The Situation Of Ex-Muslims In Africa, By Leo Igwe

The article below was written by Leo Igwe, 9 July, 2014 for Sahara Reporters where he expresses his personal view on the religious situation and life of ex-Muslims in Nigeria by telling the story of a man,  Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian who renounced Islam and became an atheist. Statements made and opinions expressed in the article represent the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Naij.com. 

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Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian who renounced Islam and became an atheist; Photo Credit 6 News

Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian who renounced Islam and became an atheist is a clear indication of the precarious situation of ex-Muslims in the region. Bala is from the sharia state of Kano where Islamic theocracy rules. Bala’s renunciation of Muslim faith did not go down well with the family members. They thought he was out of his senses and forcefully took him to a mental hospital for treatment. Fortunately, Bala, managed to send some messages asking for help. He drew the attention of his friends to his predicament who responded by mobilizing local and international support.

Bala was eventually released from the hospital. However, he still lives in hiding and continues to fear for his life. Yes, Bala, we can say to some degree is free but other ex-Muslims in Nigeria, and in other parts of Africa are not. Ex-Muslims in the region live in bondage. Leaving Islam is like passing a death sentence on oneself. Ex-Muslims are invisible thanks to sharia law that rules in the minds and shapes the morals people in Muslim communities. Bala was lucky that some freethought and human rights groups got to know about his situation on time and came to his help. Other ex-Muslims are not that fortunate.

They suffer and die in silence without anyone’s knowledge. Should we allow this to continue? No, we should not. Ex-Muslims are tortured and abused with impunity. They are treated as persons without human rights. Ex-Muslims in Africa live anonymous life. They cannot openly identify themselves as ex-Muslims. They live in constant fear of their lives. Ex-Muslims are always worried that friends or family members might get to know that they have abandoned their faith in Islam-that they no longer believe in Allah or in the prophethood of Muhammed.

Ex-Muslims do not enjoy the right to freedom of religion or belief because there is no freedom of religion under sharia. Instead what obtains in sharia states is ‘unfreedom’ of religion or rather freedom to profess one religion, and that is Islam. Muslims are compelled to profess Islamic faith for life and forever. Renouncing Islam is apostasy. And apostasy is a crime punishable by death. Also the whole idea of family and community honour is defined on the basis of Islam. So, renouncing Islam is dishonouring the family and community. And dishonouring the family is a serious offence that could lead to the killing of the person who renounces Islam. Simply, any one who renounces Islam deserves no mercy. The person is treated without compassion.

Related: Witchcraft Accusations And Freethought In Africa By Leo Igwe 

The case of Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who was born to a Muslim father but raised by her Christian mother clearly illustrates this point. Ms Ibrahim married a Christian man from South Sudan. She professes Christianity. To avoid incurring ‘the wrath of Allah’, her family members reported her to the Islamic establishment and she was charged for apostasy. And in April, an Islamic court in Khartoum sentenced her to death by hanging. What this shows is that a person who is born to a Muslim father is bound to profess Islam even if the mother is of another religion. Anyone who is born to a Muslim father cannot change his or her religion, cannot renounce Islam. Renouncing Islam is on the pain of death. Somebody should tell me again that there is no compulsion in Islam. If there is no compulsion, people born to Muslim parents should be free to renounce Islam or convert to any religion of their choice without being persecuted.

Strictly speaking, in Muslim countries and communities, there are two places that ex-Muslims can be: in the closet or in the grave. Since the closet is not an actual space, one can say that there is one place an ex-Muslim can be in the grave. Under sharia, ex-Muslims do not have the rights to freedom of religion, freedom of expression and associations, and freedom of life. This has to change. We need to join efforts and improve the situation of ex-Muslims in Africa Secularists and human rights campaigners need to rise up to the challenge of promoting the human rights of ex-Muslims in Africa. The time has come for us to break the silence over the rights of apostates in the region.

We need to pressure African countries to take measures to uphold freedom of religion or belief as enshrined in their constitution particularly freedom to change one’s religion and freedom to renounce a religious belief. African states should be made to understand that freedom of religion makes no sense without respecting the rights of individuals to abandon Islam, profess other religions or no religion. There is no freedom of religion if a person is compelled to profess Islam because the father is a Muslim. There is no freedom of religion in countries where apostasy or blasphemy is a crime. African states must be made to understand that professing a religion is not inherited. Professing a religion is by choice not by the force of state or family. Professing or not professing a religion is a human right. The true test of states’ commitment to freedom of religion or belief is how they treat ex-Muslims, and whether they recognise the rights of those who renounce Islam or any other religion as human rights.

