Nigeria: sharia court orders death for blasphemy

A sharia high court in Nigeria on Jan. 6 sentenced cleric Abdulaziz Dauda and nine others to death by hanging for committing blasphemy against the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. The prosecution claimed that Duada, a preacher also known as Abdul Inyass, stated that the Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the founder of a rival sect, enjoyed a larger following in the region than Muhammad. The prosecution further asserted that Dauda and his disciples incited people to religious violence. The trial took place behind closed doors to avoid public protest.

Several mainly Muslim northern states in Nigeria introduced sharia courts into law after the country returned to civilian rule in 1999, and a version of sharia is practiced alongside Western-style justice.

From Jurist, Jan. 6. Used with permission.

NoteSheikh al-Islam Ibrahim Niasse (1900-1975) was a leader of the Tijani sufi order.

  1. Nigeria high court overturns blasphemy convictions

    The High Court of Kano State in Nigeria on Jan. 21¬†acquitted¬†a teenager sentenced to 10 years in prison, and ordered a fresh trial for a man sentenced to death after the convictions caused international outcry. A sharia court had¬†convicted¬†the two individuals in August last year. The defendants‚Äô lawyers argued that Sharia is incompatible with Nigeria’s secular constitution.

    Omar Farouq was convicted of blasphemy after he allegedly made disparaging comments about God while arguing with a friend. He was acquitted by the High Court because¬†he was a minor and had not received proper legal representation. Peter Hawkins, UN Children’s Fund representative in Nigeria,¬†stated¬†in September that Farouq’s sentence “negate[d] all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria‚ÄĒand by implication, Kano State‚ÄĒhas signed on to.”¬†Also in September, the director of Poland’s Auschwitz Memorial¬†volunteered with 119 others¬†to serve Farouq’s 10-year prison sentence, each volunteer offering to serve one month.

    Yahaya Sharif-Aminu was convicted of blasphemy for sharing a song on WhatsApp that supposedly elevated an imam from the Tijaniya sufi order above the Prophet Muhammad. He was sentenced to death. He was also not allowed legal representation at the trial in the sharia court. He will likely remain in custody until his fresh trial. (Jurist)