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Muslim group praises antigay law in Nigeria; man reportedly lashed 20 times for homosexual acts

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAGOS, Nigeria -- A Muslim rights organization praises Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan for signing a bill that bans gay organizations, meetings and gay marriage, and commends him for resisting pressure from Western countries.

Muslim Rights Concern in a statement Thursday warns Western countries to "desist from interfering in its (Nigeria's) internal affairs."

The bill that Jonathan signed on Jan. 7 brought widespread condemnation from abroad — including the United States, Britain, Canada, the European Union and the United Nations.

Muslim Rights says this confirms fears that the U.N. is a "tool of powerful capitalist nations."

The UNAIDS agency says the law could criminalize people in programs to fight HIV-AIDS. The U.S. says it violates the rights of all Nigerians to free speech and association.

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Gay Star News in London also reports that a Nigerian man has been punished with 20 lashes and fined about $30 for homosexual acts.

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