Sharia implementation, filmmaking, and Muslim discourses: Analysis of contestations and negotiations between culamāɔ and Kannywood filmmakers in northern Nigeria


Dr. Musa Ibrahim

Research Area:


The research investigates censorship and local film production within the northern Nigeria’s sharia context. Islam has been part of northern Nigerian culture for centuries, but the recent reintroduction of sharia in the region and the proliferation of new media technologies in the country seem to give the system a new outlook. The thriving local home-video industry which started in the 1990s, overlapped with the reintroduction of sharia reforms in the year 2000 in twelve northern states. Part of these reforms was the establishment of state religious institutions to ensure sharia compliance regimes in these states. Hisba boards were established to ‘police’ people’s behaviour in line with sharia regulations. In Kano state, the nerve centre of Hausa home-video, a censorship board was established in addition to the Hisba. These developments subjected the activities of the Hausa filmmakers to extreme scrutiny by the sharia backed censor institutions. Consequently, disputes often ensued between the censorship agencies and people in the home video industry. This study examines the contestations which characterize the filmmakers-sharia censor relationship. It seeks to answer the broader question of how Islamic idioms are appropriated in the activities of sharia agencies and film practitioners in northern Nigeria.