Indonesian Who Published Anti-ISIS Cartoon Is Summoned Under Blasphemy Law

The editor, Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, is being treated as a suspect under a blasphemy law, according to a police spokesman quoted in the Indonesian news media on Friday.

The cartoon, which ran in the daily newspaper in July, shows militants raising a black flag emblazoned with a skull and crossbones and Arabic phrases, including, “There is none worthy of worship except Allah.” In the background was a white pickup truck and what appeared to be the imminent execution of a row of blindfolded people on their knees.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/13/world/asia/indonesia-jakarta-post-editor-anti-isis-cartoon-blasphemy-law.html?_r=3

Police Arrest New Zealander, 2 Burmese for Promotion Insulting Buddhism

RANGOON — Police in Rangoon’s Bahan Township said they apprehended a New Zealand national and two Burmese men on Wednesday night and charged them with insulting religion because the bar they were working in had distributed a promotional flyer showing a Buddha wearing headphones.

The men are due to appear in Bahan Township court on Thursday and could face up to two years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

Lt-Col. Thien Win, the head of Bahan Police Station, told the media that police had acted after receiving complaints over the advertisement, which had gone viral on social media in recent days and attracted a wave of criticism from Burmese Facebook users who viewed it as disrespectful to their religion.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/police-arrest-new-zealander-2-burmese-promotion-insulting-buddhism.html

How the right to deny the existence of God is under threat globally

Atheists and humanists are increasingly being targeted as distinct minorities in “hate campaigns” across the globe, according to a new report which found that religious and political leaders are ratcheting up rhetoric against those who believe there is no God.

The report claims that the “hate speech” against atheists does not come exclusively from reactionary or radical religious leaders, but increasingly from political leaders, including heads of state.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/how-the-right-to-deny-the-existence-of-god-is-under-threat-globally-9913662.html

Iran: Death Sentence for Facebook Posts

Iran’s judiciary should vacate the death sentence of a 30-year-old man who faces imminent execution for Facebook posts linked to his account. On November 24, 2014, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld a criminal court ruling sentencing Soheil Arabi to hang. The court transferred his file to the judiciary’s implementation unit, opening the way for his execution.

A Tehran criminal court had convicted him in August ofsabb al-nabbi, or “insulting the prophet,” referring to the Prophet Muhammad, which carries the death penalty. Arabi’s legal team has asked the judiciary to suspend the death sentence and review the case.

https://richarddawkins.net/2014/12/iran-death-sentence-for-facebook-posts/

Social Justice: Time for Canada to get rid of its blasphemy laws

Can someone please tell me how we can justify the inclusion of blasphemy as a criminal offence in Canada?
b_200_0_16777215_00_images_stories_ltheadshots_alan-shanoff.jpgSection 296 of the Criminal Code makes it an indictable offence for anyone to publish a blasphemous libel. The maximum sentence is a term of imprisonment not to exceed two years. Yes, there have been no prosecutions for about 80 years and I suspect any future prosecution would face a successful Charter challenge. But the law remains in the Criminal Code and to that extent it reflects Canadian public policy. 

http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201411244342/commentary/social-justice-time-for-canada-to-get-rid-of-its-blasphemy-laws

EU urges Pakistan to push for repeal of blasphemy laws

The European parliament called Thursday on Pakistan to overhaul its blasphemy laws with a view to repealing them, saying they were “increasingly used to target” Christians and other minorities.

The parliament expressed particular concern about the case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death four years ago for insulting the prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/11/27/EU-urges-Pakistan-to-push-for-repeal-of-blasphemy-laws-.html

Veena Malik Gets 26 years in Jail for Blasphemous TV Show; Husband, Owner of Geo TV also Convicted

Pakistani starlet Veena Malik and her husband, along with the owner of Pakistan’s biggest media group, Geo TV, have been sentenced to 26 years in jail by an anti-terrorism court after they were accused of being part of a blasphemous television show.

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/veena-malik-gets-26-years-jail-blasphemous-tv-show-husband-owner-geo-tv-also-convicted-615156

Pakistan’s blasphemy law is a licence to kill with impunity

The murder of Christian couple Shama and Shahzad Masih because of a blasphemy accusation against them came as the world was already condemning Asia Bibi’s death sentence.

It may be seen as just another incident by the Pakistani government, but it cannot be dismissed so easily by the rest of the world – it raised the alarm and levels of aprehension are high.

While the damage to the country’s image cannot be undone, but further damage can be avoided if the government is seen to be taking the matter seriously.

This incident has not just exposed Pakistan’s treatment of its non-Muslim citizens, but also the prevailing hatred against them. Extremism and hate of religious minorities, especially Christians, has permeated Pakistani society and is devouring it from the inside

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/pakistans.blasphemy.law.is.being.used.as.a.license.to.kill.with.impunity/43117.htm

Blasphemy law debate

The blasphemy law has become a bane for society and there is no chance of it being amended or repealed in the foreseeable future. How many more people will the state sacrifice by tolerating frenzied mobs using religion to settle personal scores or vent their anger against a group of people they are brainwashed to hate. After the lynching of a Christian couple in Kot Radha Kishan, everybody is talking about reforming the law, so that it is not misused against innocent people. If the handling of previous blasphemy cases is any evidence, the law should be repealed. The argument to scrap the law gains strength seeing the prolonged inaction of successive governments against the religious right promoting discrimination and intolerance. Peace groups operating in Pakistan have demanded on Friday in a joint communiqué that the government take stern action against the criminals and their accomplices who had burnt the Christian couple to death in the kin. This punishment according to the peace advocates will set a precedent while creating an environment to contemplate and debate the law. The lives of many innocent people, both from the minorities and the Muslim community, languishing in jail are at stake. It is yet to be seen how the Supreme Court handles Aasia Bibi’s case. Even if she is freed from prison, her survival will entirely depend on the security the government provides her. Aasia’s case is a litmus test for the courts and the government. Governor Punjab Salman Taseer and Federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti had sacrificed their lives to make Aasia’s case their litmus test to establish to the ignorant and bigoted sections of the populace and the government about the inhuman aspects of the blasphemy law. The killer of Salman Taseer is leading a comfortable life in jail having become a faith healer who is free to advocate and justify killings in the name of religion. Already one blasphemy accused has been killed on his instigation and another injured in jail. 

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/editorial/17-Nov-2014/blasphemy-law-debate

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