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Nigeria: Kano Islamic Police Arrest Non-Fasting Muslims

Islamic police in Nigeria’s northern state of Kano detained 11 Muslims on Tuesday for violating the Ramadan fast by consuming food. Kano, with a predominantly Muslim population, operates under Sharia, an Islamic legal system, alongside secular law.

The Islamic police, commonly referred to as Hisbah, conduct routine inspections of eateries and markets during Ramadan. The 10 men and one woman apprehended were subsequently released after pledging not to intentionally break the fast again.

“We apprehended 11 individuals on Tuesday, including a female vendor observed eating from her merchandise, which alerted some members of the public,” said Hisbah spokesperson Lawal Fagge. “The other 10 were men apprehended throughout the city, particularly in proximity to bustling markets.”

Fagge clarified that search operations would persist, underscoring that non-Muslims were not targeted. “We do not detain non-Muslims, as this issue does not concern them. The only scenario where they could potentially be implicated is if we uncover evidence of them preparing food for sale to Muslims observing fasting.”

Regarding the detainees, Fagge stated that they were released after committing to observe the fast henceforth. “For some, we required the presence of their relatives or guardians to ensure family oversight.”

Approximately two decades ago, Sharia was introduced to operate alongside secular law in 12 of Nigeria’s northern states, all predominantly Muslim.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, holds significant importance in Islam. It is believed to be the month when the initial verses of the Quran, Islam’s holy scripture, were revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

Fasting during daylight hours is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, defining fundamental aspects of Muslim practice. This year, Ramadan spans 30 days, commencing on Monday, March 11, and anticipated to conclude on Tuesday, April 9.

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