Photos of Kannywood actress Rahama Sadau in a backless gown posted on her Instagram and Twitter pages on November 2 went down badly with some Muslim moralists who considered the dress un-Islamic.
Among this moral police was Lawal Gusau, described as an Islamic scholar and security expert, who went as far as writing a petition to Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu, on November 3, demanding that Sadau be investigated for posting the photos which he considered indecent.
The petitioner said the photos drew blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad from non-Muslims in a debate on social media, curiously blaming Sadau for the alleged instances of blasphemy. So he wants her tried by a Sharia court in Kaduna State where she hails from. She was said to be in Abuja. Blasphemy is punished with death under Sharia. This is an extreme punishment.
Gusau is pursuing this matter with puzzling zeal. “I am not happy with the way the police are handling the matter,” he was quoted as saying. He claimed Sadau “was trying to escape and had obtained UAE visas for herself and her family but the police were able to track her phone and arrest her brother who led the policemen to her.”
According to him, “The policemen from Kaduna State were about to arrest her and take her to the SCID when a phone call from one CP came in and the policemen were asked to leave her alone and that she would report to Kaduna by herself.”
He added that Sadau “has refused to turn herself in,” and alleged that “She is being protected by that CP and some people from the Presidential Villa. This is most unfortunate.”
Gusau’s claims are unproven. Obsessed with punishing Sadau, he has not paused to think about his needless petition. Sadau, a Muslim, had deleted the pictures after it triggered a controversy, and had apologised to those who considered them offensive from an Islamic point of view.
It is unjust to accuse her of blasphemy just because other people, reacting to the pictures, allegedly dishonoured Prophet Muhammad. It is unreasonable to prescribe what she should wear or not wear based on religious considerations.
Sadau’s dressing in the pictures was not considered indecent from a secular point of view. She was dressed in a fashion allowed by the country’s secularism. Those who condemn her dressing based on religious considerations miss the point that she is free to dress how she wants within the bounds of secular decency.
Religious fanaticism manifests in various ways. This absurd drama exposes the malady.