Concerned about the government overstepping its bounds and asserting increasing control over aspects of life it has no business interfering with? You should be. And in many parts of the world, governments are providing daily object lessons in what happens when citizens allow self-serving, power-mad officials to arrogate too much power to themselves and overstep all rational restraints. In Nigeria on Wednesday, for example, a state government destroyed nearly four million bottles of beer. Four million bottles of beer, gone, sacrificed to fanaticism and the brutal arrogation of power by unfeeling elites.
AFP reported Thursday that the Islamic religious police in the northern state of Kano destroyed the beer because “sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the predominantly Muslim region.” That’s because the sale and consumption of alcohol are also prohibited in Islamic law. The Qur’an says: “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, stone altars, and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.” (5:90)
A hadith depicts Muhammad saying: “Wine is cursed from ten angles: The wine itself, the one who squeezes (the grapes etc), the one for whom it is squeezed, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who carries it, the one to whom it is carried, the one who consumes its price, the one who drinks it and the one who pours it.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 3380)
As a result, says AFP, “Sharia police called Hisbah often destroy alcohol and confiscated drugs”; however, the French news service, with barely concealed enthusiasm, noted that this was an especially “huge beer haul.” The precise number of beer bottled destroyed was 3,873,163; the Sharia police ran over them with bulldozers while the assembled crowd cried “Allahu akbar.” Once the bottles were crushed, the cops set fire to what remained, “and the blaze continued throughout the night, according to residents of Tudun Kalebawa.”
Haruna Ibn Sina, the head of Hisbah, explained: “Kano is a sharia state and the sale, consumption and possession of alcoholic substances are prohibited in the state. This is a demonstration that we are winning the war against drug abuse and all forms of intoxicants in Kano.” Those caught drinking alcohol risk getting horsewhipped eighty times.
However, the sobriety police have received a bit of pushback from Christians in Kano, who don’t believe that they are or should be bound by the strictures of Islamic law. AFP noted that “in December, youths in Kano’s predominantly Christian neighbourhood of Sabon Gari clashed with Hisbah police when they tried to raid taverns and beer parlours in the area. The mob set bonfires on the streets, prompting the deployment of regular police to restore order.”
Mob violence is never justified, but it is understandable that the Christians would be annoyed. There is no prohibition in Christianity on drinking beer or any other alcoholic beverage, and while Islamic spokesmen in the U.S. have frequently insisted that Islamic law doesn’t apply to non-Muslims, in regions where it is enforced, that is never actually the case. Non-Muslims in areas where Sharia is the prevailing law always have to abide by Sharia, whether or not they agree with its provisions.
So what we have in Nigeria’s Kano state is a case in which the local government is acting against the will of one community in order to engage in some virtue-signaling and gain some points with another community. If that sounds familiar, that’s only because it is. The COVID-19 mandates in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere are increasingly unpopular. In some countries, authorities are responding to this by removing them. In the United States, however, Old Joe Biden and his handlers seem intent on doubling down and continuing to do all they can to make life miserable for ordinary Americans, no matter how unnecessary their actions may be. They are our domestic version of Kano’s Sharia police, crushing beer bottles with a bulldozer when many of their own people would like to indulge in the innocent pleasure of a tall cold one.
Authoritarian governments are a constant of world history, which can be read as the long struggle for freedom and human rights against those who are desperate to cling to their power as long as possible. But ultimately, their overreach becomes so egregious and nettlesome that nothing can keep them in power, no matter what they do. We will see if America has reached that point in Nov. 2022.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an.