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“End Blasphemy Laws”, let’s start with the good news: Can you guess which European country has – technically – just repealed its “blasphemy” law this week?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

The week in “blasphemy” news #9

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. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #8

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. Continue reading »

“Maa Hama farkhunda yem” … “We are all Farkhunda”

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. Continue reading »