IAA Advisory Board Member Arrested For Insulting the prophet - Call To Action
***Update April 29th, 10am PST
Our contact in Nigeria, Leo Igwe, told us he briefly spoke with Mubarak this morning but couldn't get anywhere as the guards took the phone from him. It is feared he is being moved to Kano state for trial. If he is moved there, he will likely be tried in sharia courts which means he faces death. The lawyers are petitioning to hold his trial in a more neutral area of Nigeria. The only way we can save him is by proving to the Nigerian authorities that the world is watching. Maybe then they will accept the request to keep him a neutral state. So, please sign the petition to prove how many eyes are on this: sign now.
Six years ago, our co-founder, Courtney Heard, helped launch the #FreeMubarak social media campaign after her friend, Mubarak Bala, had been committed to a psychiatric hospital for being an atheist. After getting the attention of major news outlets like the BBC, The Guardian, The AP and Vice, Mubarak was finally freed. In the time since, he has become a prolific humanist activist in Nigeria, helping the secular movement grow there. This morning, we got word that Mubarak has been arrested in Nigeria and this time, he’s being held for perceived insults to the Prophet Muhammad. We reached out to Mubarak’s colleague at the Humanist Association of Nigeria, Leo Igwe and he has informed us that they are looking for a lawyer tomorrow. In a statement on the CFI website, Leo said,
Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, has been arrested this afternoon in Kaduna in Northern Nigeria. Two police officers, who were not in uniform took him from his residence. He is currently detained at the Gbabasawa police station in Kaduna. According to local sources, his arrest could be in connection with a charge of blasphemy. A group of lawyers has petitioned the Kano state command to prosecute Mubarak for insulting Prophet Muhammad on his Facebook page. One S. S. Umar signed the petition. And this is how one Yusuf Jnr (@MrZage) commented on the petition on his tweeter account: “Some group of lawyers finally write a petition against that animal Mubarak Bala”. He described Mubarak as ‘an animal’.Besides, there is also an online petition on change.org. Halima Sa’adiya Umar started the petition asking Facebook to close down the account of Mubarak Bala. All of us at the Humanist Association of Nigeria are deeply worried by the arrest and detention of our president, Mubarak Bala. Mubarak Bala will likely be handed over to the Kano state police command, that will prosecute him for blasphemy, a crime that caries a death sentence under sharia law. We urge the Inspector General of Police, the governor of Kaduna, Mallam Elrufai to ensure his immediate release. Free Mubarak Bala Now Leo Igwe Ph.D Chair, Board of Trustees, Humanist Association of Nigeria Understand that this is personal for us. Mubarak is a valued member of our advisory board. He’s also a colleague and friend. This person takes compassion and selflessness to another level. When he was freed from the psychiatric ward back in 2014, we launched a second campaign to bring him to North America, where he would be safe from this sort of thing. He opted out of that, knowing that his activism was needed more in Nigeria. He stayed, despite the willingness of many people to fight for him to come here, and despite the danger he faced, because he knew someone had to do something to change the atmosphere in Nigeria. Mubarak Bala must be freed. We need to get him a capable lawyer and we need your help to do that. Even just a dollar will help pay for Mubarak’s legal representation in Nigeria. Please donate and if you can’t donate, please share this everywhere. We cannot and will not stand by while one of our own is arrested for simply not believing in a god. This is your chance to make a difference. Let’s do this. Let’s #FreeMubarakBala