Saudi Arabia Moves Toward Expansion of Blasphemy Law To Cover Social Networks and Blogs

Saudi Arabia is moving to expand its already draconian laws concerning blasphemy. The new regulations by the ultra-conservative Shura council following the arrest of Saudi blogger and columnist Hamza Kashgari, 23, was arrested for tweeting comments deemed as insulting the Prophet Mohammad.


The new law would extend punishment not only for insulting Islam, but . . . you guessed it . . . Islamic clerics.

The law specifically targets blogs and social networks to crackdown on free thinkers. Blasphemy can be punishable by death.

I have written extensively on the rise of blasphemy or hate speech prosecutions against religious critics in the West. The Obama Administration has been working with Pakistan and other Muslim nations to develop an international standard for blasphemy prosecutions. The West has steadily yielded to the demands of religious groups that free speech must be curtailed in the name of faith. At the same time, West governmental and religious leaders have denounced agnostics and atheists as one of the greatest threats facing the West (here and here and here and here). President Obama and Hillary Clinton have been facilitating this trend by working with Muslim nations to develop an international standard allowing for the prosecution of those who insult religion. The Administration has drawn a dangerous line with Muslim countries in first supporting the concept of an international blasphemy standard. As I have mentioned before, the efforts of the Obama Administration to work with these countries on an international blasphemy standard is a threat to free speech around the world. After first supporting an international blasphemy standard, the Administration sought to get Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries to adopt the Brandenburg standard as the basis for such prosecutions. This case also shows why the use of the Brandenburg standard is so dangerous in the hands of such officials who view free speech as the cause of imminent violence. Because any joke or image of the Prophet can trigger violence, the standard is immediately satisfied in countries like Egypt, which can then claim some legal legitimacy under the standard created with the United States.

Secretary of State Clinton continues to push for the implementation of the new international effort to criminalize certain forms of anti-religious speech as our Muslim allies expand their definition of blasphemy. We have seen crackdowns on Internet speech in countries ranging from Russia to China to Iran. The Internet remains the greatest vehicle for free thought and free speech in the history of the mankind — precisely the reason these governments want it policed and curtailed.

Source: Emirates

23 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia Moves Toward Expansion of Blasphemy Law To Cover Social Networks and Blogs

  1. It is time for “liberals” to stop playing with fire any recognize that as much as we might wish it everyone does not believe in free speach or tolerance and the will kill people to prove it. Blasphemy laws are not appropriate function of government unless we in the US wish to turn our backs on our constitution and the founders. We should not support, enable or otherwise facilitate the enactment of any blasphemy statute. Magical thinking aside when the power to control ones thoughts or utterances about the Almighty or his purported representatives is put into the hands of those with the power to imprison and kill, they will.

  2. We should thank Thomas Jefferson every day for writing that letter to the Danbury Baptists and erecting that wall between church and state so that we can avoid this foolishness. We have no right to control things beyond our borders except when it negatively impacts an important national interest, however we have every right to encourage others to turn away from theocracy and towards a sensitivity for human rights. That is in our long term national interest.

  3. The solution for the problem is very / very very very simple
    such being its problem its simply too simple / humans need
    complications / its what they expect as thrive on / as use to
    divide and rule / that western nations try preach to muslims
    as tell them how to behave in regard to religious teachings
    & religious belief is as a fox’s proposal to marry the chicken.

    The simple solution for humans every nation every religion
    is in turning the senses inward via meditation thus bringing
    a unfolding of the spiritual self / not ideas beliefs / not of a
    heaven a paradise that somewhere beyond the clouds /but
    that of one having very practical spiritual experience / that
    gifts a clarity of understanding / in answering all questions.
    Whom am I ? Is there a God ?. Is there a heaven ?. Whom
    will win the USA election ( just joking) however one expect
    that the republicans will win it / that Mitt Romney president
    BARACK having broken every promise made / rather than
    protecting the people’s rights /he removed what few rights
    the people having left // thus he will be evicted from office.

    Back to what unites in meditation one knows their spiritual
    identity such power that sutains life that being common to
    all people / one gains great strength as comfort from such
    as it answers all questions unto life / as unto lifes purpose
    thus one can balance the spiritual with the material realm
    where ones spiritual diet as need is served to satisfaction.

    People in having spiritual as material balance through very
    practical spiritual experience / there then no need bringing
    laws of behavour / there’s no conflict there being no divide
    nations don’t go seek conflict /being that all are one family.

    Throughout history of humanity there be spiritual teachers
    among all be the “Teacher of Teachers” at present it being
    the “Teacher of Teachers” is Prem Rawat / Prem in having
    dedicated his life in aid & guide to those in having reached
    the stage they wish turn to meditation in their development.

    On PC search put (words of peace) or put (words of peace
    global) on site a selection of videos in which Prem explains
    meditation / as his word to aid those whom wish meditation.

