Man Declared Mentally Ill For Being An Atheist

It would seem that in Nigeria, all you need to do in order to be declared mentally ill is not believe in a deity:

A Nigerian man has been sent to a mental institute in Kano state after he declared that he did not believe in God, according to a humanist charity.

Mubarak Bala was being held against his will at the hospital after his Muslim family took him there, it said.

The hospital said it was treating Mr Bala, 29, for a “challenging psychological condition”, and would not keep him longer than necessary.

Kano is a mainly Muslim state and adopted Islamic law in 2000.

According to the news story, Mubarak’s family asked a doctor if he was mentally ill after learning he didn’t believe in God. The first doctor rightfully told them he was mentally stable, but that wasn’t good enough for them. They went to a second doctor who pronounced him mentally ill and had him admitted to hospital.

Words can’t explain how outrageous this story is. Mubarak is being held against his will, after allegedly being strangled by his own family, simply for not believing in a God.

What can you do?

It may not seem like much, but you can take to Twitter using the hash-tag #FreeMubarak to help raise awareness. Although it may seem pointless, people taking to Twitter has helped put pressure on authorities (as well as helped raise awareness of social issues) in the past, and it certainly can’t hurt to take a few minutes to help get the message out about this travesty.

You can also sign a petition, which you can find here.

Mubarak Bala deserves better than this. Nigeria deserves better than this. In 2014, these types of stories shouldn’t exist. Being an atheist doesn’t qualify you as being mentally ill or ill in any other way either, despite what some religions may teach.



  1. Wow, that’s terrible. Similarly, this happens also to believers in various places in the world. People shouldn’t be forced or punished to believe or not believe anything. Going to check out the links you listed…

  2. Yes, I read the story this morning. Very troubling. Be nice if all the faith-folks who cry out about persecution and religious freedom would speak out for him too! Since that won’t happen, I hope this man gets justice. . .true, compassionate justice.

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