An author drugged and detained against her will in a psychiatric hospital after Salman Rushdie comments. A graffiti artist facing religious “offence” charges over a mural. An Ahmaddiya newspaper manager is being prosecuted for putting out an Ahmaddiya newspaper. And Jesus Christ is back in Kerala.
Malaysia’s revised “sedition” laws crack down on free speech, including new provisions aimed at “protecting Islam”. Turkey prosecutes journalists for illustrating Charlie Hebdo columns with Charlie Hebdo illustrations. In Egypt, a TV preacher who reportedly preaches that the Quran should not be read literally, faces prosecution for “insulting religion”. And in Kuwait, a cartoonist faces “heresy” charges because Muslims can’t be superheroes apparently.
A court in Pakistan denies bail to a woman accused of blasphemy on the grounds that her trial is nearly over – but it’s taken three years to get to this point, and this was her fourth application for bail! In India, Sikh students march in protest against an upcoming movie that depicts a Sikh Guru Nanak.
And the Russian Orthodox Church’s patented War on Theatre continues, spreading from Wagner to Wilde.
This week, in Bangladesh another atheist blogger has been hacked to death by machete, due to his “anti-Islamic” writing, say the killers. In Kuwait, a TV presenter gets death threats, rape threats, and a police investigation over a video making jokes at the expense of extremists. Morocco may be increasing penalties for “blasphemy” convictions. In Russia, an opera director is fired by the Ministry for Culture, which denies doing the bidding of the Russian Orthodox Church, although it is obviously doing exactly that.
Kuwait has a plan to ban blasphemers from travelling to the country. There’s Sikh-flavoured blasphemy in India because a new film about Guru Nanak depicts its subject, Guru Nanak. And a new queer Jesus shows the importance of “blasphemy” for minority voices within religious communities.
It’s the ninth of our weekly round-ups of blasphemy news and views.
The aftermath of the brutal “blasphemy” lynching of a young woman in Afghanistan, who had done nothing more than standing up to conmen who happened to be mullahs;
Jordan wants a new international convention “to prevent disrespect for religions and religious symbols” — what could possibly go wrong?!;
And in a first for Egypt, an Islamic activist accused of offending against Christianity has had his conviction upheld by the court of appeals.
It’s the eighth of our Friday-to-Friday round-ups of “blasphemy”-related news and views.
Last week we covered the horrifying murder of a young woman, Farkhuna, killed on the streets of Kabul after she was accused of “blasphemy”, supposedly for burning a copy of the Koran. (This is a common false, malicious accusation, used as a spark for “blasphemy” violence.)
This act of violence cuts viscerally into many more issues besides “blasphemy” alone, of course: deep misogyny, gross injustice, the mentality and the horror of mob violence. The Daily Beast has a fascinating and in-depth look at the response from local women and other mourners.
A woman is lynched on the streets of Kabul for supposedly “burning the Koran”. A man is sentenced to death for “reading incorrectly” in Pakistan. And Buddhist “blasphemy” charges sees three men jailed in Myanmar.
Meanwhile, a Russian “blasphemy” case is thrown out of court, only for the Ministry for Culture to announce an “audit” of the accused theatre company! And after two years there’s been some progress at last in the investigation into the murder of an atheist accused of “insulting Islam” in Bangladesh — But why is the march of justice so slow?
The aftermath of the murder of Avijit Roy sees the authorities acting – but it appears a case of too little, far too late. Turkey blocks the website of the Turkish Atheism Association. An anti-“blasphemy” campaigners in the UK have a slightly sinister message. The fifth of our weekly round-ups of “blasphemy” news.
Earlier this week, three members of our International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws spoke at the European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics on an event specifically about freedom of expression and blasphemy laws. Our partners pressed a number of points, including the need to abolish the last remaining “blasphemy” laws and similar restrictions still in force in the European Union.
Now supporting partners the British Humanist Association have launched an online tool to help you do just that, by writing to your Member of the European Parliament (MEP) via: humanism.org.uk/EUblasphemy