In a country where sharia (Islamic) law is spreading throughout the north and possibly outside of its borders, two Nigerian women have been sentenced to death by stoning for having sex out of wedlock. Both sentences were imposed in the northern state of Bauchi by Islamic courts, reports Reuters.
Hajara Ibrahim, a twenty-nine year old woman was sentenced on October 5 for confessing having sex with a thirty-five year old man and becoming pregnant. The court’s statement reads that “the court has, however, handed the woman convict to her guardian to take care of her until she delivers the baby before the sentence will be executed by stoning her to death according to the provision s of the sharia penal code,” reports Reuters. The man was acquitted because the court found “no evidence to link him with the allegation.” On September 15, another Nigerian woman, Daso Adamu was given the same sentence of stoning to death for having sex with a thirty-five year old man.
Eleanor Smeal, the President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, asserts that “Nigeria, one of the leading oil exporters in the world, is becoming influenced by the spread of madrassas which are funded by Saudi Arabian money. Once again, extremism and terrorism are being funded by oil interest money and once again, the treatment of women is the canary in the mine. We cannot ignore this.” Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter and the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports, reports the Associated Press.
Nigeria’s population is 130 million people, of which 50 percent are Muslim. Sharia law was established in northern Nigeria’s mostly Muslim state Zamfara in 2000 and has spread to at least twelve other states since then. Last year Amina Lawal was sentenced to death by stoning for having sex out of wedlock. Following an outcry from women around the world her case was then overturned in September 2003. Lawal was the second Nigerian woman condemned to death by stoning for engaging in sex before marriage. The first woman, Safiya Hussaini, had her sentence overturned in March 2002 on her first appeal. Under sharia law, pregnancy outside of marriages constitutes sufficient evidence for a woman to be convicted of adultery, which carries the sentence of death by stoning.
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