Muslim Countries Move To Adopt New Law Allowing The Prosecution Of People Insulting Religion In Other Countries

600px-Emblem_of_Qatar.svgThe effort by Muslim countries to curtail free speech in the name of their religion continues. While the Obama Administration has sought to appease these countries in developing an international blasphemy standard, this case shows how even the more modern Islamic countries (as well as Western countries) are finding blasphemy to be a useful vehicle to control speech and silence critics. The latest attack comes from Qatar which has proposed a ban that would allow for the prosecution of people in other countries. That’s right, our allies are creating laws to allow them to prosecute people for insulting religion outside their own countries.

The use of the term “defamation” is a new twist to satisfy Western sensibilities and make it sound like this is a recognized form of legal action. However, it is the old blasphemy law in a new and more menacing form. The law would actually be broader than blasphemy which already exists on the books of many Muslim countries. This law would allow for the prosecution of people for all forms of defamation, derision or denigration of religions and prophets will be considered crimes.

The selling point of the new law was explained by Ebrahim Mousa Al Hitmi, the Qatari justice ministry assistant undersecretary for legal affairs,“The main feature of the draft is that it gives every state the right to put on trial those who abuse and hold in contempt religions even if they are outside the country.”

However this “legal expert” assured people that there is no danger at all to free speech because insulting religion is not protected speech: “The law does not interfere in any way with the freedom of opinion and expression which is well protected and guaranteed. All penal laws in Arab countries criminalize defamation of religions but there are no specific sanctions when an abuser is outside the country. Therefore, the main goal of this law is to deter all forms of defamation of religions and give each country that ratifies it the right to file lawsuits against those who offend religions, even if they are not residents.” See how simple it is? You first declare denigrating religion as outside of the scope of permitted speech and then when you prosecute people for writing or speaking about religion it is by definition not a question of free speech.

These laws reflect an inherent insecurity among religious extremists running these countries that free speech represents a serious threat to orthodoxy. It is not enough that they prosecute and even execute people for apostasy. They are determined to cut off alternative views being spoken about religion on the Internet or in other countries.

Much of the past writing has focused on the effort of the Obama Administration to reach an accommodation with allies like Egypt to develop a standard for criminalizing anti-religious speech.  We have been following the rise of 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.

The continued effort to restrict speech not only in their own countries but now in other countries show again how unwise this effort by the Obama Administration was from the start. The Administration has given credibility to these efforts to curb anti-religious speech. Whatever desire it had to “moderate” such actions by cooperating on an international standard has proven, as many of us predicted, an utter failure. There can be no compromise between free speech and blasphemy. These nations stand against the most basic right of all men and women to speak freely and worship (or not worship) as their values dictate.

58 thoughts on “Muslim Countries Move To Adopt New Law Allowing The Prosecution Of People Insulting Religion In Other Countries”

  1. For crying out loud! Insulting religious leaders is one of my favorite things to do when I’m bored! Oh, btw, why are so many of you ranting about just Muslims on here? It’s not like the three women of Pussy Riot were insulting Islam when Putin ordered them locked up.

  2. Qur’an (33:57) – “Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah hath cursed them in this world and the Hereafter, and hath prepared for them the doom of the disdained”

    Qur’an (33:61) – [continues from above] “Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.”

    So you see, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” – Barack Hussein Obama, in a speech at the UN, 2012.

  3. Global religious lunacy continues to thrive and spread unchecked.

    Y’know, I’m REALLY fed up with wimpy politicians who handed their balls over before they took office and had their names engraved on the soles of their shoes….

  4. When the “Saturday Night Live” television show started out in the 1970’s they were making fun of Iran and under this law the writers, producers and actors could be prosecuted and renditioned (kidnapped) inside the United States.

  5. Gee, I just finished reading the article about the three Americans who have been awarded this year’ Nobel Prize in Medicine… Any Muslim Nobel prize winners around lately…. or are they all bent over on the floor praying to their invisible Allah, 5 times a day….. and then imagining that they can prosecute people in foreign countries for criticizing ‘Religion’… Hey Muslims, do something good for the world… or shut UP!!!

  6. Blouise,

    “. . . Never Go Back by Lee Child”

    I never go back, unless, of course I have to — there’s a book about this concept?

  7. Bron,

    I know this can cut both ways, but this is the difference between us; I give you the rope you so quickly grab.

  8. Bron,

    “. . . modern day intellectuals: like Kristol and the Kagans.”

    Sure, Bron — Kristol, (along with his father, what was his name), and the Kagans will be remembered as intellectuals.

    “. . . the Greek Intellectuals are a good bit of the reason we have come as far as we have.”

    Ya think?

    Name two, Bron, quickly, right now — and none of their names can start with the letters “S,” “P,” or “A.”

    Are you even aware of the Ionian thought, most specifically out of Miletus, that S, P, and A derived their thought from? I doubt it.

    You take snippets of history while ignoring the whole. Your quotes ring hollow and it is rather easy to recognize your wooden recitations in your attempts at syncretism.

  9. gbk:

    “The Golden Bough” is the most eye-opening book I have ever read. It convinced me that I really know nothing about the human race beyond its mundane idiocies.

    And criminalizing blasphemy is one of those idiocies.

  10. And then, gbk, if you want a break, the new Reacher is out: Never Go Back by Lee Child 🙂

  11. Bron,

    I hope you’ve been sincere in this exchange.

    If not, here is an example of why I have such a problem with you:

    “what do you read? What is the best book on the subject?”

    What is “the subject” Bron?

    Can you not define with your writing what “the subject” is? It is, after all, your writing.

    “The” is very ambiguous. “The subject,” even more so.

    If I’m mistaken, then accept my apologies.

  12. Bron,

    I would start with Douglas Hofstadter’s, “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid” and read it again and again, until you can’t stand it; or at the least understand it. This is to clear your mind and to become cognizant of your thought — akin to rinsing a cup out before putting something back in the cup.

    Then I would read Frazer’s, “The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion,” or, “The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion” either edition will do; so as to abruptly expose your mind to the assumptions of culture which Frazer points out while being unaware of his own.

    After that, there are many books to recommend, so many in fact that I am remiss in reading them all.

  13. And way before 2011, the year in which your article is dated at.

    There is truly nothing new under the sun when it comes to wont of power and the means taken to achieve their goals, which I am not privy to, except by historical (including recent) inference.

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