In recent weeks, Muslims in Bangladesh have marched on the capital demanding death for atheists who have simply openly blogged about their their beliefs. Islamic groups have denounced the blogs as an insult to Mohammad and Islam and demanded arrests. In the meantime, they have attacked atheists and engaged in violent attacks in the name of Islam. They have killed eight people as part of their moral crusade. Rather than arresting the culprits, the government has moved against the bloggers.
Two leading Internet sites have been ordered to remove hundreds of posts by seven bloggers. This attack on free speech is led by assistant director Rahman Khan who insisted that “[t]hese writings have defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. The two sites have removed most of the posts.” Khan called such bloggers the enemy of Islam and the nation for stating their beliefs.
A dozen websites have been blocked and the government has set up a panel to carry on a witch hunt for atheists.
Ironically, yesterday I spoke at the Department of Energy on the war on free speech, including the past U.S. support for blasphemy measures in the United Nations. This is yet another example of the danger of such appeasement for those seeking to criminalize insults to religion. There can be no accommodation for blasphemy by a free nation as Bangladesh shows by inverse example.