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USCIRF Releases New Report on Shari’ah Criminal Law in Northern Nigeria

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released a study conducted by Bauman Global on Shari’ah Criminal Law in Northern Nigeria. The report examines the laws and institutions in three northern states in Nigeria: Kano, Sokoto, and Zamfara, which are among 12 states where Islamic penal laws and criminal procedure codes are used.

USCIRF Raises Alarm about Speech Laws that Restrict Religious Freedom in More than Half of African Countries

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released a report entitled “Apostasy, Blasphemy, and Hate Speech Laws in Africa: Implications for Freedom of Religion or Belief.” This report examines these speech restrictions and their impact on religious freedom across the African continent.

Shari’ah Criminal Law in Northern Nigeria

For 20 years, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has monitored and evaluated religious freedom conditions in Nigeria. This year also marks 20 years since Nigeria’s return to democracy and the adoption of the 1999 Constitution, which outlines the federal system of government and the hybrid application of religious, customary, and civil laws. The Constitution provides that states shall have High Courts, and may also have Shari’ah and Customary courts of appeal where required. During the same time period, 12 northern Nigerian states have also re-integrated Islamic criminal law in various ways. While the Shari’ah laws are based on long-standing practices, receive widespread support from Muslims, and apply only to Muslims, state enforcement of religious laws presents serious challenges to fully respecting freedom of religion or belief.
 
 

USCIRF Releases Report on Violence in Central Nigeria on Eve of Presidential Elections

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released a report on the dynamics of conflict between religious and ethnic groups in central Nigeria, where social hostility between religious groups is a key issue and sectarian violence has almost doubled over the past two years.

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