Nigeria

Nigerian ‘gay wedding’ raided by Islamic police

Nineteen Muslims have been detained by the Islamic police force in the largest city in northern Nigeria on suspicion of attending a same-sex marriage wedding.

Nineteen Muslims have been detained by the Islamic police force in the largest city in northern Nigeria on suspicion of attending a same-sex marriage wedding.

The force’s spokesman, Lawal Ibrahim Fagge, said they raided the Kano wedding after receiving a tip.

He said authorities were looking for the pair, who had not yet exchanged wedding vows.

The majority of Kano’s inhabitants are Muslims. Hence the city’s legal system incorporates both Islamic and Western principles.

Nigeria is predominantly Muslim in the north and Christian in the south, and both legal systems outlaw homosexual activities.

Hisbah, Kano’s Islamic police force, is recognised for its strict moral code and is responsible for enforcing it.

During an interview with the BBC, Mr Fagge stated that the police have no plans to prosecute the 19 people (15 men and four women) who were apprehended during the Sunday raid.

Instead, he claimed that the group was engaging in “counselling” and encouraging parents and guardians to come forward because they featured LGBT people and cross-dressers.

“We’ll explore the avenue of change before we charge them in court. First, we counsel them and involve the parents, and we hope they change their lifestyle,” the Hisbah spokesman said.

In all the years they’ve been in operation, the Islamic courts in Kano have never handed down a gay conviction.

Mr Fagge stated that 18 people who attended a similar wedding ceremony last year had been released after signing an “undertaking that they would modify their lifestyle.”

Rights activists in Nigeria have fought for the recognition of LGBT rights. Still, in a country where many Muslims and Christians adhere to orthodox religious norms, they face stiff opposition.

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