As UN Meets, Apply Pressure against Blasphemy Laws

By George, Robert P. | The Christian Science Monitor, September 2, 2013 | Go to article overview

As UN Meets, Apply Pressure against Blasphemy Laws


George, Robert P., The Christian Science Monitor


As the UN General Assembly begins its new session, a colossal gulf is again visible - a gulf between what international human rights law and UN resolutions say, and what some member nations do. A concrete effort must be made by the international community to close this gulf.

One glaring example is how some countries treat people who dare to express dissenting views about religion. A number of nations uphold and enforce laws that punish their own citizens for religious dissent or what they view as deviance from sacred norms. Under such laws and practices, dissidents may find their views labeled as blasphemous, defamatory, or insulting to religious symbols, figures, or feelings. If they are tried and convicted, some face draconian punishments, including execution.

The 2013 Annual Report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom highlights the most outrageous example: In Pakistan at least 17 individuals remain on death row on blasphemy convictions, while 20 more are serving life sentences. At the same time, violent religious extremists have taken the law into their own hands, murdering individual Pakistanis accused of blasphemy.

In Pakistan's most heavily publicized case, Asia Bibi, a Christian farm worker and mother of five, was sentenced to death in November 2012, allegedly for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. She remains in jail and on death row.

An Egyptian law bans "contempt" or "defamation" of religions. Since President Hosni Mubarak's departure, there has been a spike in such cases affecting Muslims and disproportionately Coptic Christians. For example, Ayman Yousef Mansour, a Christian, and Alber Saber, an atheist activist, both received three-year prison sentences in 2011 and 2012, respectively, for insulting Islam, God, or the Prophet Muhammad. Mr. Saber fled the country; Mr. Mansour is still in prison. Earlier this year, Bassem Youssef, a comedian and satirist, was charged with "insulting Islam" on his popular television program.

Saudi Arabia uses blasphemy charges to suppress discussion and debate and silence dissidents against the government's own interpretation of Sunni Islam. In July, Saudi Arabia sentenced Raif Badawi, the editor of the Free Saudi Liberals website, to 600 lashes and seven years of incarceration for blasphemy and other charges. And since February 2012, authorities have detained Hamza Kashgari, a blogger who faces possible blasphemy charges. When commissioners from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom visited the kingdom this year, officials dubiously claimed that they are holding him for his own safety and to "educate" him to express his opinions in a more measured way. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

As UN Meets, Apply Pressure against Blasphemy Laws
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.