In Nigeria, where being gay is a capital crime, punishable by death, abuse of gay men, in particular, is quite extreme. Courtrooms, where men are convicted of being homosexual, are also home to vicious beatings and whippings in punishment for this supposedly heinous crime.
Bailiffs are trained to administer savage whippings, sometimes 20 or more in the courtroom, yet the local Islamic population isn’t usually appeased by such things, they want blood. The official penalty, under Sharia Law, is death by stoning and that’s what they want.
Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed a law back in January, criminalizing gay sex and imposing the harshest of penalties. While homosexuality has theoretically been illegal in Nigeria since the days of British rule, it’s never been taken very seriously. Few were ever convicted and most just overlooked it. Under new laws, a 10-year prison sentence is prescribed for anyone who “directly or indirectly” makes a public show of homosexuality or who attends, or even supports, gay clubs, organizations or even human rights groups who think gays ought to be treated fairly and humanely. You can’t even disagree without breaking the law.
“This draconian new law makes an already-bad situation much worse,” the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said in a statement. “It purports to ban same-sex marriage ceremonies but in reality does much more. Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights.”
But, of course, religion doesn’t much care about human rights, especially once you get outside of their little religious clubhouse. Currently, homosexuality is illegal in 38 of the 54 African nations and carries the death penalty in Nigeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Somalia. The recent laws and moral outrage from the Muslim population have made things much, much worse. “It’s reawakened interest in communities to ‘sanitize,’ more or less, to talk about ‘moral sanitization,’ ” Dorothy Aken’Ova, executive director of Nigeria’s International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights. “Where it was quiet before, it’s gotten people thinking, ‘Who is behaving in a manner that may be gay?’ It’s driven people into the closet.”
The situation gets increasingly violent, there are Muslim men who routinely hurl bottles and rocks at police vans carrying suspected gay suspects. One of them, Umar Inuwa Obi, 32, said, “God has not allowed this thing; we are not animals. In Sharia court you are supposed to kill the man, but the government has refused. That’s why they started throwing stones and bottles.”
More recently, four more men were convicted of homosexuality in Nigeria, reports Human Rights Voices. They were convicted, charged the equivalent of $120 each fine and given 15 lashes of the whip and a year in prison if they cannot afford to pay the fines. Critics have said that their confessions were beat out of them by the authorities.
If that’s not enough evidence that Islam is a horror worthy of Horror Show Sunday, I don’t know what will.