Nigeria's Ugly Pageant
by Sh. G. F. Haddad


The death fatwa that lead to the current riot in Nigeria was issued by a group in the northern Muslim rural state of Zamfara but was not endorsed by the Muslim authorities of Nigeria nor its federal government. The newspaper (now torched) that published the article that caused the fatwa has made several apologies that were accepted by the main Muslim body in Nigeria, the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. The newspaper editor is under arrest, perhaps for his or her own safety.

The journalist who wrote the offending remarks is a 20-year old woman fashion writer bearing a Christian name. Her suggestion that the Prophet Muhammad upon him peace, would have approved of the Miss World pageant and might have wanted to marry a contestant, is in the poorest taste but does not warrant a death sentence. She apparently has a very high opinion of beauty pageants and a big mouth. (After all, this was to be Nigeria's biggest showbusiness event ever. It was originally slated for the 25th of Ramadan!)

A rebuke, a firm protest, her public apology would have been enough. In truth the Zamfara State authorities acted more recklessly than she did and amply deserve a counter-fatwa. The charge? Complicity in the international campaign aiming to cast Islam as an inane bloodthirsty cult so the world is distracted from its real bullies.

Gone are the images of African Muslim communities protecting Christians from the massive inter-tribal massacres in Rwanda/Zaire. In are the provocations of politically-grotesque idiots like Jerry Falwell and Ms. Daniel.

Why blame them when there is so much dangerous ignorance among the Islamists? Zamfara's deputy governor, Mahamoud Shinkafi, considered the death sentence against the journalist "a reality based on the teachings of the Koran" while his information commissioner, Tukur Umar Dangaladima, yodels that anyone who killed Daniel would be "a martyr who will go to Heaven" and that Islam's holy book "states that whoever accuses or insults any prophet of Allah ... should be killed." This man is also quoted as saying, "If [the reporter] is Muslim, she has no option except to die. But if she is a non-Muslim, the only way out for her is to convert to Islam."

Have they not heard that the Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace, has said that most judges would end up in hellfire? Where was the court in the first place? Is it not obvious they have violated all procedure? For one, the few Ulema quoted on this have not confirmed the above pronoucements.

According to MSNBC news: "The newspaper has apologized on her behalf, so the fatwa has to be withdrawn," Kaduna-based Islamic scholar Ali Alkali told Reuters. Sheikh Saad al-Saleh, a "Ministry of Islamic Affairs official" in Saudi Arabia said: "They have no right to kill if the person expresses regret and apologizes as it is considered repentance. But if the person stands by his statements then the matter should be referred to a Shari`a court to decide on a punishment, including death." "I do not think it is blasphemy, the journalist has made a mistake and has said irrelevant things," said a reformist cleric in Iran, who declined to be named. "We cannot decide for the Prophet Mohammed." I already cited the disavowal of the Islamists by the main fatwa body in Nigeria.

To make things worse, a Nigerian woman was sentenced to death by stoning under Islamic law for bearing a child out of wedlock. Have they gone through due process including hearing four morally upright visual witnesses of the act, in flagrante delicto? (And what four visual witnesses of fornication would be morally upright?) And is not the maximum penalty for conviction of fornication for the unmarried lashing?

It is high time Muslims take a clear stand against the unchecked Saudi-type violations of human rights that have been going on for years in the pseudo-Shari`a states of the world such as in Nigeria, targeting the defenseless and the voiceless. One of the brave Muslim Ulema who raised the alarm against this squarely Muslim guilt is the former minister of the state of Kuwait, Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i, in his 1999 book, _Advice to the scholars of Najd_, Najd being the capital of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia.
(See: sunnah.org for excerpts or here arrow out .)

Islamic groups have complained for months that the beauty pageant promotes indecency and promiscuity. Fair enough. But then, the BBC reports, "an official of one Muslim group in the city of Gusau - the capital of Zamfara state - said protesters were planning 'black prayers' and a 'spread of plagues of curses and bad luck on the Miss World organisers and participants.'" Is this Islam?

Gone for good are the days when European and American missionaries entered African villages only to find, to their immense disappointment, the smiling presence of a Sufi Shaykh, prayer-beads in hand, facing them down. Now the Muslims shoot themselves in their own good foot. A hutu and tutsi bloodbath all over again, only now Islam is responsible. Stabbing pedestrians, torching churches and homes with rallying-cries of "Allahu akbar!", threatening witchcraft... What a coup for the "anti-terror" bullies. There is even a rumor that the 215 dead are Christians, when those 215 include both Muslim and Christian victims. According to Reuters, twenty-two churches and eight mosques were burnt. One policeman was cited pulling 15 Muslim men out of their homes, killing them and dumping their bodies in a river.

Inter-religious animosity was seething long before. In fact, two years ago thousands were killed in violence stemming from *non-Muslim* opposition to the introduction of Islamic Shari`a law in Kaduna, one of Nigeria's 36 federal states. Reuters says over 10,000 people are estimated to have died in political/tribal/confessional violence in Nigeria since 1999. Rioting and fighting between the groups there is commonplace. One journalist wrote: "The only reason this riot hit the press was because a beauty pageant was involved." Guy Murray-Bruce, the director of Miss World Nigeria, is more than a bit annoyed: "What has happened is a bit of a shame because the international press has highlighted a little incidence of some rioting way out of all proportion."

The bird-brained provocatrix was just the straw that broke the camel's back. The Ugly Pageant will go ahead, in London. Guy Murray-Bruce will recover his hard-earned haram penny. Meanwhile the news keep coming with what, surely, our Prophet Muhammad upon him peace, disavows and condemns from beginning to end, Islamists and all.

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©

[Top Nigeria Muslim Body Overturns Miss World Fatwa:
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20021128_279.html
xx defunct link?! xx

The quote was:
"The Zamfara state government has no authority to issue fatwa and the fatwa issued by it should be ignored," the statement said.

Only the Jama'atu and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, ... have the power to issue a fatwa, it said."]







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2002-12-01

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