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Nigerian religious freedom concerns

There is concerning news out of Nigeria. Mubarak Bala was sentenced to serve twenty-four years in prison for the crime of being an atheist. Bala whose been in prison for several years awaiting conviction has been forced to worship as a Muslim.

Today the United States Commission on Religious Freedom issued a statement condemning the prosecution. While Nigeria’s constitution protects the freedom of religion, in practice religious freedom is concerning in Nigeria.

This sad incident intersects with US politics because of Biden administration’s treatment of Nigeria. Last November, the State Department, controversially, removed Nigeria from the list of countries of particular concern on religious freedom.

This incident was one of the major factors in the poor score I gave in my one-year report card on President Biden’s work on religious freedom. This incident with Bala suggests that religious freedom is now functionally non-existent in Nigeria.

About the author

C.D. Cunningham

C.D. Cunningham is the managing editor of Public Square magazine. After graduating from BYU-Idaho, he studied religion at Harvard University Extension. He serves on the board of the Latter-day Saint Publishing and Media Association.
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