Fuad Adeyemi, an imam in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, respects those who believe that a 22-year-old man accused of sharing a blasphemous message on WhatsApp should be punished. But he thinks the death sentence is too harsh.
He was referring to a ruling handed to Yahaya Aminu Sharif by a sharia court in the northern state of Kano in August. On the same day, the court sentenced a 13-year-old boy, Omar Farouq, to 10 years in prison, also for blasphemy.
The sentences caused an international outcry and sparked a broader debate in Nigeria about the role of Islamic law in a country roughly evenly split between a predominantly Muslim north and mainly Christian south.
“They should review the judgment … and reduce the punishment,” said Adeyemi, clad in a white robe and sitting on the concrete floor of a half-built Abuja mosque where moments earlier he had led more than a dozen men in prayer.
How two high profile blasphemy convictions sparked a debate in Nigeria over the role of sharia law and its compatibility with the country's constitution https://t.co/W3n2CoLbNn
— Alexis Akwagyiram (@alexisak) October 2, 2020