Fight Blasphemy Laws in Nigeria
Picture: Umar Farouk being taken from prison to a place of safety by AAI’s legal team.
Atheist Alliance International opposes all blasphemy laws. In Kano State, Nigeria, we have assembled a legal team to free Umar Farouk and Yahaya Sharif-Aminu; two Muslims who have been convicted of blasphemy. Sixteen-year-old Umar was sentenced to 10 years with menial labour, Yahaya was sentenced to death.
On appeal, Umar was acquitted but Yahaya was ordered to be re-tried in the same Shariah court that convicted him in August 2020. So we have appealed this decision and we will argue that the blasphemy law in Kano State is unconstitutional—Nigeria is a secular state that protects freedoms of religion, thought and expression. Blasphemy laws must be struck down.
Yahaya Sharif-Aminu in prison
With so many religions, we need more tolerance, not less.
Blasphemy laws are institutionalized intolerance.
Why Are Blasphemy Laws so wrong?
Mubarak Bala held in Kano state without trial since April 28, 2020 after complaints that a Facebook post insulted the Prophet.
they eradicate fundamental rights
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right in Nigeria. Blasphemy laws take this right away. They encourge intimidation and discourage the free exchange of ideas.
they do not keep the peace
Countries with harsh blasphemy laws (some have the death penalty) have more blasphemy-related violence than countries with no blasphemy laws..
innocent people suffer
Blasphemy laws allow a malicious person with an accomplice to falsely accuse his enemies.
they protect bad leaders
Blasphemy laws can be used by religious leaders to shut down fair criticism.
What Can AAI Do?
AAI’s legal team in Kano awaiting decisions on Umar Farouk and Yahaya Sharil-Aminu’s appeal against their convictions for blasphemy.