Let us work and campaign for the protection of the rights and dignity of ex-Muslims in Africa whether they live in sharia states or not. This is what African renaissance is all about.

3 Comments

  • Leo Igwe and his likes who spread islamophobic beliefs through writing have only one footing- Peoples’ Ignorance of the Pristine Islamic principles. Once people have the appropriate knowledge and understanding of the Islamic principles, the gimmicks of Leo Igwe and his fellow detractors of Islam would be exposed and they would have to cover their faces in shame. It requires smartness and a well-informed mind to see how these hodge-podge journalists and writers feed fat on the innocent public creating division and hatred.
    It is very salient for every reader to note that Leo Igwe is never an authority on Islamic discourse. He is very ignorant himself. How can he be taken seriously? If you dissect his write up surgically, you will understand how he came up with the title “The Situation Of Ex-Muslims In Africa”. He is such an opportunist premising on the singular case of one Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman. He quickly “googled” a similar case in Nigeria to come up with such an elephant project as his hurriedly compiled few lines of writing.
    Islam is a sovereignty and a civilization which is independent of any other systems of government. In fact, the only perfect guideline for all humanity. Islam has nothing to hide of its laws and no sane Muslim will ever be shy of the principles of Islam. Apostasy among other major sins in Islam (such as magic, sorcery, treasonable felony, incest, adultery et cetra) attracts a capital punishment. This is to dissuade people from corruption. It has nothing to do with the “rights” of the perpetrators. An apostate causes confusion among the weak believers and they cannot be tolerated on that account in an Islamic environment. The submission that “..there are only two places that ex-Muslims can be: in the closet or in the grave”, is only a myopic and insincere conclusion of the writer. There are millions of “ex-Muslims” living freely in Africa and other parts of the world.
    Even though these principles exist in Islamic parlance, they are rarely applied on the perpetrators as there are ideologically no completely Islamic state or country in the world at present. The closest we can get is Afghanistan and that is not a complete Islamic country. The majority of the so “Islamic states” do not practice the Shari’ah of Islam to the fullest. So these islamophobic tendencies must be discouraged. Islam is the only civilisation that can bring true PEACE to the world. And Before you raise your brow due to the media-brainwash information you’ve been fed with about Islam, listen to this:

    In EXODUS 22:20, the bible reports Jesus to have said and I quote:
    “You must KILL and DESTROY those who worship another god”.(Exodus 22:20)
    Also in the book of LUKE 19:27, Jesus was reported to have said:(Luke 19:27)
    “…Bring all my enemies who have refused to accept me, bring them here and KILL them in front of me.”

    This is never an attack on christianity, it is only a sincere comparison. Although these verses are right there in the bible, yet we do not hear them from pastors, bishops deacons e.t.c. Millions of Christians are unaware of these verses as i write and they have read the bible for many years. Nobody ever accuses Christianity of a foul play in respect of these but Islam is the one that must go to trial for having her own principles.
    Many other religions and civilisations of the world have their own dos and don’ts that attract capital punishments and those hypocrites saw no need to say: “Let us work and campaign for the protection of the rights and dignity of ex-Muslims in Africa whether they live in sharia states or not. This is what African renaissance is all about”.
    On the other hand, Islam says in Qur’aan 60:8 and I quote:
    ” … Be righteous and act justly towards those who worship other gods”. Q 68:8).
    Hence, unlike the bible and many other religious and constitutional books, Islamic calls for justice and fairness in all ramification. What is the crime of Edwin Snowden? Why does the US government want him dead? He exposed an injustice perpetrated by the US government. Many like him have been silently executed without public knowledge by many other governments of the world. So every civilisation has its boundaries of death, but only Islam boldly informs the public about hers. Ritualists and Ocultic people kill everyday and Leo Igwe and his allies do not see any reason to call upon the African renaissance to stop the madness!
    Finally, I would urge all Christians to go and think over the following biblical accounts and email me their responses. Thank you for your time.
    ABOUT GOD
    EZ 20:25 God says that he intentionally gave out bad laws. (This means that God-given laws or commandments are sometimes suspect.)
    EX 21:20-21 With the Lord’s approval, a slave may be beaten to death with no punishment for the perpetrator as long as the slave doesn’t die too quickly
    EX 12:29 The Lord kills all the first-born in the land of Egypt.
    NUM 31:17-18 Moses, following the Lord’s command, orders the Israelites to kill all the Midianite male children and “… every woman who has known man ….” (Note: How would it be determined which women had known men? One can only speculate. And I do not think God would order the killing of children)
    DT 7:2 The Lord commands the Israelites to “utterly destroy” and shown “no mercy” to those whom he gives them for defeat
    JS 10:10-27 With the help of the Lord, Joshua utterly destroys the Gibeonites.
    JS 10:28 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Makkedah.
    JS 10:30 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Libnahites.
    AND ALSO: JS 10:32-33, JS 10:34-35, JS 10:36-37, JS 10:38-39, JS 10:40, JS 11:6 JS 11:8-15
    JS 11:20, JS 11:21-23, JG 1:4, JG 1:6, JG 1:8 “All about destruction with the Lord’s approval” and this is contrary to what he told me about “The Lord”.
    1KI 22:23, 2CH 18:22, JE 4:10, EZ 14:9 God deceives some of the prophets.
    LE 27:29 Human sacrifice is condoned

