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#FreeMubarakBala – TheHumanist.com

#FreeMubarakBala – TheHumanist.com
#FreeMubarakBala – TheHumanist.com

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Mubarak Bala

Please take just a moment to send words of support to Mubarak Bala, a humanist imprisoned in Nigeria for “blasphemous” social media posts.

In 2022, the Kano State High Court in Nigeria sentenced Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria and “outspoken advocate for Nigerian atheist rights and freedoms,” to twenty-four years in prison. The court convicted him of eighteen counts of causing public disturbance in connection with Facebook posts he is alleged to have made in April 2020 that were said to have insulted the Prophet Muhammad.

Mubarak Bala has undergone years of repression and hardship for his humanist beliefs, and today he remains imprisoned. Currently, a Nigerian Court of Appeals panel is set to review arguments and make a judgment in May. You can read the full details of his case here.

Unfortunately, Bala’s current imprisonment is not the first time he has experienced grave injustice for his personal secular beliefs: Humanists International reports that in 2014, Bala “was held against his will for 18 days in a psychiatric ward of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano, Northern Nigeria, after he was assessed as needing psychiatric help because he was an ‘atheist’. His father, formerly a senior member of the Islamic religious authorities, had orchestrated Mubarak’s detention, after Mubarak renounced Islam and declared himself an atheist. Bala was released due to a strike at the hospital which saw many patients discharged.”

Humanists International, of which the American Humanist Association (AHA) is a member organization, is closely monitoring Bala’s case and working tirelessly to support Bala’s liberation from imprisonment. Humanists International is encouraging supporters across the globe to send a message of solidarity to him and his family to give him strength for the challenges ahead.

Do your part in supporting a fellow humanist in need—take the time now to send a message of compassion and solidarity to Mubarak and his family.

The AHA is proud to join and support Humanists International in their work to #FreeMubarakBala. Here in the United States, the AHA is in close contact with Congress, the State Department, and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to ensure that Bala’s situation is uplifted and that the U.S. government maintains Bala’s plight as a top-of-mind concern.

The State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom has been steadfast in their commitment to advocating for Bala’s freedom. USCIRF, which for years has argued to classify Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern, ardently advocates for Bala, and specifically assigned USCIRF Vice Chair Commissioner Frederick A. Davie to his case. The Chair of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance—“a network of like-minded countries fully committed to advancing freedom of religion or belief around the world,” of which the U.S. is a member—released a statement expressing “grave concern at the ongoing imprisonment of Mubarak Bala.” Numerous advocacy organizations both in the United States and abroad continue to decry what is happening to Bala as a grievance and serious transgression against freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).

As humanists, it is our imperative to support a member of our community experiencing direct discrimination for his personally held secular beliefs. Join the campaign to liberate Bala: take a little bit of time to send a message of solidarity and support.

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