SAN FRANCISCO – May 5, 2020 – PRLog — Black Skeptics Group Los Angeles, Black Nonbelievers, Inc., and Women of Color Beyond Belief unequivocally condemn the detention of Mubarak Bala, President of the Nigerian Humanist Association, and call for his release from police custody in Kano, Nigeria.
On April 28th, Bala was arrested at his home in Northern Nigeria, reputedly for making “blasphemous” comments about Islam, which carry a potential death penalty under Sharia Law. Throughout the African continent, African secularists disproportionately face harassment, discrimination, stigma, and vilification in traditionally religious African communities. According to African American secular organizers Sikivu Hutchinson, Mandisa Thomas, and Bria Crutchfield, “Expressing solidarity with African secularists is crucial for making the marginalized struggles of Black humanists and nonbelievers visible globally”.
Mr Bala is being targeted solely for his exercise of his rights of freedom of belief and freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and international and regional instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory.
The aforementioned African American secular organizations call on U.S. officials and global human rights organizations to take immediate action to urge Nigerian authorities to do the following:
· Clarify Mr. Bala’s legal status and his whereabouts, and release him, immediately and unconditionally, if he was not charged within the 24-hour time frame stipulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
· Grant Mr. Bala free and unimpeded access to his legal counsel;
· Transfer Mr. Bala to a neutral territory, such as Lagos, where it is more likely that he will receive a fair trial, if any trial against him were to take place;
· Guarantee Mr. Bala’s well-being and safety while he remains in detention, particularly in light of the many death threats he has received, and the increased risks posed to him as a prisoner during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Black Skeptics Group Los Angeles is a 501c3 community-based organization that provides social justice resources, educational initiatives and scholarships for African descent non-believers, humanists and secularists and communities of color.
Black Nonbelievers, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit fellowship headquartered in the Atlanta area that provides an informative, caring, festive and friendly community. The organization connects with other Blacks (and allies) who are living free of religion and might otherwise be shunned by family and friends. Instead of accepting dogma, Black Nonbelievers determines truth and morality through reason and evidence.
Women of Color Beyond Belief promotes visibility, awareness, and education for secular women of colour.