Mubarak Bala in his hospital bed.

Mubarak Bala in his hospital bed.

According to several reports, Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian man, is being held against his will in a mental institution in Nigeria’s Kano state after renouncing Islam and declaring he no longer believes in God.

Bala’s Muslim family had him committed to the intuition after learning he was an atheist. The hospital said it’s treating the 29-year-old man for a “challenging psychological condition,” but will not keep him longer than necessary.

Bala’s story has caught the attention of the international press, with the BCC, Huffington Post, ABC, and Vice reporting on his imprisonment.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) , who has been working to free Bala, said his ordeal began when he told his family he did not believe in God. After taking him to a doctor who informed his family atheism wasn’t a mental disorder, they took Bala to another physician who said his views were a side effect of a personality change.

Bala, a chemical engineering graduate, contends he is mentally healthy and does not suffer from a personality disorder. IHEU spokesman Bob Churchill said he was concerned about Bala’s “deteriorating condition” and asked for his “swift release.”

Bala and his mother.

Bala and his mother.

Mohammed Bello, Bala’s attorney, said he would push for an independent evaluation of his client, given conflicting accounts of his health.

Bala reached out to the blog Godless Mom to share his story via a cell phone his mother smuggled to him. In a sprawling email, he claimed hospital officials at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital had kept him drugged and that he was “beaten to a pulp” by his father and brothers after informing them he was an “ex Muslim.” Bala said he wrote to the blog because “there’s nothing like autopsy in Nigeria,” and he wanted to leave a record of his imprisonment “in case [he’s] killed and made to appear a suicide of a psycho with issues.”

Bamidele Adeneye, secretary of the human rights group the Lagos Humanists, explained why Bala may have been detained.

“Kano is a Sharia state and there are many similar cases occurring, where people are forcefully oppressed just because of their beliefs or for conservative religious reasons, or for the ‘honor’ of their family,” Adeneye said. “Often though you only hear about it afterwards, if at all. This is a rare chance to intervene while someone is in dire need and is still alive.”

Find out more information on Mubarak Bala’s story on the IHEU site (here).

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  • ALM247

    This is awful. Religion is never to be forced on anyone. It’s supposed to be your choice whether you believe or not.

    • Susan

      ALM247 – unfortunately, theocracies are inherently evil in this way. Regardless of the religion that is running a particular country, those who do not believe as they do are considered fair game for forced conversion and death if they refuse. People who practice Sharia law are not rational human beings. They believe in forced conversion or death for anyone who leaves their religion for any other belief system. Unless you have a secular government with separation of religion and state atrocities of this sort will always occur. That was one of the primary reasons people left Europe to start the United States of America. Even today, they still have issues in Ireland between the Catholics and Protestants. Religion is the biggest root cause of evil in the world and it justifies what it does by taking the name of God in vain in an attempt to validate their sick “laws”.

  • Anthony

    Oh well, I believe Kano has Islamic law. If he is declared sane, he may be eligible for the death penalty.

    • Tonididitonem

      Nah. He won’t be eligible for the death penalty. There is more to this than is being said. I’m nigerian. I have never known anyone to be committed for rejecting religion. Looked down upon yes, pitied yes, preached to yes, but committed to an institution?! Never.

    • Susan

      Tonididitonem what cave have you been living in? Under Sharia law the penalty for renouncing Islam is death. So unless he is considered insane, he will be killed. Fundamentalist Islam is quite clear about this. It is an evil practice (killing someone for choosing to leave their religion) but then I consider fundamentalists of all religions to be abusing, controlling, rigid and inflexible when it comes to anyone who disagrees with them. Professing atheism would be seen as even worse than if he converted to Christianity. However, the death sentence is mandated just for renouncing Islam period under Sharia law. The article states that Kano is a Sharia state. One thing America did right was to put separation of Church and State in their constitution. Theocracies are the most oppressive and evil systems of government ever created by mankind.

    • Tonididitonem

      The “cave” I’ve been living in is called Nigeria and Kano is a place I’ve been to before several times and my father worked in Kano. So yes my “cave” is being on ground in Nigeria. Where you haven’t been or lived. Don’t believe the hype his execution won’t happen but go ahead and froth and foam at the mouth and believe what you want.

    • Anthony

      I don’t believe he ill be executed either, but I do know that the states in the north of your country do have Sharia law, and apostasy is a capital offense. I know of no one who has actually been executed, but many people have been imprisoned for crimes like adultery after initially being sentenced to death. By the way, I have been to your country, but I did get the privilege of visiting the north.

