For some reason I don’t feel so welcome
Nigeria’s Zamfara state has just announced a new set of laws, racheting up implementation of Islamic law, the Sharia.
Officials say blandly that in “phase two” of this implementation, “unauthorised” houses of worship will be closed. What constitutes an “unauthorised” place of worship? Any dhimmi house of prayer? Or those that aren’t covered by dhimmi laws — i.e., African animists? Either one is an outrage to the freedoms of conscience and religion, but even the BBC isn’t sure of the answer. That suggests that they weren’t able to get any clarity about this from Muslim spokesmen. From the BBC, with thanks to “Allah“:
All businesses in the state will have to shut down during the five daily Muslim prayers.
The state government also says that all “unauthorised” places of worship will be shut down under “Sharia phase two”.
Zamfara was the first Nigerian state to introduce strict Sharia laws in 2000 and thousands turned out to welcome the new measures on Wednesday.
The BBC’s Yusuf Sarki Muhammad in the state capital, Gusau, says it is not clear whether churches will be targeted for closure under the new measures.
He says there are many unauthorised places of worship in Zamfara, as elsewhere in Nigeria.
Most other states in the predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria followed Zamfara by introducing Sharia laws.
Thieves have had their hands amputated and several women have been sentenced to death by stoning for having extra-marital sex.
But no death sentences have yet been carried out.
The new laws led to clashes between Christians and Muslims, in which thousands of people died.