Miss World fatwa ‘null and void’

From AP and AFP correspondents in Nigeria, Nov. 27, 2002

Nigeria’s federal government has rejected a “fatwa” announced by a mainly Muslim state in the north of the country which called for a journalist to be killed over a Miss World report.

Information Minister Jerry Gana, who acts as a spokesman for Nigeria’s secular government, dismissed the decree as “null and void” and promised it would not be enforced.

Zamfara State earlier said it endorsed an Islamic decree calling for Muslims to slay Isioma Daniel, a fashion writer who offended some Muslims with an article in This Day newspaper on the Miss World beauty pageant.

“Just like the blasphemous Indian writer Salman Rushdie, the blood of Isioma Daniel can be shed,” Deputy Governor Mahamoud Shinkafi told a gathering of Muslim groups in Zamfara state’s capital, Gusau.

Rushdie, an Indian-born Briton, went into hiding after Iran’s late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a 1989 fatwa – or religious edict – against him for allegedly insulting Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses.

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