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Friday, 29 November, 2002, 16:26 GMT
Muslims condemn Nigerian 'fatwa'
Lagos office of This Day newspaper, which Isioma Daniel worked for
This Day newspaper apologised for the article
Nigeria's two top Muslim bodies have ruled that a religious edict calling for a journalist to be killed is not valid

Nigeria's second highest Islamic body, the Jama'atul Nasril Islam (JNI), announced that a ruling issued on behalf of Zamfara's state government was not binding and should be ignored.

This followed a similar ruling on Thursday from the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) which said the deputy provincial governor who issued the edict had "no authority" to do so.

On Tuesday the government of Nigeria's Zamfara state called on Muslims to kill journalist Isioma Daniel over an article she wrote about the Miss World pageant, which was to have taken place in Nigeria.


The Zamfara state government has no authority to issue fatwa and the fatwa issued by it should be ignored

Nigeria's Supreme Islamic Council
Rioting that killed more than 200 people in the wake of the article prompted the organisers of the pageant to move the event from Nigeria to London.

Ms Daniel apologised for the article, which suggested that the Prophet Mohammed might have approved of the pageant.

Last week the office of her newspaper, This Day, was levelled by angry Muslims during the riots in the heavily Muslim town of Kaduna.

Authority

The Jama'atul Nasril Islam statement, issued in Kaduna, warned individuals to desist from comments likely to cause a breach of the peace.

Only the JCI and the SCIA, both headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, who is the recognised spiritual leader of Muslims in the country were able to issue edicts on matters like this, the JCI said. On the issue of the journalist's article, the JCI said: "The fatwa committee of these bodies have been directed by the sultan to meet and look into the issue for consideration and decision."

It said the ThisDay newspaper apology had been noted.

'Against our beliefs'

The editors wrote: "The offensive paragraph runs against the grain of our beliefs and what we stand for at This Day as we show sensitivity to the complexity of our nation."

Many Islamic scholars said that Ms Daniel's apology amounted to repentance and that the death sentence should therefore be revoked.

Ms Daniel, who is not a Muslim, has left the newspaper and fled Nigeria.

The government has said it will not allow the fatwa to be carried out, though it did condemn Ms Daniel's article as irresponsible.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Alhaji Lateef Adegbite on Network Africa
"We should not encourage Muslims who act on that declaration"

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Miss World row
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 VOTE RESULTS
Was the press to blame for Miss World fiasco?

Yes
 49.23% 

No
 50.77% 

130 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


Miss World row

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25 Nov 02 | Africa
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