By Bright Ogundare

Bala Mubarak: A Beacon Of Sanity In A Society Of Insanity

On April 28, Bala Mubarak was arrested at his home in Kaduna after petitions were written against him by some Muslim lawyers over one of his posts on Facebook which they tagged blasphemous. He was then transferred to Kano State where he has been held without being formally charged to court for 5 months.

This arrest reflects the backwardness of the self-styled religious conservatives who are ready to defend the feelings of a supposedly immortal being from been hurt to the detriment and risk to the life of a fellow mortal. A supernatural immortal being rather than been helped by mortals to prevent hurt of his feelings will rather help mortals. Helping an immortal supernatural being fight blasphemy is logically blasphemy in itself as it affirms the helplessness of the supernatural being.

Furthermore, human rights such as freedom of speech must not be subjugated or sacrificed on the altar of religious beliefs for any society to develop. One of the hallmarks of any developed society is the ability to subject individual disagreements to critical debates. Arresting people for blasphemy contradicts this principle, a reminisce of a period in Europe where Galileo was convicted of blasphemy because he said the earth was round, development will therefore be stalled.

The arrest of Bala Mubarak by men of the Nigerian police force contradicts the idea that Nigeria is a secular state. A secular state must recognize the rights of everyone to their religious beliefs and encourage religious arguments to be settled through debates and not through force. Each religious group should be granted equal rights without infringing on the rights of others. If Christians and Muslims can spend huge financial and human resources to spread their religion sometimes using state apparatuses while denigrating other religious beliefs, why then does the state consider the Facebook post of a Humanist worthy of arrest.

The Northern region where Mubarak was arrested has been for the past decade under the scourge of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram, an Islamist group. Despite efforts to curtail the group and the billions spent, not much has been achieved as youths continue to join the organization. The arrest of Bala Mubarak for his religious dissent, while arrested or surrendered Boko Haram members are pampered by the state, shows that the Nigerian state is totally unserious with combating extremism and terrorism.

The war against religious terrorism is not only military but also ideological but the arrest of Mubarak shows that the system tactically supports terrorism even though it is fighting a war on terror. This is a trend that must urgently be reversed to win the war against terror. Freedom for people like Bala Mubarak is a resounding statement that extremism will not be pampered and in the process encourage civil liberty and critical thinking.

(c) Bright Ogundare 2020