We have been following anti-blasphemy laws around the world, including the increase in prosecutions in the West and the support of the Obama Administration for the prosecution of some anti-religious speech under the controversial Brandenburg standard. Now, journalist named Sofiene Chourabi has been arrested for simply criticizing a proposed new blasphemy law in Tunisia, which he rightfully condemned as a threat to free speech. We previously discussed the case. Chourabi was a leading voice in opposition to the prior ruler — part of the country’s “Arab Spring” movement. However, that government has been replaced, like so many other such countries, with an Islamic government that proceeded to crackdown on free speech and religious freedom.
The arrest came when Chourabi was camping on a beach at 5:00 AM in response to what police say was a caller complaining about the consumption of alcohol. The police admit however that he was sleeping under a stand. They say that they found alcoholic drinks. However, possession of alcohol is not a crime in Tunisia. Nor is that there a crime against drinking alcohol on Ramadan.
The ruling Ennadha Party says that its favor of freedom of speech except when they consider the speech to be blasphemous against Islam.