Even as more atheists are targeted in Bangladesh, leaving a secular publisher hacked to death at his place of business, the government responds by dismissing the killings as “isolated incidents” and blaming political opponents. As fears grow that the authorities have completely lost control of the situation, Islamist groups claim responsibility, and broaden the spectrum of targets they consider as “blasphemers”. End Blasphemy Laws looks at the aftermath of yet another machete attack in Bangladesh…
Iceland’s parliament agreed today to abolish the blasphemy provision of the Criminal Code. The Pirate Party’s parliamentarians submitted the proposal in January, which received broad support from all other political parties in Parliament and the matter was unanimously supported by the committee examining the proposal. Icelanders have now taken an important step in guaranteeing human rights and joined other nations which respect freedom of speech and expression.
As we reported last week, Norway’s “blasphemy” law has finally been abolished.
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.
News has broken tonight that freethinking writer Avijit Roy has been murdered in a machete attack at the Dhaka international book fair.
Known proudly and affectionately by fellow freethought bloggers as “the Richard Dawkins of Bangladesh”, Roy had been on a visit back to Bangladesh from the United States to launch a new book. He had been repeatedly accused and threatened over claims that his writings on reason, freethought and humanism were “blasphemous” or “defamed religion”.
One of the founding partners in our International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws (ICABL), the European Humanist Federation, was the first invited speaker at the European Parliament Platform on Secularism in Politics (EPPSP) this morning.
Many of our partner organisations made statements in response to the tragic shootings in Copenhagen at the weekend.
A lone gunman targeted a cafe hosting a seminar on “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression”, then the Great Synagogue in Copenhagen, leaving two victims dead and five police and security officers injured. He was later killed by police.