There was a bizarre twist on an all-too-familiar story in Nigeria. An irate mob of Muslim protesters set a court on fire for releasing a man, Malam Abdul Nyass, after he was accused of insulting Mohammad. The crowd demanded his death. What is a bit different is that the court was actually a Sharia court imposing Islamic law and the accused was a cleric.
Nyass is part of the Tijanniyah sect, which is represents half of the Muslim population with Sunnis representing the other half.
Nyass was accused of saying that the Tijanniyah leader was more powerful than Mohammad.
The crowd responded to the decision of the court by throwing flaming tires into the building and burning it.
Part of the problem of embracing religious codes as a form of law is that it fuels such demands for religious and medieval retribution. It is hard to distinguish between a court that metes out Islamic justice from a mob demanding its own view of religious justice. Both are seeking to impose their faith on others in the name of some divine being. Such courts also reaffirm that virtual absence of any notion of free speech in countries imposing religious codes. The issue is not whether someone can speak against Mohammad but rather if they did and, if so, what punishment they will face under Sharia law.