Sharia Police Ban Protest in Nigeria – Brings Protestors to Global Notice

The Nigeria Daily Trust reports from the predominently Muslim area of Kano:

Hisbah, the Shari’a security outfit established by the Kano State government to enforce Shari’a in the state, has ordered the Association of Divorcees, Widows and Orphans to shelve its mass rally scheduled to hold on 29th of this month in Kano city.

…In an exclusive interview with Sunday Trust, hisbah deputy commander-general operations, Malam Aliyu Abubakar said the planned protest was not only against the injunctions of the religion, but would ridicule the esteem of the state in the eyes of the world.

He told our reporter that the decision to invite the leadership of the association for talks was to educate it on the ills of the planned rally as well as its implications on the morality and wellbeing of the people.

Doubtless the rally would have passed with a bit of attention in the local media. Instead, by banning the event the hapless Abubakar has now brilliantly ensured that the “esteem of the state” is “ridiculed” all over the world! The BBC has more.

The Hisbah has featured on this blog before; in  2006 the outfit launched a campaign against women riding taxi mopeds. Kano Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, meanwhile, is infamous for spreading hysteria against the polio vaccine, with the result that a number of children in Nigeria and elsewhere have been affected by the disease. In October he stated that he would be willing to spend the “whole treasury” of the state on implementing Shariah, and he declared himself to be a “religious hero.”

Some background to the reason for the divorced women’s protest is provided in a long Daily Trust article that appeared in December:

The Commissioner for Women Affairs in the state, Hajiya Maimuna Khalil, told our correspondent that the menace [of divorce] had reached such an alarming rate that government had now introduced drastic measures aimed attacking the growing cases and reducing them to the barest minimum.

“We found out that the increase in rate of divorce in the state is aided by the growing ignorance of Islamic rules concerning marriages; we found out that most of the people did not know what the religion says about marriage”, she said.

The commissioner also disclosed that some harmful cultural practices had, unfortunately, infiltrated into marriages so much so that people forgot their religious and moral obligations. She said as a result, the abuse of women’s rights had been on the increase and government was worried about the trend and determined to address it through collaboration with all stakeholders in the state.

The rising cases of divorce in the state has led to increase in drug consumption among women…The commissioner said among the factors responsible for the increasing instability in marriages is over dependence on men by women: “One of the factors, according to the findings of the recent study conducted by the committee set up to investigate the reason behind the increase in rate of divorce, has been the issue of over dependence on men. And if we are to critically tackle the root of the instability, then we have to find a way of empowering the women” she said.

The article mentions an organisation called “The Voice of Divorcees, Widows and Orphans of Nigeria”; perhaps this is the same as the Association.

On the Buses


Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle on Friday added his voice to the vocal — albeit small — chorus demanding the county strip controversial advertisements promoting Islam from Broward County buses.

..At issue — 50 Broward County buses, which for weeks have been driving with the following message plastered to their exterior: “ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.”

…Jewish activist Joe Kaufman, chairman of Americans Against Hate…said it implies Abraham, Moses and Jesus were Muslim.

You think so? Kaufman also objects that the adverts are paid for by CAIR, which he claims has links with Hamas. Naugle, meanwhile, has featured on this blog before – his efforts as mayor have famously included unveiling an anti-gay public toilet and inviting members of a particular church to patrol the streets in military uniform.


Adverts reading ‘The bad news is that God doesn’t exist. The good news is that you don’t need him’ were due to appear on vehicles on the streets of Genoa…

Cardinal [Angelo] Bagnasco was said to be ‘furious’ about the proposal and told his officials write to the bus company..He is said to have been ‘delighted’ when he was then given the news that at the last minute the campaign had been cancelled.

Apparently Genoa was chosen especially to annoy Bagnasco, who has compared homosexuality with pedophilia.


The posting of atheist advertising on Barcelona’s buses has been branded “an attack on all religions”.

Again we ask – you think so?

The campaign has provoked a reaction from the Catholic archbishopric of Barcelona. “Faith in God is not a source of worry, nor is it an obstacle for enjoying life,” it said in a statement.

“It is an attack on all religions,” said Javier Maria Perez-Roldan of the church’s Tomas Moro centre, blaming the socialist government for the privately funded campaign. “The government has created an atmosphere of belligerence.”

Perez-Roldán previously hit the headlines in 2007 with a call for some anti-religious pictures to be banned; I blogged him and the Centro Jurídico Tomás Moro here.

London, from Parliament:

Offensive advertisements on public transport
That this House notes that posters with the slogan ‘There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life’, appear on 800 buses in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the London Underground; notes that this causes concern to Christian and Muslim people, many of whom feel embarrassed and uncomfortable travelling on public transport displaying such advertisements and would not wish to endorse the advertisements by using that public transport; regrets that the British Humanist Association backs the campaign; and calls on Ministers responsible for public transport and advertising media to investigate this matter and to seek to remove these religiously offensive and morally unhelpful advertisements.

The British “atheist bus” campaign – actually a “strong agnostic” campaign – has brought worldwide fame for a certain Ron Heather of Southampton. A sample:

Ron Heather, natural de Southampton (al sur de Inglaterra), declaró a la BBC que se llevó un gran “susto” y sintió “horror” al ver este mensaje impreso en la parte exterior del vehículo debido a sus creencias cristianas,…Chauffeur Ron Heather hervatte maandag zijn werk, en kwam overeen met het busbedrijf dat hij zo veel mogelijk kan rijden in de bussen zonder de boodschap…Ma Ron Heather, 62 anni, conducente e fervente cristiano, colto da un dilemma religioso, si è rifiutato di guidare durante il suo turno un bus con tale scritta…Ron Heather fra Southampton reagerte med vantro og gikk fra jobben i protest da han oppdaget beskjeden som var klistret utenpå bussen han skulle kjøre…Január 10-én, aznapi munkájának megkezdésekor Ron Heather, meglátván a busz oldalán olvasható szavakat: „Valószín?leg nincs Isten. Ne aggódj, inkább élvezd az életet”, megtagadta a szolgálatot…Wie die britische BBC am Freitag meldete, sah Ron Heather bei Dienstantritt die Aufschrift “Es gibt vermutlich keinen Gott. Mach dir keine Sorgen und genieß dein Leben” auf seinem Bus…??? ????? (Ron Heather), ?? ???????????? (Southampton), ??????? “????????? ????” ??? ??????? ?? ??????????? ? ??????? ??????? ? ???? ????????…

(Florida link hat tip to Bulldada Newsblog)