    Prem helped / as aid people worldwide in travelling around
    the world in giving the message of “Peace Within Oneself”.
    Peace is not a impossibility that all nations will be at peace
    going beyond ideas beliefs unto one’s knowing the creator.

  4. Justice Holmes 1, July 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

    It is time for “liberals” to stop playing with fire any recognize that as much as we might wish it everyone does not believe in free speach or tolerance and the will kill people to prove it. Blasphemy laws are not appropriate function of government unless we in the US wish to turn our backs on our constitution and the founders.
    ….
    =====================================
    Would that include “secular blasphemy” of the 9/11 conspiracy sort?

    Some denominations of that “secular religion” are more popular than others, as in all religions.

    Yet, even the most popular denomination which holds converts from the highest levels of government, which I mentioned in my first comment, is still considered to be blasphemous.

    The doctrine is that even though Saudi Arabia participated in 9/11 in substantial ways, it is immune from our ire because it has oil baby.

  5. I don’t know of any blasphemy laws yet, but I’m getting worried about our hate speech laws which makes no sense to me. I have a right to hate anybody I want and have a right to express it and if I don’t have that I don’t have free speech.

  6. mespo,

    AND … Jefferson doubled the size of the country without firing a shot!

    Now that was acting in our long term national interest.

  7. http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/07/16/2216203/official-us-ship-fires-on-boat.html
    An American vessel fired on a boat Monday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, killing one person and injuring three, according to a U.S. consular official in Dubai.

    The official gave no other details, but it appeared the boat could have been mistaken as a threat in Gulf waters not far from Iran’s maritime boundaries.

    Dozens of police and other Emirati officials crowded around the white-hulled boat, which sat docked after the incident in a small Dubai port used by fishermen and sailors.

    The boat appeared to be a civilian vessel about 30 feet (9 meters) long and powered by three outboard motors. Similar boats are used for fishing in the region, though Iran’s Revolutionary Guard also employs relatively small, fast-moving craft in the Gulf.

    Rescue workers were seen carrying one person in a body bag off the boat and placing it in an ambulance as fishermen looked on. Officials moved the boat from the harbor shortly afterward.

    An Emirati rescue official at the scene confirmed the casualty toll. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the incident between the two allies.

    U.S. military vessels routinely cross paths with Iranian ships in international waters in the Gulf without incident, but speed boats from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have passed close to U.S. ships in incidents that have raised alarm in Washington. ”

    So, are gas prices going to go up?

  8. It’s too bad I and other non-believers are not yet living in a time when such a topic has been deprived of any practical significance and rendered purely academic or foolish/fanciful.. I envy such a time when humanity is permanently relieved of the misery of religion.

  9. I am a Liberal and I have never stood up for Saudi Arabia or any government that abridges Free Speech. I think we need to capitalize the word Founders when we speak about our Founders. The Real Justice Holmes would capitalize Founders. This Liberal is of a belief that Royalty has no place in the world. I capitalize that word so long as they are in power in places like Saudi Arabia and get curtsied in Great Britain. No more post colonial dictators like Saddam or the Iranian schmuck called Shaw Park or something. The Royals in Saudi Arabia are catering to the Islamics.

  10. What Pete said. Let the Flying Spaghetti Monster give them a thousand lashes with one of his noodly appendages.

    rAmen

  11. “The Obama Administration has been working with Pakistan and other Muslim nations to develop an international standard for blasphemy prosecutions.”

    An International Standard for blasphemy prosecutions? Really? This from the country that brought us separation of church and state, freedom of/from religion, and freedom of the press/speech? Have we really sunk so low? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when one thinks about it. I never thought I would see our government sanctioning torture and rendition either. ‘We’ are becoming ‘them’.

  12. An international standard on blasphemy? Wow. Wonder what I’ll get in 10 years for calling L. Ron Hubbard a con artist? What might a commenter at Salon (writing in response to an article about Kirk Cameron on gay marriage) get for this?:

    Christianity is the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you eat bread that has magically been transformed into his flesh (and wine which has magically been transformed into his blood), and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a woman created from a rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

  13. RG

    I don’t know of any blasphemy laws yet, but I’m getting worried about our hate speech laws which makes no sense to me. I have a right to hate anybody I want and have a right to express it and if I don’t have that I don’t have free speech.
    ==============
    Maybe everybody hates you. Have you heard of keeping it to yourself.

  14. Matt Johnson, up until the time that you commented on Roger G, I really did hate him, but now I have changed my mind about him completely. This happened because late last night I had an experience: god told me to love Roger G. You better stop saying all those bad things about him!

  15. I think in some jurisdictions its a violation of the rules of professional responsibility to insult judges on or off the bench……..

    Are we really that much different…… Where are these sanctions we impose on other countries for doing the same…..

Comments are closed.