Free Speech

"Nigerian Singer Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

From BBC:

Protesters had burnt down [the] family home [of the singer, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu,] and gathered outside the headquarters of the Islamic police, known as the Hisbah, demanding action against him.

Critics said the song was blasphemous as it praised an imam from the Tijaniya Muslim brotherhood to the extent it elevated him above the Prophet Muhammad….

The last time a Nigerian Sharia court passed a death sentence was in 2016 when Abdulazeez Inyass, was sentenced to death for blaspheming against Islam during after a secret trial in Kano.

He was alleged to have said that Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniya sect, which has a large following across West Africa, "was bigger than Prophet Muhammad." …

It appears unlikely, based on the story, that the death sentence will be carried out, but Sharif-Aminu is in detention and in hiding.

Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.

NEXT: California Voters Will Decide Whether They Want To End Cash Bail Once and for All

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Well….there you go….

    Insert commentary here.

    1. Something, something, religion of peace, yada, yada…

      1. . . . yada, yada . .

        You were saying?

        1. 500 years ago. You were saying?

          It’s 2020 now, in case you are too fucking stupid to realize that. Fucking moron.

  2. Perhaps the future of US law, for people who blaspheme against holy Wokeness.

    1. No the Bernie Bros already have a plan for that. They will put you in gulags and other re-education camps. Presumably you will be given a “chance” to turn over to the dark side before any death sentence is enacted.

      1. Why go to the expense of gulags? Just cancel us…totally. We become ineligible for government services (no Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security…no public assistance at all). We become non-entities and we will just wither away (like the state is supposed to after true communism is achieved).

        1. I’m sure that is later on in the Bernie Bros Solution Book.

          1. And no, it wasn’t Demolition Man.

            1. whoops, comment to reply too, meant it to be the one below.

        2. I saw a dystopian sci-fi movie once, years ago, and I can’t remember the name, that had a premise like that. The gov had all sorts of 1984 types of rules/power, but one could “opt out” as a sop to contract theory of gov’t. Of course, by opting out you had to forgo all gov’t benefits, still took it’s taxes, and the gov’t took steps to preclude the formation of alternate pathways to respond to the forgone benefits. Those who wanted to be free, lived poor in the warrens and died on the street w/o medical care, etc., which, of course, drove people to accept the 1984 style rules.

          Actually, now that I think about it, that kinda sounds like the public school system.

  3. I stopped believing in God probably about 25 years ago, primarily because I just didn’t see any evidence for it. One of the minor reasons for my skepticism is that if you are God, how do you simply stand idly by and watch all the crap that gets done in your name? If someone were killing people in my name, or even just being nasty to other people in my name, I think I would say something.

    Meanwhile, I recall the prayer of the late, great Mike Royko: “God, please do not send us any more religion; I don’t know how much more religion we can stand.”

    1. Certainly the belief in a benevolent God who intervenes in human affairs seems quite silly given the evidence.

      On the other hand, one could posit other sorts of gods. E.g., a creator or force that started the process but does not intervene; Descartes’ evil genius who enjoys torment; Spjnoza’s God as a web of causal relationships upon which the universe is built, etc.

      1. Dilan, I would frame the question like this: The universe is governed by forces (gravity, electromagntism, strong and weak nuclear, plus probably others we don’t know about). Is there one supreme, overriding force that governs all of them, and if so, does it have consciousness. If the answers to both of those questions is yes, then it’s probably God we’re talking about.

        However, until someone comes forward with some actual evidence for that proposition, I remain skeptical.

        1. Here’s a typical answer why you won’t receive that answer. Let’s say there is a super smart self aware ant colony in a field somewhere. You decide to build a house in that field. You buy the plot and sign with the architect and they work out the steps to make you a new home. You would never bother to take a time to speak to the ants and ask them their feelings about destroying their home to build yours.

          Note, this logic about why a being that exists outside of time that created the universe won’t bother to give you a private revelation about his existence, is also the same logic that some folks use as an answer to the Fermi Paradox.

          1. Yes, I read a whole shelf of books on Christian apologetics on my way out of the faith just to be sure I hadn’t missed something, and I’ve already seen that one.

            If God exists, and has the same lack of concern for me and my welfare that I would have for an ant colony, then he’s basically irrelevant to my life and I don’t need to worry about him. He doesn’t care about me so why should I care about him?

            Now, is that the God you want to go with? Because that concept of God sounds a lot more like Voltaire than Jesus.

            1. Well, the underlying problem with the ant colony premise, which is that the analogy somewhat falls flat, is that the same being who presumably wants to build a house also created the field.

