Mubarak Bala

President of Nigerian humanists, Mubarak Bala, arrested on ‘blasphemy charge’

April 29, 2020

Humanist Society Scotland has expressed severe concerns for the president of its sister organisation – the Humanist Association of Nigeria – after he was arrested for ‘blasphemy’.

Headshot of Mubarak Bala in 2014
Mubarak Bala in 2014

Mubarak Bala was arrested on 28 April by two police officers who took him from his home. According to local sources his arrest could be in connection with a charge of blasphemy for his activities on social networking sites. There is international concern that if the charge is confirmed and he is found guilty, Mubarak could face the death penalty.

Mubarak Bala is well-known within the global humanist community after he was detained in a psychiatric ward on the grounds that he was an atheist. With the support of Humanists International and its members including Humanist Society Scotland, Mubarak was freed on 3 July 2014.

Leo Igwe, founder of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, said:

All of us at the Humanist Association of Nigeria are deeply worried by the arrest and detention of our president, Mubarak Bala.

Mubarak will likely be handed over to the Kano state police command, that will prosecute him for blasphemy, a crime that carries a death sentence under Sharia law. We urge the Inspector General of Police, the governor of Kaduna, Mallam Elrufai to ensure his immediate release.

Leo Igwe, Humanist Association of Nigeria

Fraser Sutherland, Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland, said:

We are extremely concerned for the welfare of Mubarak and for the freedom of humanists in Nigeria as a result of this arrest. We will do everything we can to support our partners at the Humanist Association of Nigeria and Humanists International to release Mubarak as quickly as possible.

This case comes just days after the Scottish Government announced legislation that would repeal Scotland’s common-law offence of blasphemy and underlines the much-needed campaign to rid the world of unjust blasphemy laws around the world.

Fraser Sutherland, Humanist Society Scotland

Gary McLelland, CEO of Humanists International, commented:

News of Mubarak’s arrest is of serious concern to the international humanist community. Mubarak is a well known and hugely respected activist.

We are working with our Members, Associates and Supporters to coordinate a global response to have Mubarak freed.

Gary McLelland, Humanists International

Latest Related Stories

A view of the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room at the UN headquarters in Geneva. Circular rows of desks are arranged on the floor but most of the picture is taken up by the ceiling artwork, a textured sculpture in a blue, green, orange, and yellow colour wash with stalactite like formations handing down from it.

We tell UN human rights committee that compulsory religious observance in Scottish schools must end

We tell UN human rights committee that compulsory religious observance in Scottish schools must end
Alice stands on a street wearing a white dress with leather jacket. She has dark pulled back hair and holds her hand to her head. A scottish street stretches away in the background.

Humanist Society interview series: Alice Murray of Back Off Scotland on abortion clinic harassment

Humanist Society interview series: Alice Murray of Back Off Scotland on abortion clinic harassment
Portrait photo of Tony who wears an aviator jacket and adjusts a brimmed hat (perhaps a panama or fedora type hat, with a feather in the band) while smiling at the camera. He wears glasses and a snood.

Humanist Society interview series: board member Tony Khan on claiming asylum and finding strength in adversity

Humanist Society interview series: board member Tony Khan on claiming asylum and finding strength in adversity
Recep Erdogan speaks into a microphone at a press event infront of a blue backdrop with large white text on it (illegible). He has short greying black hair swept to one side and a moustache. He wears a blue suit and tie.

Humanist Society speaks out on Humza Yousaf’s invitation to Scotland for Recep Erdoğan

Humanist Society speaks out on Humza Yousaf’s invitation to Scotland for Recep Erdoğan