If some people feel offended by a song and consider it as blasphemy to the extent of calling for the death of a fellow citizen, I think it should also be made known to them that we're offended by such beliefs. The belief that people should be killed to satisfy the law of blasphemy is ridiculous alone, but that it makes some people feel priggish, is evil. I feel tempted to think that some of the people that are supporting the blasphemy ideology in Nigeria may have been secretly supporting Boko Haram for doing what they cannot do by themselves. Perhaps, it is one of the reasons the insurgency in that area has lasted for this long.

The freedom of expression protected by the section 39(1) of the Nigerian constitution is the only "hope and tool of freedom for common people", and some of us will defend it, by all lawful means, regardless of our individual religious beliefs.

I have observed online in the past few days that most of the Northern Muslims (especially the seemingly educated ones) on Twitter and Facebook firmly believe and support the ideology that blasphemy equals death penalty even though Nigeria is a circular state and operates democracy.

Northern Nigeria is known for seemingly endless ethnic conflicts, killings, abject poverty and according to available data, more than 69 per cent of out-of-school children in Nigeria are in northern states where the blasphemy ideology is highly supported. Yet, it is uncommon for youths from that region to participate in protests organized against such social evils.

Any religious book "verses" that promulgate or support the killing of people in defence of God or doctrinal practices must be ignored by the people of this generation regardless of which religious book it is.

Religious books were authored, compiled and edited by human beings: It is a fact, and it is accessible to those who are interested in knowing. The mere fact that religious fanatics and people without critical thinking tend to make us believe they are from God or heaven ought to be taken with a pinch of salt.

A lot of the contents of all the religious books, that is, the Bible, Quran, Gita, etc., include historical writings, folklores, prophecies and a reflection of the culture of that time and the perception of their writers. Their contents are not uniform - just as we are also differently wired. Attempting to practice everything in any of these books in our generation would be barbaric, and it will bring inhuman treatments on vulnerable members of our society needlessly. We cannot progress much beyond the primitive societies if we insist on practising everything in all the religious books and beliefs they teach.

We need to be guided more by common sense, mutual human respect and our own formulated rules and regulations rather than absolute adherence to tenents that were written over a thousand years ago. It is high time we began to use our heads: human brains should not only be for simple things like scavenging for food and providing shelter. Unless you believe that the Creator made a mistake of making the brain and its abilities. 

It is morally wrong and cowardice for the Nigerian government to pardon Boko Haram terrorists that are responsible for killing hundreds of defenseless people, including children and women to look away when an Islamic court delivered a judgment sentencing a young singer to death by hanging for blasphemy. It is a confirmation of the impression that Nigerians gave empowers to a man who knows not what to do with it.

Finally, I want to use this opportunity to inspire the few critically conscious Nigerians both at home and abroad. We must continue to critique and challenge bigoted ideologies such as this, to re-educate the simple-minded majority until they have unlearned these archaic doctrines and beliefs that have continued to drive a wedge between us and kept us perpetually behind as a nation. 

 

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