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Nigerian Muslim cleric warns against gender equality

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A prominent Muslim cleric in Nigeria has warned Muslim lawmakers that they will be condemned as “unbelievers” if they back a new gender equality bill.

The bill proposes that men and women inherit an equal share, violating the Koran, Sheikh Isyaka Rabiu said.

Gender activists have been pushing for the bill to end discrimination against women in a country with roughly the same number of Christians and Muslims.

Lawmakers say that public hearings will be held before the bill is passed.

Reverend Musa Asake, the secretary of the West African state’s main Christian group, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), told the BBC’s Hausa service that he did not find anything wrong with the bill because in “Christianity inheritance is shared equally between male and female”.

The senate has already rejected an earlier version of the bill, saying in March that it was incompatible with Nigerian culture and religious beliefs.

The BBC’s Muhammad Kabir Muhammad in the capital, Abuja, says the new bill has been sponsored by a female senator, and is a watered-down version of the rejected Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill.

Nevertheless, it is still facing strong resistance from Muslim groups, including the influential Tijjaniya Brotherhood of which Sheikh Rabiu is a leader, our correspondent says.

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