              Still, let me ask you, what makes you so special, that a being who created the universe will take the time to say “hi”, and why do you feel put out that it doesn’t such that you don’t believe such a being exists?

              1. I don’t disbelieve because I feel put out. I disbelieve because I see no evidence. If I could choose for God to exist or not, I would choose for God to exist. So stop trying to psychoanalyze me (which you stink at, by the way) and show me some evidence.

                If God exists, is she obligated to show me proof of her existence? Of course not. But in the absence of proof of her existence, why would I be expected to believe?

                1. If you aren’t put out, you’re not making a good show it of it. I presume you spent a lot of time reading those apologetics. Moreover, you make quite the effort to trumpet your atheism, even when you have to shoehorn it in like in this thread. You could have just as relevantly commented how nice it is to have a 1st Amendment when the subject of blasphemy is brought up.

                  And that’s just the point, you see, that your solipsism is what drives your atheism.

                  1. The subject of this thread is a bunch of religious nutters wanting to kill someone who disagrees with them. It’s hardly shoehorning to suggest that rationality might be an improvement.

                    And I don’t think solipsism means what you think it means either. In fact, as a general matter, you seem to have jargon down pat without actually understanding most of the concepts.

                2. “I disbelieve because I see no evidence.”

                  It’s called “faith”.

                  1. And what, pray tell, distinguishes faith in the existence of God from faith in anything else for which there’s no evidence? Is belief in God entitled to more respect than, say, faith in phrenology, and if so, why?

                    1. “Is belief in God entitled to more respect than, say, faith in phrenology, and if so, why”
                      Phrenology is disproven

                    2. Phrenology was an illustration. The underlying question is whether belief in God is entitled to more respect than belief In anything else foe which there’s no evidence. And if so, why.

              2. “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
                Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
                Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
                Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” — Epicurus

                1. I believe the argument is that God allowed for people to have free will. So, He is able, but unwilling.

                  If there is a God, I would say that “Chuck” from Supernatural is probably the best bet. Or a higher dimensional being who may or may not exist within the physical framework of our own universe.

          2. Note, this logic about why a being that exists outside of time that created the universe won’t bother to give you a private revelation about his existence

            I have never claimed that any such being is required to give me a private revelation. On the other hand, there’s no such logic where any such being is entitled to worship either.

    2. You’re not the first to use free will (or it’s lack for that matter) as a justification to not believe in God. Which is very ironic because if I recall correctly, you’re the Sam Harris fan who doesn’t believe in human free will.

      1. Sorry, I’m not seeing what free will has to do with this discussion. I don’t see either free will or the lack of free will as being evidence one way or the other for God’s existence.

        1. Look up the “Paradox of Free Will”. Even the Wiki article will suffice.

          1. I’m well familiar with the free will paradox; I was raised a Calvinist. I just don’t see what it has to do with this conversation. My argument is not why does God allow people to do bad things. My argument is why, if God exists, does he allow his name to be slandered and blasphemed by people who do bad things in his name.

            Suppose I’m contemplating a murder and you have the power to intervene. You may choose to intervene, or you may not, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that if I tell everybody in sight that mad_kalak told me to do it, chances are good you’d publicly contradict me. Because even if you don’t care about the murder, you at least care about your own good name.

            1. If you can’t see how free will applies, than you must have been a particularly ill catechized Calvinist, and are likewise are particularly ill “catechized” atheist as well. The applicability of your murder parable makes zero sense to me likewise.

              1. Depends on what form of election you as a Calvinist believes in or you think is supported by doctrine.

              2. No, you’re imputing to me an argument I have not made. I have not claimed that free will, or the lack of it, is evidence for the existence of God one way or the other. Free will could have evolved, or not; free will could have been created, or not. And in any event, that was not my original point.

                My original point was that when people do all these terrible things in the name of God — whether they’re acting out of free will or not — why doesn’t God correct the misperception that he’s the one telling them to do all those terrible things? (Unless, of course, he is the one telling them to do all these terrible things, in which case my entire premise is mistaken.)

                1. When one is an omnipotent being my guess is they don’t have to care about their reputation so that he can hang with the cool kids after school. So I don’t think he is bothered by it one bit.

                2. “why doesn’t God correct the misperception that he’s the one telling them to do all those terrible things?”

                  Perhaps s/he already has. I certainly don’t have that misconception that God is telling these people to do these things.

            2. You’ve got at implicit assumption in your counter-evidence that God has human characteristics, specifically pride and vanity (“care about your own good name”).

