Nigerian boy Omar Farouq has been sentenced to 10 years for blasphemy by a Sharia court. Now the head of the Auschwitz Memorial is offering to serve part of the sentence, slamming it as “disgraceful” for humanity.
The head of the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland has urged Nigeria’s president to pardon a 13-year-old boy who was jailed on blasphemy charges — even volunteering to serve part of the prison term himself.
Piotr Cywinski urged Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the case of Omar Farouq. The teenager was accused of making blasphemous statements about Allah in an argument with a friend and was sentenced last month by a Sharia court in northwestern Kano state to 10 years in prison.
Cywinski said that if the president couldn’t grant Farouq clemency, then 120 adult volunteers, “myself personally among them,” should each serve a month in a Nigerian prison in the boy’s place.
As the director of the Auschwitz Memorial at the site of the German Nazi extermination camp, “where children were imprisoned and murdered, I cannot remain indifferent to this disgraceful sentence for humanity,” Cywinski said in the letter, which was posted to the memorial’s Twitter account.
The director of @AuschwitzMuseum wrote the President of Nigeria and asked him to pardon 13-year old Omar Farouq sentenced for 10 years imprisonment.
He declares he is ready to share part of the sentence.
Nigeria, with its population of 206 million, is deeply divided along religious lines. The majority of Nigerian Muslims live in the north while the Christians are concentrated in the south.
Blasphemy against Islam carries a death penalty in the 12 Nigerian states that apply Sharia law, although executions are rarely carried out. Some offenders have had their limbs amputated under the religious law.
The Auschwitz Memorial commemorates the victims of Germany’s Nazi forces at the Auschwitz concentration camp. More than a million people, most of them Jews, were murdered at the site during World War II.
The controversial but usually outspoken senior Islamic cleric addresses some torny political and religious issues in Nigeria. He explicitly asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria to stop trying to dominate other religions by forcing Islamic Sharia law on other religions in the country. He told him rather to focus on restructuring to usher in true federalism like it is practiced in the United States.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria recently called for the amendment of the Constitution to expand the scope of Sharia legal system. What do you think?
What I think we should do is to restructure Nigeria so that areas where Muslims are in the majority like Zamfara and Kano will have their system. Where Christians are more, allow them to have their way.
Law is what governs people and controls them. If there is Sharia law in Borno State, Boko Haram will end immediately because there will be nothing to agitate for. Saudi Arabia is running the Sharia system but that does not prevent them from developing. They have the best roads, hospitals and the latest technology.
They produce some of the highest number of PhD holders in all fields.
Restructuring Nigeria is the most important thing. Don’t talk about Sharia. Each state should have autonomy to do what suits the majority of its population. You cannot neglect religion. It is very potent. If it is used to manipulate the people, it becomes opium but if it is used strictly according to the scriptures, it is good.
In Islam, we are told that Muslims should love Christians. Clerics are not big-headed. Christianity inculcates humility. If your neighbor is a good Christian, you are safe. If your neighbor is a good Muslim, you are safe. A good Christian or a good Muslim will not chase your wife, he will not chase your daughter, he will not come home drunk, and he will not steal your money. We should not fight religion. We should rather embrace religion.
But it should be localized, not nationalized. Let states have their autonomy and rules. Muslim states that want Sharia should have it. If you do that, you will control crime. When Sharia was introduced in Zamfara, the crime rate was low. Go and check police records.
I do not think it is for the Chief Justice of Nigeria to prescribe anything, it is for the National Assembly to restructure Nigeria, but I do not think we have the right caliber of people in the National Assembly to do that. They are not intellectually capable of restructuring Nigeria. Restructuring should happen in the next dispensation. Nigerians should be wise enough to elect intellectuals into government. Three years is good enough for Christians, Muslims and other intellectuals to come together and work out plans. It is just a matter of time. This is a very beautiful country and we can make it what we want. It is time for us to restructure Nigeria.
