Controversial and homophobic Nigerian pastor, Temitope Balogun Joshua has been ‘excommunicated’ as it were from YouTube, following numerous times in which he had claim though his channel to be able to cure members of his congregation of their homosexuality.
Spurred on by the actions of OpenDemocracy- a UK based media rights group, The Synagogue Church of All Nations channel, which has amassed nearly on two million subscribers, was shut down after the organisation approached YouTube on April 8th.
In asking the online video platform behemoth if videos of conversion practices could in fact violate YouTube policies, OpenDemocracy refenced a number of videos that were of concern.
This was to be confirmed in an interview with CNN when OpenDemocracy’s Africa Editor, Lydia Namubiru said that the organisation had “noticed at least seven videos. In one video, T.B. Joshua slapped a woman and her partner whom he called her ‘second’ (partner) at least 16 times… He said he was casting the ‘spirit of woman’ out of her.”
“In yet another video, a young person… is slapped several times and his dreadlocks are shaven off before he testifies that he is no longer attracted to men.” Namubiru added.
Nigeria Criminalises Same-Sex Relationships
Given the unfortunately entangled nature of church and state- the apple has not fallen far from the tree as in Nigeria public displays of affection with members of the same sex are an offence that carries a 10-year jail term.
In 2014, the country also enforced laws effectively banning gay marriage and same sex “amorous relationships”. In effect, LGBTQI people in Nigeria can and are criminalised under both the Criminal Code Act and the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act.
Still in what, may be considered a small win, YouTube in response to the concerns raised by OpenDemocracy- confirmed its swift and immediate action via a statement which read, “YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibits hate speech and we remove flagged videos and comments that violate these policies. In this case [SCOAN’s channel] has accumulated three strikes and has been terminated,”
‘Will Appeal YouTube Decision’
Joshua, who now appears to be yet again blocked from YouTube, took to Facebook via a live stream of his Sunday service last week, asking of his followers, “I want you to help me pray for YouTube,”
Also, on Facebook- Joshua Ministries have confirmed via a statement that it would appeal the decision by YouTube to suspend its channel
“Emmanuel TV’s mission is to share the love of God with everyone — irrespective of race or religion — and we strongly oppose all forms of hate speech! We have had a long and fruitful relationship with YouTube and believe this decision was made in a haste… we are making every effort to appeal this decision and see the channel restored,”
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