              It’s a good argument against the traditional God of Judaism/Christianity that is jealous, made man in his own image,etc. But it’s not a good argument against some supreme being like mad_kalak suggests that isn’t driven by human motivations and has more important issues to deal with than your opinion.

              1. Which takes us back to, if he doesn’t care about my opinion, then how is he relevant to my life? Like the Queen of England, she doesn’t care about me, and I have no reason to care about her.

                1. Just because s/he doesn’t care about your opinion, or is willing to let you believe what you want, doesn’t mean s/he doesn’t care about you.

                  1. And what, pray tell, distinguishes faith in the existence of God from faith in anything else for which there’s no evidence? Is belief in God entitled to more respect than, say, faith in phrenology, and if so, why?

                    1. Sorry for the duplicate comment.

                      Apparently he doesn’t care enough to actually offer evidence of his existence.

                  2. “Apparently he doesn’t care enough to actually offer evidence of his existence.”

                    Except for all the times s/he did.

                    1. Name one

    3. If you read the Bible or any of the “major three” religious texts, it is fairly obvious that God is not benevolent, does not actively monitor his creation, and when he “cares” about something you better hope you are on his right side or it gets very nasty very quickly.

      1. Do you judge a movie by the beginning or the end? If you judge Jaws by the beginning, it’s got a different meaning than if you do not watch to the end. Christianity, with it’s central premise of God’s love and caring about your personal salvation, is different markedly from the Old Testament.

        As for Islam, I agree. But what is the 3rd “major religion” for you? By the numbers it’s Hinduism or maybe Buddhism. If so, then your analysis is mostly irrelevant due to their written dogma, such as it exists without monotheism to start with, is not being written in a way that you can make that case.

        1. That really isn’t the central tenant of Christianity. It is a portion of it, but to get there it isn’t that simple. “Jesus in Love” is some guitar strumming evangelical stuff which isn’t exceptionally accurate. Great way to sell Church. Not exactly what Jesus envisioned though when he seeded the New Covenant.

          1. The central tenets of Christianity are fairly explicit, it’s the Apostles Creed. But if you boil it down, it’s John 3:16, that God so loved the world, he gave his only son. It’s all about love.

            Please, I’m not saying it’s Buddy Jesus. Don’t make my argument something it’s not. The NT can be fairly harsh in other ways, specifically how it’s noted how believers will have to suffer in their believe and what will happen to those who work evil.

            1. The central tenets of Christianity depend on whom you ask, and when you ask them. Christianity is not a monolithic whole in which everyone thinks alike. To the contrary, you would be hard pressed to find one single doctrine on which all Christians everywhere, both past and present, are in agreement.

              1. If there is one thing that the denominations agree on as the central dogma of Christianity, quibbles about what portions of it mean in practice aside, it’s the Apostles’ Creed. You’re being disingenuous.

                1. I’m not being disingenuous. If you took the apostle’s creed, line by line, you would find Christians who don’t agree with this or that part of it. Including some who go to churches where it is recited every Sunday.

                  1. Indeed, now you’re being gnostic AND disingenuous.

                    Moreover, you’re making a logical mistake in saying that the beliefs of Christians must be identical otherwise there isn’t a core set of beliefs. That’s like saying all football fans have to like the same teams else they aren’t football fans.

                    1. I don’t think gnostic means what you think it means. If we’re talking theology, gnosticism has a specific meaning that doesn’t apply here.

                      No, Christians don’t have to be identical, but my point is that you would be hard pressed to find any belief that all Christians share today, and certainly none that all Christians have shared at all times. Name any point of doctrine — any at all — and I’ll find you Christians who disagree with whichever position you take.

            2. Christianity is not John 3:16. God gave his Son to give humans a chance (previously they had none unless they were the Chosen People and followed the Old Covenant.) Jesus set up a whole system based upon God (presumably) telling him to do so.

              1. I never said it was all that it was, even though, the very reason for Christ’s coming to earth, etc. was Godly love as pointed out in that verse; which is why the religion of Christianity was created in the first place.

                By pointing out that verse, that one of the central beliefs in Christianity was that God loved the world and the people in it, I showed that not all three major religions in the world had a belief in a God that was a watchmaker or malign as was asserted above.

                1. God loved humans enough to give them a chance. That chance are Jesus. The Jesus made some rules, a lot of rules. God’s “love” = Jesus. Previously to that humans had no pathway to salvation (save the Chosen People IF and ONLY IF they followed the Old Covenant.) His “love” was decided his creation should not be uniformly damned and at least deserve a chance.

