June 26, 2014

Mubarak Bala Receiving Media Attention

Mubarak Bala
Mubarak Bala with his mother
It took awhile, but Mubarak Bala, the 29 year-old engineer hospitalized against his will in Nigeria for being an atheist, is beginning to receive some attention by the news media. Without looking too hard, I have seen reports from the BBC, The Independent, and the Associated Press in the last couple of days.

I think it helped considerably when the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) looked into the case and spoke with individuals in Nigeria. This should help to reduce the understandable skepticism many had about a situation that began with emails from Nigeria.

The picture now emerging from Nigeria is not a pleasant one. According to the IHEU, Bala's attorney has confirmed that he has been involuntarily hospitalized and medicated in a psychiatric unit based on the complaint that he is an atheist. They are characterizing this as a human rights violation, which seems appropriate.

For those of us who do not live in Muslim nations, the idea of someone being involuntary hospitalized and medicated for being an atheist is difficult to imagine. It is great that we have this relative luxury but terrifying to recognize that not everybody does. That there are parts of the world where this sort of thing still happens is appalling.

Here are just a few examples of the coverage this case is receiving in the atheist blogosphere:
Godless Mom is continuing to track the case and provide the latest updates here.

If you are on Twitter, the #FreeMubarak hashtag is a good way to keep the situation in people's minds. Keeping this in people's minds is one of the ways we can help.

For another way to help, please consider signing the Change.org petition.

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