Blasphegrams: Bahrain Arrests Four Citizens Accused Of Blasphemous Messages On Istagram

225px-Instagram_logo125px-Flag_of_Bahrain.svgThe crackdown on free speech continues among our Arab allies. This week, Dubai arrested four people for posting insults about companions of Prophet Mohammed on Instagram. Since the companions of Prophet Mohammed are revered by Sunni Muslims, the insults are particularly sensitive in the country with tensions between a majority of Shiites and a Sunni monarchy.

For many years, I have been writing about the threat of an international blasphemy standard and the continuing rollback on free speech in the West. For recent columns, click here and here and here.

Much of this writing has focused on the effort of the Obama Administration to reach an accommodation with Arab allies 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.

This could also be a shot across the bow at Instragrams which are particularly popular in the Bahrain. Many of our Arab allies are uncomfortable with the level of free speech enjoyed on the Internet and other cyber forums. It is hard to enforce Orthodoxy when people are expressing their own thoughts and values without fear of flogging or death.

The four are charged with “texts and pictures damaging to companions of the (Muslim) Prophet.” That is enough in a nation that rejects the fundamental human rights of free exercise and free speech.

Source: Yahoo

11 thoughts on “Blasphegrams: Bahrain Arrests Four Citizens Accused Of Blasphemous Messages On Istagram”

  1. The arrests in Bahrain are really only an extreme example of the mentality exhibited by school officials in the T-shirt ban in the Cinco de Mayo case.

  2. “Until the Obama administration actually tries prosecuting someone for blasphemy could we give it a rest?”

    Actually no. If the Obama administration actually tried to prosecute someone for blasphemy then presumably laws and regulations would already be in place, making political resistance much more difficult.

    The time to oppose bad policies is when the administration proposes or works toward implementing them – which, if you have not noticed, is now.

    Now is the appropriate time to make people aware of the treats to free speech. I hope each of you refuses to stick your head in the sand on this important issue.

  3. “Blasphemy” was committed by the Catholic Church and some fundamentalists when they opposed Eugenics and the castration of “the feeble minded” some years ago.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was cool to castrate the feeble minded because it was scientific.

    Scholars, elite politicians, and progressives considered those religionists to be the blasphemers because “science” says so.

    We now know that the religionists were the scientific ones.

  4. Shiite are the ones who laugh when we westerners say we don’t like the radicals as they are all radicals themselves by any decent standard. Maybe we should take the e and the extra i out of the name.

  5. “Blasphemy” can be true at times, such as when it exposes myth posing as fact.

    But fraud cannot be true, by definition, in the sense of being factually true.

    Compare the imagined damage the “blasphemy” JT writes about does to the real damage the militarization of science does:

    Egypt’s military leaders have come under ridicule after the chief army engineer unveiled what he described as a “miraculous” set of devices that detect and cure Aids, hepatitis and other viruses.

    The claim, dismissed by experts and called “shocking to scientists” by the president’s science adviser, strikes a blow to the army’s carefully managed image as the saviour of the nation. It also comes as General Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, who toppled Mohammed Morsi in July after the Islamist leader ignored mass protests calling for him to step down, is expected to announce he will run for president.

    Abdullah said two of the devices named C-Fast and I-Fast used electromagnetism to detect Aids, hepatitis and other viruses without taking blood samples while the third, named Complete Cure Device, acted as a dialysis unit to purify the blood. He also said the C-Fast, which looks like an antenna affixed to the handle of a blender, detected patients infected with viruses that cause hepatitis and Aids with a high success rate.

    (Egypt’s military leaders unveil devices they claim can detect and cure AIDS). With our technique of separation of church and state, the law knows no religious heresy, however, it is well versed in the law of misrepresentation.

    And it does, therefore, offer a solution to military scientific fraud, or at least it used to before the military went all NSA spy rogue and all torture rogue on us.

    “The Onion” is becoming “The Daily Truth” in way too many places.

  6. “Until the Obama administration actually tries prosecuting someone for blasphemy could we give it a rest?”
    By then it will be to late for those arrested.

  7. Where the internet meets the dark ages.

    You have to wonder how strong the position of religious powers to be is when an instagram is threatening enough to jail someone over.

    Those who enforced this law just need to relax a bit and realize life is too short to waste on getting so angry about a few pictures.

  8. Is this a stock line you toss into every blasphemy article?

    “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.”

    Until the Obama administration actually tries prosecuting someone for blasphemy could we give it a rest?

  9. Bill Maher brings it home: “the only way congress members get put out of office is …. and posting a photo of their” you-know-what on the innertubes.

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