Saturday, February 24, 2007

Passage Imminent V

[Updated below]

Coverage from the BBC that I had missed earlier (Feb 14), following on an earlier post [my emphasis]:
Speaking at the session, Deputy Speaker Austin Opara said he did not want Nigerians to forget their "religious and cultural backgrounds".

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the umbrella body for Nigerian Christians, called for speedy passage of the law, describing same sex unions as "barbaric and shameful".

The National Muslim Centre also condemned gay relations as "immoral, and runs contrary to our cultural and religious values".

The deputy chairman of the house committee on human rights Abdul Oroh [a man with a Muslim name from a predominantly Muslim state - MT] says it was hypocritical of proponents of the bill to use morality and religion as basis for their arguments.

"We should not be hypocritical here. I think we should deal with this subject dispassionately. While we are trying to protect morals and values, we must also remember to protect people's rights even if they are a minority," Mr Oreh said at the public hearing.

Wow, I don't think I possibly could have said it better than Oreh. Notice that CAN (the organization presided over by Archbishop Akinola of the Church of Nigeria) pushes hard for the bill, while a putative Muslim argues for minority rights!

With Oreh's words, we've now documented the thoughts of two Muslim legislators (MP Abdul Oreh, and Senator Ibrahim Nasir Mantu) who are reticent to pass the legislation. Where's the Anglican legislator?

Also: some coverage from The Jurist (Feb 23).

... and links to the UN Press Release I had mentioned earlier, with an accompanying article (h/t Simon Sarmiento).

UPDATE Feb 24 20:15. It occurs to me that Mr. Oreh's and Senator Mantu's words in the Nigerian Legislature would be made illegal by the new legislation as they could be liberally construed as providing "indirect" "sustenance" to "same-sex amorous relationship[s]" under Section 7(3). Hmmm.


Weiwen Ng said...

you've likely mentioned this in earlier parts, but Akinola's defenders have brought up the fact that he has to face radical Islam as a defense for some of his more outrageous actions, like this one. that defense is in itself morally bankrupt, but now we see that Islam in Nigeria is not as monolithic as we may have been led to believe.

Matt said...

Absolutely. If a Muslim Nigerian legislator will put himself on the public record as saying that one shouldn't be so hasty about absconding with a persecuted minority's basic civil rights, then, as you say, Nigerian Islam is not monolithic, and the pressure is now on the Church of Nigeria and CAN to show that they are similarly committed to democratic principles.

But, most importantly, the "Islam-made-me-do-it" argument (which, incidentally, is becoming rather popular here in the US -- see Dinesh D'Souza's recent folly for an example) now carries no weight. There is now evidence that moderate Muslim legislators exist in Nigeria, and that they are of higher principle than their Anglican counterparts.