Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Muslims suppressing freedom of expression worldwide

AFP reports:
A Bangladeshi court has issued an arrest warrant for the writer of a 2003 novel that allegedly contains insulting remarks against the Prophet Mohammed, a lawyer said Tuesday.

The court in Dhaka issued the order in response to a petition from a Muslim activist accusing author Salam Azad of hurting religious sentiment in his banned book “Bhanga Math” (“Broken Temple”).

“We told the court that the book contained slanderous remarks against the Prophet Mohammed and Islam. The judge accepted the petition and issued a warrant of arrest,” the petitioner's lawyer Ekhlas Uddin told AFP.
Reuters writes:
A Kuwaiti man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday after being convicted of endangering state security by insulting the Prophet Mohammad and the Sunni Muslim rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on social media.

And in the Maldives:
An outspoken Maldivian blogger known for his liberal views on religion was in intensive care on Tuesday after being stabbed by an attacker outside his home in the capital Male, police said.

Ismail Rasheed, who is better known as “Hilath”, had his blog blocked late last year by the Maldivian telecommunications authorities who claimed it contained anti-Islamic material.

The 37-year-old, who has received death threats in the past, was later arrested following a rally he organized in December in support of religious tolerance and spent nearly a month behind bars.

“We don’t know who attacked him. His condition is said to be stable now,” police spokesman Hassan Haneef told AFP by telephone, adding that they were trying to track down the assailant behind Monday evening’s attack.

The Maldivian government condemned the stabbing, but said Hilath should have sought protection.

“We condemn this attack. Hilath must have known that he had become a target of a few extremists,” Human Resources and Youth Minister Mohamed Shareef told AFP.
In Pakistan a couple of weeks ago:
Pakistan on Sunday blocked access to Twitter in response to "blasphemous" material posted by users on the microblogging and social networking website, a senior government official said.

"They (the ministry) have been discussing with them (Twitter) for some time now, requesting them to remove some particular content," he said.

Pakistan blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and about 1,000 other websites for nearly two weeks in May 2010 over blasphemous content.

And last month:
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today expressed grave concern over the Kuwaiti Parliament’s approval last week of severe new penalties for blasphemy. The Emir of Kuwait has 30 days to approve these penalties before they would become law. The new provisions would impose the death penalty on Muslims who refuse to repent after being found to have insulted God, the Prophet Mohammad, his wives, or the Qur’an. For non-Muslims, the punishment would be up to 10 years in prison; for Muslims who repent, the punishment would be up to five years or a fine.

For twelve years, Muslim states have been trying to get the UN to pass "anti-blasphemy" resolutions, an initiative that they have only recently said they would downplay. There is no doubt, however, that the desire is still there.