Tuesday, November 26, 2002
(Sung to the tune of American Pie)
It was not very long ago
Never before has the objectification of women in beauty pageants brought to home the glaring contradictions and startling similarities as to how women are treated in patriarchic societies, than the eruption of riots in Kaduna, Nigeria. A finger-pointing controversy has apportioned blame onto everyone from journalists to governments and yielded calls for boycotts in an uneasy meeting of minds between feminists and Muslim extremists -- both condemning the Miss World pageant for similar reasons -- as well as a plea by Miss World contestants to free Amina Lawal, (the woman sentenced to death by stoning by a sharia court in northern Nigeria for having a child out of wedlock). With the issuance of a fatwa calling for the death of journalist Isioma Daniel by Zamfara state information commissioner, Umar Dangaladima Magaji, and the disqualification of Miss Canada by the Miss World organization for bolting Nigeria before the contest officially moved to London, only one thing remains horribly and predictably constant. The subjugation, murder and hatred of women.
The Nigerian woman condemned to stoning by an Islamic court for having sex outside marriage thanked beauty queens Tuesday for boycotting Nigeria's Miss World (news - web sites) pageant on her behalf — but asked them to call off the boycott, saying nothing will happen to her "without God's permission."
We are very, very sad that it has come to this - even if there is a loss of one life, it makes us sad. We are appealing to all to please exercise restraint.
Demonstrating the compassion of Islamic law, or Shariah, a Nigerian court, August 19, 2002, sentenced Amina Lawal to death by stoning -- to be carried out as soon as she weaned her daughter from breast-feeding.
The rioting began on Wednesday as a protest against an article in a national newspaper that offended Muslims because it said the Prophet Mohammad would have married one of the Miss World beauty queens were he alive today…Although Nigeria's This Day newspaper apologised for running the offending November 16 article, the newspaper said its Saturday edition editor Simon Kolawole was arrested on Friday.
I am so pleased to be back in Britain, and that's the general feeling among all of us...All the girls wanted to look their best, so they all clamoured for the bathroom toward the end of the flight
Rights groups and religious leaders condemned on Tuesday a Nigerian Muslim state which called for the death of a journalist whose article on the Miss World pageant sparked deadly riots in northern Nigeria. Muslims were enraged by the article which suggested the Prophet Mohammad would probably have married one of the beauty pageant's contestants. More than 200 people were killed in riots which followed in the city of Kaduna. Umar Dangaladima Magaji, the commissioner for information in the northern Zamfara state, said the state government had "passed a fatwa," or religious edict, on journalist Isioma Daniel, calling for her to be killed.
By late Saturday, the Nigerian Red Cross counted 215 bodies on the streets and in mortuaries throughout Kaduna, 100 miles north of the capital Abuja, said Emmanuel Ijewere, president of the organization. Previous estimates said 100 people killed. An unknown number of others killed in the riots were believed to have been buried by family members uncounted, Ijewere told The Associated Press. No new violence was reported Sunday in Kaduna, a Muslim-dominated city with a large Christian minority. Still, hundreds of people recovered what valuables they could from their destroyed homes and fled in cars, buses and on foot.
Emmanuel Ijewere, a spokesman for the Nigerian Red Cross, said bodies littered the streets and an estimated 1,200 people had been injured and 12,000 left homeless by the clashes. The situation was "calmer" yesterday, he said. The Miss World participants arriving in England spoke of their relief at the organisers' decision to fly them out of the conflict zone. Miss England, Daniella Luan, 22, from Oxford, said she had been terrified by the fighting in Nigeria. "I am happy to be home and looking forward to seeing my family. I think all our spirits have been lifted and we will have a good time in London," she said.
IN a swift reaction to the purported pronouncement of a death sentence by the Zamfara State Government on the ThisDay reporter, Isioma Daniel, whose article sparked off bloody riots in some states in the North of the country, the Federal Government on Tuesday said such pronouncement could not stand under the law of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Declaring the Fatwah null and void in a statement signed by Information and National Orientation Minister, Jerry Gana, the government explained that such an order said to have been given by Zamfara State Governor, Ahmed Sani, could not stand because Nigeria is governed by the law of the Federal and not a state government. The Zamfara State government was said to have on Monday passed the Fatwah (death sentence) on the author of the newspaper article “found blasphemous by Moslems”, with the state’s acting governor, Aliyu Shinkafi, declaring, at a rally, that the writer should be beheaded “as a matter of religious duty”.
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