Should restructuring include amending the provisions of the Constitution on Sharia to cover the whole nation?
Sharia has nothing to do with non-Muslims. Only the Sharia court can handle issues of inheritance for Muslims and not the conventional court. There has to be a way for an appellate court for Sharia cases. Once there is a law, there has to be an end. There should be an end to where the law can reach. If we restructure Nigeria to give every state autonomy, the country will be good. America is as diverse as we are, but the laws of the country are well-rooted. We need a federation like America where the states will have some form of independence.
Nigeria seems more divided now than ever before. What do you think is responsible? Is it politics or religion?
Politics is responsible. Religion unites mankind. If you remove Buddhism from India and China, for instance, there will be chaos. If you remove Christianity, there will be chaos and if you remove Islam, there will be chaos. Religion solidifies. It holds mankind in big blocks so that they can respect each other. Religion is spiritual even though religious leaders exploit people. But there is an extent to which they can go because the scriptures are there. It is all about morality. It is all about good neighborliness and compassion. Religion is never a problem but those who manipulate religion are. That is where the problem is. The division in the country is caused by the political leadership. We don’t have good leaders. We have leadership that still believes it is in opposition. It is structured to be opposing like critics. They are in power, but they still behave as if they are in opposition. I recently heard the Vice President saying they could not tackle poverty because of the past government.
You are in your fifth year of leadership, yet you still blame somebody for not turning things around? Adolf Hitler met Germany in utter disaster but, in a few years, Germany was producing machines to fight the world. It is leadership. The economy is dependent on leadership. We don’t have that. There is crime everywhere. We are spending wrongly.
Recently, President Buhari submitted a request to the National Assembly to borrow another $30billion. What does this portend?
They do not have priorities on development. They want a quick fix. They want to build edifices so that they can say ‘this is what we did’. This is not how an economy is run. Human development indices are very low in Nigeria. Mortality rate is high, and the standard of education is poor. If you train Nigerians, they will do what is right. Our budget for human development is very poor. We are spending where we should not spend because we want to impress.
Talking about education, the North is not making progress in terms of school enrolment. What do you think is responsible for this state of affairs?
Leaders are not investing enough in education. The budgetary allocation for education is low. Since the North has a problem in the education sector, state governments should invest more in education. They should get teachers from other places, improve the quality of teachers and build more schools. Things will turn around in a short time if proper attention is paid to education. We are not spending on education and we are not spending on health. What government needs to do is to create industrial agriculturists. We have arable lands. Government should assist people who want to embrace agriculture. When you give loan to small scale farmers, it does not help. What happens is that after getting the loan, instead of tilling the lands, they buy hajj tickets or marry more wives. They engage in bedroom farming, not real farming.
Prof. Ango Abdullahi recently said politicians and political system have failed Nigerians. Is theocracy an option?
Theocracy died several years ago. The papal authority used to send crusaders to the Middle East, but it turned out a disaster and the Pope lost his authority. Monarchs came out but they lost their authority. There is no more theocracy. In Islam, the caliphate was completely destroyed in 1924 and there are no more caliphates now. God cannot allow you to form a government under his cloak and you will be deceiving people. He will destroy it.
What is your reaction to the recent discovery of torture centres in the name of Islamic rehabilitation centres?
I have been to some of the centres. There was a wrong narration to the stories. Poverty and ignorance in the North have led to an explosion in the use of drugs. Men, women, and children are addicts and there are no government institutions that can handle such things. Out of necessity, families take their children to such centres with the hope that they will be restrained and rehabilitated. It is not a hospital where they can be treated, so they chain the addicts so that they will not harm anybody or themselves. It is the parents of some of these children that want them to be shackled. It is as a result of the absence of government. Government should provide rehabilitation centres to address this huge problem.
During the first four years of Buhari, you expressed disappointment with his performance. Is there any sign that there will be change?
Things have become worse. Look at the border closure. Look at the obsession with rice. This is a government that thrives on propaganda and it capitalizes on the ignorance of its supporters. Things are bad for the people. Court orders have no meaning in Nigeria now because government can ignore it.
