On 22 February 2015, a Saudi court sentenced a man in his twenties to death by beheading for apostasy. The identity of the man has not been made public but, according to Al-Shabaka, he was arrested last year and is charged with becoming an atheist and insulting Muhammad, Islam’s prophet, on social media.
This heinous ruling comes against the backdrop of the recent attacks on freedom of expression in Paris and Copenhagen. Whilst the Saudi government hypocritically condemned the Paris massacre as a “cowardly terrorist attack that was rejected by the true Islamic religion”, it condemned a man to death for similar “crimes” only a matter of weeks later. This ruling follows the recent case of Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years’ imprisonment for a website promoting public discussion of religion and politics which has been deemed “insulting to Islam”.
Apostasy and blasphemy are punishable with death in Saudi Arabia and also in a number of other countries, including Iran and Mauritania.
In Iran, 30 year old blogger Soheil Arabi, has been sentenced to execution for “insulting the prophet” on Facebook.
In December 2014, a 28 year old Mauritanian journalist Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir was sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet”.
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is outraged at these death sentences. “Apostates” and “blasphemers” have not committed any crime and should be immediately released. The real crime is imprisoning and executing people for their beliefs and expression.
Clearly, there is no place in the 21st century for such medieval laws. Apostasy and blasphemy laws must end. And they must end now.
To demand the release of the unnamed atheist facing execution, please contact the Saudi embassy in your country of residence or Tweet @SaudiEmbassyUK.
Sign the petition in support of Raif Badawi here.
Join Facebook page to defend Sohail Arabi here or tweet @khamenei_ir.
Sign a petition in support of Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir here.
For more information, contact:
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
Dansende og glade muslimer får kjeft av ikke fullt så glade muslimer, Dagbladet, 21 February 2015
We believe that everyone should be free to speak up about their ideas. Freedom of expression includes the right to offend and to criticize, and even mock what is considered taboo and sacred. This can include religion and Islam. However, free expression is very different from hate speech against minorities, immigrants, Muslims and ex-Muslims. Everyone must be free to express themselves, without fear, threats, social pressure or coercion. For many, though, criticism of religion and Islam is met with threats and intimidation. Accusations of “infidel”, “kafir”, “murtad” are examples of hate speech against ex-Muslims and should be recognised as such. The Poster Competition aims to aid our campaign in support of free expression whilst also exposing hate speech, which threatens those who dare to speak up and also creates a climate of censorship and silence.
Designers are welcome to also send in designs of posters in support of one law for all, against Sharia courts and the religious-Right and for secularism.
What we want to see: Love, Equality, Secularism, Freedom of Expression.
What we will not tolerate: Hate speech, Threats, Xenophobia, Homophobia, Misogyny.
What are we not afraid of: Being politically incorrect, Offending fanatics and the religious-Right, People advocating the right to religion and atheism
Terms and Conditions:
• Submission should be size A2 (420mm x 594 / 16.53 23.38 x inches)
• The files should be delivered in Digital Form: EPS vector files, JPEG 300 DPI, or TIFF 300 DPI • Credits should come in a separate Word (.doc) or Text (.txt or .rtf) file, containing designer name, contact information (email, website), credits for photography or illustration if necessary, and a synopsis of 100 words explaining the idea
• Posters must be an original design and creation of the entrant(s)
• All forms of graphics may be used
• The form of communication and the subject matter is the choice of the participant(s)
• In submitting a poster, the participant(s) agree that the poster may be printed, exhibited in any venue, and used in all televised, printed, and digital media
• All entries should become a non-exclusive property of the CEMB
• Only first-, second-, third-place, and honorable mention winners will be notified personally.
• Participants may work individually or in teams
• The jury reserves the right to exclude from the selection, poster submissions which express the points of views listed above as WHAT WE WILL NOT TOLERATE
• All submissions should be sent to the email firstname.lastname@example.org, or viawww.wetransfer.com to the email email@example.com
• Every work submitted will receive a confirmation of receipt of the work(s) by the organization via email
• Please make sure that the submission contains no information that identifies the CREDITS of everyone involved in the confection of the work
• There is no entry fee
• Submissions should be sent by December 1, 2015.
For any other information, please contact Julius Wiedemann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Islam and the culture of offence, missing the point, Open Democracy, 12 February 2015