Young Filipino Humanists Call for Release of Mubarak Bala
By Joshua Villalobos
Young humanists from all over the Philippines called for the release of outspoken atheist, Mubarak Bala, arrested because of his Facebook post.
Bala was arrested on April 28 and only after 162 days after his arrest and enforced disappearance was he able to meet with his lawyers.
Bala, the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, is well-known within the global humanist community because in 2014 he was also detained and was put in a psychiatric ward for his disbelief of the Ismalic faith.
Filipino young humanists from HAPI Scholars or Humanists Alliance of the Philippines, International Scholars led the call to surface and free the Nigerian humanist activist.
“We cannot just stand back and allow our fellow humanist to be stripped of his human rights just because he exercised his freedom of belief and freedom of expression,” HAPI Scholar’s Chief Officer Javan Lev Poblador said.
Poblador also emphasized that it is high time to put an end to blasphemy laws and ensure that everyone’s rights are upheld no matter who and where they are.
“I want to say blasphemy laws belong in the bronze age but that wouldn’t be right… they don’t belong in any era, ever,” HAPI Scholar from Luzon Sherwin Dane Haro asserted.
Glemir Sordilla, a scholar from Bacolod City and the Assistant Editor-in-Chief of HAPI posted an indignant rhetorical question saying, “where does blasphemy laws end and where does freedom of speech start?”
Meanwhile from Mindanao, Johnny Denden said the manipulation of religious authorities has hindered humans to reach its full potential.
“We, the HAPI Scholars, stand in solidarity with our fellow humanists worldwide calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Mubarak Bala, and for the Nigerian authorities to ensure his safety,” HAPI Scholars posted on Facebook.
They also urged to “keep up the pressure and the noise” and continue the fight to #FreeMubarakBala.