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Miss World reporter faces fatwa

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The Miss World pageant has now moved to London

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start quoteAny true Muslim would make sure that this woman's blood is spilled wherever she is.end quote
-- Mamoudu Shinkarfi, deputy governor of Zamfara state
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KADUNA, Nigeria (CNN) -- A north Nigerian state issued an Islamic fatwa Tuesday that calls for the death of a journalist who wrote an article on the Miss World pageant that sparked riots.

More than 200 people died after riots broke out following the publication of a newspaper article suggesting that had the prophet Mohammed been alive, he would have wanted to marry one of the beauty queens.

Fighting broke out between Muslims and Christians in the largely Muslim Nigerian city of Kaduna and spread to Abuja, the country's capital and the intended venue for the contest. The competition has now been relocated to Britain.

The religious decree was issued against Isioma Daniel, the article's author.

Mamoudu Shinkarfi, the deputy governor of Zamfara state, said on national television: "Any true Muslim would make sure that this woman's blood is spilled wherever she is."

Daniel, who resigned from ThisDay, left the country and went to the United States, according to the newspaper's publisher.

There was no immediate response from the Nigerian federal government to the issuing of the fatwa.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, is home to about 129 million people from more than 250 ethnic groups, or tribes.

Its slight Muslim majority is concentrated in the north, where several states have operated under strict Islamic law -- Sharia -- since 2000, amid protests and violence. Many of Nigeria's Christians oppose Sharia.

The December 7 Miss World pageant became the focus of controversy after some contestants said they would boycott the event after a Nigerian court upheld the death by stoning sentence of a woman convicted of adultery.

That ruling was overruled when Nigerian government pledged to quash Islamic stoning sentences.

"We restate that no person shall be condemned to death by stoning in Nigeria," a government statement said.

Nigeria will invoke "its constitutional powers to thwart any negative ruling, which is deemed injurious to its people," it said.

At least 11 people were killed in the northern state of Kaduna after it instituted Sharia last year.

In February 2000, Christians in the city of Kaduna marched to protest a Sharia proposal, and the ensuing riots left an estimated 200 people dead.

Meanwhile, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said Monday the media were responsible for the controversy over the Miss World pageant. (Full story)



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