Kano singer arrested for blasphemy released on bail

A singer who was arrested last week in Kano State after allegations of blasphemy against Islam has been released on bail.

Ahmad Abdul was detained by the police after the censorship board, an arm of the religious institution that governs the majority Muslim state, received several complaints.

In a song titled Barhama – gwaska (“Barhama – the man of extraordinary qualities”), the 35-year-old had praised a figure known as Barhama, and attributed qualities to him to such an extent that some Muslims in Kano perceived it as blasphemous.

Barhama is slang for “Ibrahim” in the Hausa language. Ibrahim Nyass is the Senegalese founder of Tijjaniya, a Sufi sect.

He is a popular figure in Kano and the musicians sing praise songs to him, and numerous homes and buildings display his picture.

Nigeria’s censorship board said they called for Abdul’s arrest to forestall violent reactions from residents, BBC reported.

While in detention, Abdul told the police he did not realise that the song violated Islamic teachings.

He apologised to the Muslim community and the state government.

In 2020, a Sharia court in Kano State found another singer, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, guilty of blasphemy and sentenced him to death for a song deemed offensive to the religion.

But a higher court quashed the death sentence and freed the singer in January this year.

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