This picture of actress Sadaf Taherian would seem like most any such photo appearing on social media (beyond the fact that she is obviously especially striking). However, the government in Iran immediately spotted something missing. That’s right, a veil or hijab. As a result, Taherian has fled to the United Arab Emirates to avoid an arrest. In addition, leading actress Chekame Chaman-Mah has fled Iran after committing the offense of defending the right of an actress to post an unveiled image. Iranian officials have declared both women to be in violation of Islamic morality and laws.
I have been writing for years about the alarming decline of free speech in France where citizens are routinely investigated and prosecuted for criticism groups or religions. We discussed this trend most recently with the prosecution of far right politician Marine Le Pen for her exercise of free speech against immigration. Now, France’s Supreme Court (the Court of Cassation) has upheld the shocking prosecution of twelve anti-Israel activists for protesting Israel and supporting the global boycott movement of Israeli goods. It is an appalling moment for a nation that once embodied the very essence of Western Civilization and freedoms.
The Islamic extremist attacks appear to be continuing unabated in Bangladesh where Muslim extremists are targeting the free speech community. The latest victim is publisher Faisal Arefin Deepan of the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, a truly courageous voice for free speech and human rights. Deepen was murdered in his office, the latest in a campaign of terror launched against writers and publishers. Earlier publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul and two writers were shot and stabbed by three men in the office of the Shudhdhoswar publishing house.
There is an interesting en banc ruling out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit where the court held that Christian evangelists who were “preaching hate and denigration to a crowd of Muslims” are entitled to damages for being ejected from participation as protesters in the 2012 Arab International Festival. The case raises the long-standing concern over the “heckler’s veto” where a speaker is silenced to appease an angry mob or crowd. The case is Bible Believers v. Wayne County, 2015 FED App. 0258P (6th Cir. 2015)
Those crazy guys from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Saudi Arabia are at it again. The Saudi religious police have long been viewed internationally as menacing clowns who beat and arrest people deemed immoral under the country’s medieval Sharia law. Indeed, it is often difficult to distinguish the enforcement of Islamic values by the Saudis from stories in The Onion. This is another such case. Saudi Arabian actor Abdul Aziz Al Kassar has been arrested in a shopping mall for “taking selfies with female fans.” That’s right, satanic selfies.
There is an interesting controversy brewing between academics and Jewish groups in Germany as the deadline approaches for the end of the copyright over Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, the book that laid the foundation for the Nazi takeover and ultimately the genocidal crimes of World War II. For seven decades, the copyright has rested with with Bravarian officials who have prevented the publication of the work. Now, academics are arguing that the book should be reprinted due to its obvious historical significance. However, Jewish and other groups are demanding a continuation of the ban on reprints.
The video below has caused a public outcry after a South Carolina school resource officer identified as Richland County Sheriff’s Department Senior Deputy Ben Fields is shown tossing a female high school student to the floor and dragging her from a classroom after she refused to get up and leave with him. Fields has been placed on paid administrative leave.