The Basic Law of Palestine declares Islam to be the official religion of Palestine and states that “respect and sanctity of all other heavenly religions (Judaism and Christianity) shall be maintained.” In the West Bank territories governed by the Palestinian Authority, the old Jordanian law against “defaming religion” is still in force and may result in a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Hamas authorities in Gaza have enforced orthodox Sunni Islamic practices and conservative dress, and have regularly harassed worshippers at non-Hamas-affiliated mosques.
On Oct. 31, 2010, a 26-year-old blogger was arrested in the West Bank for posting allegedly blasphemous comments on Facebook and his blog. Waleed Hasayin, who used the named Waleed al-Husseini online, described himself as “an atheist from Jerusalem-Palestine” and wrote that God is “a primitive Bedouin and anthropomorphic” and that “people are free to think and believe in whatever suits them.” He was charged with “defaming religion”. Hasayin was released in 2012 and sought refuge in Europe.