Do you sometimes fear that Nigeria is heading towards dictatorship as some people claim?
Nigeria is too big. What I fear is a slide into anarchy. Government seems not able to handle anything. Boko Haram is too big for government. Violent herdsmen are too big for government to handle. All the money that is being borrowed, why can’t they improve the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC? They don’t want to make INEC work because they depend on rigging.
If you were to advise this government, what would you say?
This is a difficult question for me because if you beat a dead horse, will it run? The situation is terribly bad. People cannot feed. People cannot buy drugs. You can no longer trust even your driver to buy fuel for you. He would rather take part of the money to feed his family. Corruption is everywhere because of lack of leadership. We need a new crop of leaders in the country. We need people who are not stained by blood and corruption.
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +23481819650279, +32466100102
Shekarau, had in a statement on Thursday condemned the alleged demolition of the mosque and wondered why the Rivers state government would take such actions in a secular country like Nigeria.
The Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has carpeted the former governor of Kano state, Ibrahim Shekarau over his comments on the alleged demolition of the Rainbow Town mosque in Trans-Amadi area of Port Harcourt, the state capital.
In the statement personally signed by him, the former Kano State governor was much more perturbed by the declaration of Rivers State as a complete Christian state by Wike.
In his reaction, Wike noted that as a governor of Kano State, Shekarau introduced Sharia law and officially made the state a Muslim State. This action, according to Wike, was premised on the fact that over 95 per cent of Kano people are Muslims, adding that the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo did not stop him neither did Nigerians question his decision.
Speaking through his Aide on electronics media, Simeone Nwakaudu in an article, Governor Wike recalled, “In 2008, Kano State Government under the leadership of Ibrahim Shekarau demolished Christ the King Catholic Church.
“The Kano State Urban Planning Development Agency (KANUPDA) demolished the Church because the Church lacked Certificate of Occupancy. Shekarau’s Administration said the structure of the church at Na’ibawa in Kumbotso local government was removed, after serving them a notice, advising them to prove its legitimacy or removed the church.
“In November 2003, Shekarau sworn-in Hisbah, Zakkat, Sharia Commission Members to consolidate his declaration that Kano is a Muslim State. The establishments’ members were sworn-in at Sani Abacha Stadium after a bill was passed into law by the State House of Assembly for the creation of the establishments. These were agencies of Kano State that promoted one religion to the detriment of others,” the article read in part.
He went further to recall that Shekarau compelled all Christian girls in his State to wear Hijab. “Those who refused to wear hijab under the leadership of Shekarau were asked to withdraw and leave Kano State. He burnt books believed not to promote the Islamic religion”.
Wike stressed that his declaration that Rivers is a Christian State is a statement of fact, adding that well over 98 per cent of the indigenous population are Christians. He promised to continue to promote religious freedom and tolerance in the state.
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +23481819650279, +32466100102.
The Republican News was informed that a stripper performed in a night club wearing an Islamic head cover (hijab) at the FCT, Abuja, the capital of Nigeria and this prompted an unimaginable response from FCT Authority.
The Republican News was told that FCT authorities responded by demolishing the entire property valued at over 500million Naira.
How such action warranted such response in a secular country like Nigeria is something that bugles the minds of many Nigerians
Please don’t get me wrong, I do not subscribe to any form of religious insensitivity in a secular “federal arrangement” such as in Nigeria.
But by what authority or judicial pronouncement was that property destroyed?
Is there any law in Nigeria constitution or the FCT criminalizing nightlife or “stripping entertainment”?
Has Nigeria as a country become already an Islamic state under the current government that would warrant such abuse of the law in Abuja, which is not under Sharia law?
If the Minister got away with this, a very dangerous precedence is being set in Nigeria’s federal capital whose consequences would better be imagined.
Let’s hear your opinion.
Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +2348189650279, +32466100102.