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Leo Igwe — Religions And Persecution Of Nonbelievers In Africa | GalantNaija

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Religion

Leo Igwe — Religions And Persecution Of Nonbelievers In Africa


Posted By:
 on  June 14, 2021 - DROP COMMENT

Religions And Persecution Of Nonbelievers In Africa By Leo Igwe

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has, in a recent document, highlighted a critical aspect of humanism and religion in Africa-conditions of nonbelievers in the region.

The document outlines challenges that Africans who do not identify with any religion face on the continent.

It shows that while the number of those who identify as atheist, agnostic, freethinker, humanist, or secularist in Africa is growing, there are pervasive governmental restrictions and societal discriminations in various countries.

This situation has made it difficult to measure and determine the number of nonbelievers. Persons who do not identify as religious lack legal protection, suffer political isolation and social intolerance. African states do not accord nonbelievers their full human rights.

The document reveals that the demographics of nonbelievers are in single digits except in Mozambique and South Africa. But that should not surprise anyone. Few organizations for nonbelievers exist on the continent because there are limited spaces for advocacy of nontheistic views.

The factsheet contains some instances of harassment, threats, and persecution of non-religious believers. For instance, Said Djabelkhir, founder of the Cercle des Lumières pour la pensée libre (Circle of Enlightenment for Free Thought) was given a prison sentence and a fine for criticizing Islamic rituals and mocking the prophet Muhammad.

In Nigeria, the president of the Humanist Association, Mubarak Bala, has been imprisoned without charge. The police arrested him following a petition that he made a Facebook post that allegedly insulted the prophet of Islam. In Sudan, the authorities arrested Mohamed Salih for changing the status on his identification card to nonreligious.

But a judge declared that he was mentally unfit to stand trial and subsequently released him. This factsheet also highlights the persecution of nonbelievers in Uganda, Egypt, Tanzania, Somalia, and Kenya.

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