A Kuwaiti court on Sunday sentenced a Sunni Islamist activist to three months in jail for tweeting comments that were deemed derogatory to Shiite Muslims. I have previously written about the increase in such blasphemy prosecutions, including a trend in the West, as well as President Obama’s decision to support a U.N. resolution embracing the concept of blasphemy prosecutions – an abandonment of our long opposition to such laws. As previously discussed in a column and a line of blog stories (here and here and here and here), various Western governments have been curtailing free speech by prosecuting blasphemy and speech against various groups. In this case, Mubarak al-Bathali was convicted over his use of Twitter. It appears that you can blaspheme in 140 words or less.
Our ally, Kuwait, has been busy with such prosecutions. This same court has tried a Kuwaiti Shiite blogger Nasser Abul, 26, for allegedly using his Twitter account to insult the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Obama’s decision to pander to our Arab allies in supporting the blasphemy resolution has shredded our position internationally in fighting for a separation of church and state as well as fighting for free speech rights. The growing trend against free speech internationally is growing and the United States has taken, at best, a pedestrian view.