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SilencedHow Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide$
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Paul Marshall and Nina Shea

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812264

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812264.001.0001

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(p.133) 8 Africa

Paul Marshall

Nina Shea

Oxford University Press

Chapter Eight covers three countries: Nigeria, the largest in Africa by population, Sudan, the largest by area, and Somalia, which is, in 2010, probably the most religiously repressive area in the Muslim world. In Nigeria, the growth of more militant forms of Islam, together with accusations of apostasy and blasphemy have led to riots and murders, with thousands dead. There are also violent militias, such as Boko Haram, which appear to regard everyone else as blasphemers or apostates who must be attacked. Somalia is torn between rival jurisdictions and rival militias, none of which is open to political or religious difference. Among them is the Al-Shabab – the Union of Islamic Courts – movement. It enforces its radically repressive version of sharia, which includes banning music and bells, destroys graves and anything else that it believes smacks of Sufism, and is embarked on a policy of exterminating every Christian in the country, including by beheading children. Apart from its repression of journalists and politicians, Sudan executed its leading Muslim scholar on charges of apostasy, implicitly charged a UN Special Rapporteur with blasphemy, and its agents declared hundreds of thousands of Nuba Muslims apostates who deserved death.

Keywords:   Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, militias, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, Mohamed Mahmoud Taha, Nuba

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