|Mubarak Bala with his mother|
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:
- Nigerian Man Sent to Mental Hospital For Being An Atheist (My Secret Atheist Blog)
- Nigerian Man Held Against Will in Psych Ward Due to His Atheism (Friendly Atheist)
- Nigerian put in mental hospital for atheism (Why Evolution is True)
- Nigerian atheist branded 'mentally ill' (The Freethinker)
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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