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