                  1. That’s an orderly somewhat Protestant summation on the subject. I take no real issue with it. Thanks.

          2. Being a textualist about the Bible, or any religious text, ignores basically all the important bits.

            1. Being a textualist? That’s an wrongly applied label if ever there was one.

              Taking the whole Bible in context about a coming savior and what they believe did Jesus, is what predicates the usual Christian believe that, if forced to, you can sum it up in John 3:16.

              1. I thought I was replying to Jimmy’s If you read the Bible or any of the “major three” religious texts,.

                You and I agree on this, I think. Different Christian sects can differ widely on their theological view, even as they all fervently read from the same book.
                Heck, as Unitarian I read from the same book and get no trinity in there.

                1. Why does it not surprise me you are Unitarian…?

        2. “But what is the 3rd “major religion” for you?”

          I would assume he is referring to Judaism, Christianity and Islam as the “major three”, at least in the given context. They are 3 different religions with common roots.

    4. “I stopped believing in God probably about 25 years ago”

      Do you want a cookie?

      1. No, I want public policy and private lives to be governed by reason rather than superstition. I’d also like to win Powerball. Both are about as likely.

        1. Your “reason” is as arbitrary as one man’s “superstition.” You do realize that don’t you?

          1. God can neither be proven or dis-proven. Its belief either way.

            1. So is reason.

              1. Read more Kant.

              2. Reason comes with some checks and balances that religion doesn’t. They don’t always operate perfectly, but at least they’re there. If I’m wrong about God not existing, there is a mechanism within my paradigm to prove it; if mad_kalak is wrong that God does exist, there’s really no way to prove that within his paradigm.

              3. Jimmy, try living your life for just one day as if reason is wrong. Let us know how that works out for you.

                1. Seems to work out for tons of people who live life through other value systems. I imagine it would end up OKish.

                  1. No, they fudge the results.

            2. Well, neither Santa Claus nor the Easter Bunny can be proven or disproven either.

              I can’t prove the negative. What I can say is that I don’t believe things with no evidence. Show me some evidence

              1. “I can’t prove the negative.”

                Right, you believe God does not exist, therefor He doesn’t.

                I do love how you think your trite arguments are some amazing insights.

                1. You still haven’t offered any evidence

                  1. Eyewitness testimonials?

                    1. Do I get to cross examine them?

                    2. No.

                    3. I’m an old trial lawyer. I’ve had enough experience with witnesses that I’d like to see the adversarial process in play before I commit myself.

                      Just as it is possible to believe that George Washington was an actual historical figure without believing he cut down the cherry tree, so it is possible to believe Jesus was an historical figure without crediting every tale in the Gospels.

                    4. You asked for evidence. I presented it as eyewitness testimonials.

                      You demand MORE evidence and the right to further interrogate the evidence….

    5. I never understood the nanny argument. why is God even of the Abrahamic variety obligated to storm in and immediately and directly and obviously fix all of mankinds problems for him and effectively render the concept of an earthly life pointless since effectively we’d be in heaven.

      1. Read Genesis. It is pretty clear that God decides to leave his creation to its own devices, but only after deciding that he won’t destroy all of it.

  4. No wonder the “South Park” creators have stopped doing promotional visits to Nigeria.

  5. Choose reason. Every time.

    Choose reason. Especially over sacred ignorance and dogmatic intolerance.

    Most especially if you are older than 12 or so. By then, childhood indoctrination fades as an excuse for gullibility, ignorance, backwardness, and bigotry. By adulthood — even ostensible adulthood — it is no excuse, not even in the most desolate backwater one can find.

    Choose reason. And education, tolerance, modernity, freedom, science, and inclusiveness. Avoid superstition, intolerance, insularity, ignorance, authoritarianism, dogma, and pining for good old days that never existed — not 50 years ago, not 2,000 years ago.

    Choose reason. Every time. Be an adult.

    Or, at least, try.

    Thank you.

    1. So when someone reasons that your positions are not conducive to logic or the human condition, what are you going to tell them AK?

      1. Choose reason. Every time.

    2. Lol talking snakes, virgin birth, rising from the dead what silly nonsense.

      Instead why don’t you believe that we have an infinite pile of money, Big cities like NY will be safer with no police, evolution suddenly stopped 100k years ago except for skin color and you can change from a man to a woman by wishing hard enough like rational scientific modern people!

      1. And you can make everyone wealthy just by taxing the rich some more.

  6. Only a white supremacist would rebuff a Shariah Law death sentence.

    1. Well to be fair I do think a white supremacist probably would point that out…

  7. Another vote for the religion of peace.
    I think we should allow hundreds of thousands of adherents of this religion into our country.
    No, on second thought we should let in millions of these people.
    What could go wrong?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.