    ABOUT JESUS CHRIST.
    MT 11:21-24 Jesus curses [the inhabitants of] three cities who were not sufficiently impressed with his great works.
    LK 14:26 One cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless he hates his mother, father, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and even his own life
    MT 10:35-36 “For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law a man’s enemies will be the members of his own family.”
    MT 10:21 “… the brother shall deliver up his brother to death, and the father his child, … children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
    RE 16:15 When Jesus comes again, he will come like a thief in the night so that those who do not have their clothes [on] will go naked and be shamefully exposed
    2CO 13:12 Greet each other with a holy kiss.
    1CO 11:14 It is a shame for a man to have long hair. (Note: Why is it, then, that most portrayals of Jesus show him with long hair?)
    1CO 3:18 Become a “fool” (for Christ) in order to become wise. (Note: A fool is still a fool.)
    MK 10:29, LK 18:29 A man who leaves his house, wife, brothers, parents, or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will receive special rewards

    2KI 6:29 “So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”
    IS 14:21-22 “Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers”.
    And that is not fair!
    EZ 23:34 “You shall … pluck out your hair, and tear your breasts.”
    GE 19:4-8 A group of sexually depraved men demands that Lot turn over to them his two male visitors. Lot offers his two virgin daughters instead.
    GE 19:30-38 Lot’s daughters have sexual intercourse with him while he is drunk and both become pregnant by their father
    NU 31:17-18 “… all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Note: How did they determine which girls were virgins, and what did they do with them after they kept them alive for themselves? This is not a pretty picture. DT 28:15, 30 If you do not obey the voice of the Lord, the Lord will cause another man to “lie with” your wife-to-be
    ABOUT JESUS CHRIST.
    MT 11:21-24 Jesus curses [the inhabitants of] three cities who were not sufficiently impressed with his great works.
    LK 14:26 One cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless he hates his mother, father, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and even his own life
    MT 10:35-36 “For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law a man’s enemies will be the members of his own family.”
    MT 10:21 “… the brother shall deliver up his brother to death, and the father his child, … children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
    RE 16:15 When Jesus comes again, he will come like a thief in the night so that those who do not have their clothes [on] will go naked and be shamefully exposed
    2CO 13:12 Greet each other with a holy kiss.
    1CO 11:14 It is a shame for a man to have long hair. (Note: Why is it, then, that most portrayals of Jesus show him with long hair?)
    1CO 3:18 Become a “fool” (for Christ) in order to become wise. (Note: A fool is still a fool.)
    MK 10:29, LK 18:29 A man who leaves his house, wife, brothers, parents, or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will receive special rewards
    MK 16:17-18 A believer can handle snakes or drink poison and not experience any harm.
    (Note: Many unfortunate believers have died as a result of handling snakes and drinking poison. This kind of assertion negates the Bible as a useful guidebook for life.
    MT 16:28, MK 9:1, LK 9:27 Jesus says that some of his listeners will not taste death before he comes again in his kingdom. This was said almost 2000 years ago.
    (Note: This passage and many others indicate that Jesus was to come again in a relatively short period of time and not just “quickly” as present day Biblicists assert. All of his listeners are now dead, yet Jesus has not come again in his kingdom. All of the alleged words of Jesus put forth in the Bible are therefore suspect.)

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