Somerville’s ‘Landlord from Hell’ Still Has to Take a Class on Islam

Daisy Obi, a Nigerian minister, did not convince the state's highest court to overturn her unusual sentence.

A Somerville landlord ordered to take a class on Islam while serving time for shoving a Muslim tenant down the stairs did not succeed in convincing the state’s highest court to overturn her unusual sentence.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Wednesday that Daisy Obi, a Nigerian minister in her 70s, didn’t have standing to challenge a judge’s order that she spend six months in jail and complete an introductory class on the religion.

Obi, dubbed the “landlord from hell,” had been accused of pushing her tenant down the stairs of her triple-decker and shouting anti-Islam epithets at her (Muslims, it is alleged that she said, “should be burned in hell.”).

A judge’s order that she take the Islam class touched off a controversy: Should an elderly Christian woman be forced to learn about another faith against her will?

The SJC did not address that question in its ruling, instead upholding the conviction that had been decided in another court. As part of that earlier sentence, Obi will also be required to notify future tenants about her violent past.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com