    • Tonididitonem

      He won’t. The laws will be reviewed and it will set precedence for other cases to
      Come. The north is very nice, very dry though can be quite harsh. Northern states have sharia law but what people fail to understand is this is a country with other ethnicities, cultures and religion. This would be akin to that warren Jeffs guy who took all those young girls as wives. That was acceptable practice but when things came to light the whole country looked down on him, kicked up a storm and he was indicted. Nigeria has damn near 170 million people most will not sit back and let a man be executed for rejecting religion. And the all encompassing law is that of the federal republic of Nigeria not sharia. It’s the law with the most power. And It is NOT our law to execute anyone for being atheist. You can’t name me anyone in Nigeria that’s ever been executed for this. Ever.

    • Anthony

      I understand that your country is a federal republic like the USA, and that there is a difference between state and federal law. I hope to get back to Africa in about three years, but I don’t know if I will be in Nigeria or not.

    • Tonididitonem

      Go to South Africa. Way better. I love Nigeria but I won’t ever say some places aren’t better.

    • Anthony

      I’ve been there about four times too. It is an interesting country, and kind of a nice gateway to Africa for someone without much background in the continent.

    • Tonididitonem

      Agreed lol.

    • Susan

      I have a friend from Nigeria and I will ask him for his opinion which I value much more highly than your smart alecky comments. Go back to your cave.

    • Tonididitonem

      Lmaooooooooo ok butt hurt Betty. You aren’t nigerian sooooo shut up. You sound like a stupid white person who says “racism isn’t real I have a black friend and I’ll ask his opinion” my RETORTS aren’t smart alecky. You’re just not very bright. When you come at me with “what cave have you been living in?!” I’ll show you that your intellect is incomparable. When you start rebuttals with insults you’ll only give the other individual fodder to humble you with. Good day. And for the love of Christ read up on other countries and catch up on your foreign affairs before you hop in a convo. It’s really quite embarrassing. Take a cue from Anthony and really work on your inter cultural communication skills.

    • Susan

      in·com·pa·ra·ble
      inˈkämp(ə)rəbəl/Submit
      adjective
      1.
      without an equal in quality or extent; matchless.
      “the incomparable beauty of Venice”
      synonyms: without equal, beyond compare, unparalleled, matchless, peerless, unmatched, without parallel, beyond comparison, second to none, in a class of its/one’s own, unequaled, unrivaled, inimitable, nonpareil, par excellence.

      Yes my intellect is incomparable. Unfortunately yours is not. You know, it’s rare that someone pays one a compliment while attempting to insult them. LMAO. And yes, racism does exist and some of the comments you have directed at me show you to be a racist as well. Even funnier is that you assume I am white and only have one black friend. ROTFLMAO

    • Tonididitonem

      Firstly I never assumed you were white. I know you’re black and lastly my bad for the use of the word incomparable I meant to insult you and tell you you’re dumb and lack knowledge on foreign affairs and your inter cultural communication sucks. Me using the wrong word doesn’t take away from the fact that I happen to think you lack intelligence. It’s a took of the weak to harp on something unimportant to deflect in your cause it’s the misplaced use of a certain word.

    • Tonididitonem

      incomparable[ in-kom-per-uh-buhl, -pruh-buhl ]
      adjective
      1. beyond comparison; matchless or unequaled: incomparable beauty.
      2. not comparable; incapable of being compared to each other, as two unlike objects or qualities, or to one or more others.

    • roo08

      is it so hard to admit you are wrong and learn something new? It’s part of growing and learning…why do some people on the Internet feel like they always have to be right?

    • AfroStyling

      You are a fucking idiot. Go and play in traffic.

  • Ms. Vee

    Here we have BS religious differences (that were given by the invaders btw) between Christians and Muslims that is destroying the potential mecca of an African economy. But yet people are worried about someone that doesn’t believe in god….im depressed now.

    *Note to self: will not be expressing my lack of affiliation with religion when I head back to my home country*.

    • Tonididitonem

      This BS right here is so silly. Africa needs to relax with the overly religious bull crap. We will though. I sincerely believe we will in about 2-3 generations.

    • roo08

      apart from extremist boko haram, Nigeria is mainly divided because of tribes. Some just happen to have different religions. And then there’s the deep corruption among other factors…it’s more complex than just religion..beyond this context, if it’s isn’t religion, humans find a way to divide themselves and go against each other.

    • Ms. Vee

      And lets not forget: Outside enemies are taking full advantage of this.

      http://news.yahoo.com/report-10-generals-guilty-arming-boko-haram-100856925.html

  • Mary Burrell

    This seems wrong to me. This is all kinds of wrong.

  • AfroStyling

    Religion is destroying that country.