The week in “blasphemy” news #20

Raif Badawi’s third year imprisoned for “insulting religion” begins in Saudi Arabia.

There’s movement, but worrying signs, in the trial of four Coptic Christian teenagers accused of “mimicking Islam” in Egypt.

Pakistan is, maybe, edging toward reform, but Islamic clerics are fighting to preserve Pakistan’s blasphemy laws in no uncertain terms (“those who insult the Muslim prophet Muhammad deserve to be killed”).

And following a concerted effort by Christians offended by cat-based religious imagery, heretical “Virgin Meowy” socks have been clawed from sale by their online retailer,

This is your 20th weekly round-up of “blasphemy”-related news and views. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #19

Anti-Christian violence in Egypt as well as in Pakistan, a children’s book about the Koran is cancelled due to death-for-blasphemy fears, there’s a woman in a fake beard in Russia, and again in Pakistan the health of death row inmate Asia Bibi – sentenced to hang back in 2010 – is reportedly seriously deteriorating.

This is the 19th weekly roundup of blasphemy news and views from the End Blasphemy Laws campaign, run by the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #17

In Pakistan, alleged “blasphemy” results in anti-Christian violence and in calls to repeal blasphemy laws. Washinghton DC subway decides to ban political ads on the Metro after controversy over a cartoon proposed by US anti-Muslim group.

Activists protest against the killing of Bangladeshi blogger Ananta Bijoy Das in Dhaka (12 May 2015) The murders of the bloggers have triggered large scale protests across Bangladesh. Copyright BBCIn Bangladesh, another secular blogger fears for his life and the government bans Islamist group accused of blogger attacks. In India, Punjab language department relaunches a “blasphemy” book and hurriedly withdraws the order. Hundreds of youths protest in Kano, Nigeria against a Muslim cleric accused of “blasphemy”.

In the UK, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams defends “blasphemy” as ‘the language of protest’.

This is our seventieth round-up of “blasphemy” news and views from the past seven days. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #16

Authors call for justice in Bangladesh. Further sentencing in Afghanistan lynch mob case, but is it justice? Cartoonists face injustice in many parts of the world. In Pakistan there’s limited justice for a couple burnt to death last year, and the assassin of politician Salman Taseer appeals justice on the highly legally sophisticated grounds that he thought his victim was a blasphemer so murder’s fine then isn’t it?

This is our sixteenth round-up of “blasphemy” news and views from the past seven days.

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The week in “blasphemy” news #15

This week, the terror against Bangladesh’s atheist, humanist and secularist intellectual community deepens, with another shocking assassination of an atheist blogger, the third such killing in 2015 alone.

Also, Egypt features heavily, with blasphemy law being used to detain or imprison several Christians in three separate cases.

And in Pakistan, a senior politician is accused of “blasphemy” for criticising certain religious schools as “centers of ignorance”. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #14

Since we’re called “End Blasphemy Laws”, let’s start with the good news: Can you guess which European country has – technically – just repealed its “blasphemy” law this week?

Meanwhile in not-so-good news, a foiled gun attack in Texas; Egypt arrests children of Coptic background for blasphemy – after mocking ISIS of all things!; India convicts a hand-chopping blasphemy mob; Charlie Hebdo gets that award from PEN America!; Pakistan issues a 25-year sentence for “desecrating sacred scriptures”; and the west continues to protest Raif Badawi’s sentence, but it’s not enough.

Our fourteenth weekly round-up of “blasphemy” news and views starts right here. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #13

An Al-Shabab Sharia court in Somalia orders and executes one Mohamud Mursal Muse for “blasphemy”.

A liberal social activist and sometime challenger of “blasphemy”, Sabeen Mahmud, is gunned down in Pakistan.

A journalist in Egypt, Beshoy Armia, already jailed on unjust charges relating to his journalism, faces fresh charges of “blasphemy” because “the manner in which Armia converted to Christianity from Islam was blasphemous” and “insulting to religion”.

And the free speech campaign group PEN America is suffering from writers’ block…

This is our thirteenth weekly round-up of news and views relating to “blasphemy” accusations, prosecutions and related outrages. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #12

The Nanak Shah Fakir controversy spreads from India to the UK, with two British cinema chains canceling the film. The United States sees a “blasphemy” protest in response to a political cartoon, in a tight mayoral race for West New York. Copenhagen faces fresh blasphemy terror threats. And police in Turkey are wasting their time investigating a cake shaped like a Koran.

We learn that criticising religion is rarely “punching down”, Egypt’s “blasphemy” trials continue, and there’s further analysis on the blasphemy fascism and wider extremist Islamism being imported into Bangladesh. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #11

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.

Your Friday round-up of the past 7 days in “blasphemy” news and views. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #10

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.

Our tenth week of news and views on “blasphemy” laws and related human rights violations and nonsense. Continue reading »