This article is the fourth in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

CHIANG MAI (IDN | Lotus News Features*) - The Mindfulness fad sweeping across the West today may be the new money-spinner for those “gurus” who charge hundreds of dollars for each session to teach its applications, often to improve one’s ability to navigate the global capitalist system to make more money for yourself. But, for the Thais it's a 2500-year old philosophy taught by Gautama the Buddha to encourage moderation, self-reliance and contentment in your daily life.

Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol introduced mindful economic philosophy known as Sufficiency Economics to his subjects in 1997 when Thailand faced a severe economic crisis that led to many people committing suicide. In 1999 this concept became the guiding principles of Thailand’s national development policies. It has also been introduced to the national education curriculum both at primary and secondary level eight years ago.

- Photo: 2020

Muslim Songwriter Facing Death Penalty for Blasphemy Revives Bitter Debate in Nigeria

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) – Death sentences are rare in northern Nigeria where Sharia law is implemented alongside secular law in most states.

But the recent sentence of a 22-year-old singer to die by hanging has revived an emotional debate in the West African nation. An upper Sharia court in the Hausawa Filin Hockey area of Kano state ruled on August 10 that Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, 22, should die by hanging for the crime of blasphemy for a song he circulated via WhatsApp in March.

Sharif-Aminu allegedly blasphemed the Prophet Muhammad in a song praising an imam to the extent that it elevated him above the Holy Prophet. The song was viewed as completely acceptable by some fellow followers of the Tijaniya Muslim brotherhood.

Offended members of the community took to the streets and burned down the singer’s family home. Marching to Islamic police headquarters, known as the Hisbah, they demanded action against him.

Even the singer’s father, Aminu Sharif, disowned him. “Blasphemy is not my ideology, he said, “and I promise to arrest (my son) and hand him over to security agents whenever he is found.”

Not all Nigerians – Muslim or others – agree with the harsh sentence however and they filled the online pages of the Premium Times, a Nigerian news outlet, appealing for compassion and the rule of law.

“Lawyers in the house, please, under which section of the Penal Code will the guy be charged by police?” asked Unite2013. Added Blessing Ekpere Ogbu: “One country, two systems. What happens to those criminals who burnt the house of a citizen? What are the security agencies doing about that?”

And at the recent 6th Annual Legal Workshop organized by the Nigeria Association of Muslim Law Students, Lagos State University, guest speaker Akin Ibidapo-Obe, called for the abolition of death penalty in Nigeria, saying it was abused by the powers that be “to advance their hegemony over their enemies.”

More than 2,000 people sit on death row in Nigeria, according to Amnesty International. Sentences include stoning, shooting and lethal injection.

Governors must sign off on the executions, which happen behind closed doors. Some quietly disagree with the punishments or fear public backlash so they avoid the signatures, letting the accused exhaust their chance at an appeal and languish in prison for years.

Also sitting on death row is Maryam Sanda, a mother of three, for allegedly stabbing her husband over infidelity. A petition to reverse the sentence can be found on where over 800 have now signed. [IDN-InDepthNews – 10 August 2020]

Photo: Singer Yahaya Sharif-Aminu sentenced to death for blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad in Kano, Source: Sleek

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