The Revival of (Islamic) Blasphemy Laws

In large part thanks to Western officials. via Hillsdale College – Imprimis Issue. h/t Citizen Warrior

The following is adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., on February 3, 2012.

A growing threat to our freedom of speech is the attempt to stifle religious discussion in the name of preventing “defamation of” or “insults to” religion, especially Islam. Resulting restrictions represent, in effect, a revival of blasphemy laws.

Few in the West were concerned with such laws 20 years ago. Even if still on some statute books, they were only of historical interest. That began to change in 1989, when the late Ayatollah Khomeini, then Iran’s Supreme Leader, declared it the duty of every Muslim to kill British-based writer Salman Rushdie on the grounds that his novel, The Satanic Verses, was blasphemous. Rushdie has survived by living his life in hiding. Others connected with the book were not so fortunate: its Japanese translator was assassinated, its Italian translator was stabbed, its Norwegian publisher was shot, and 35 guests at a hotel hosting its Turkish publisher were burned to death in an arson attack.

More recently, we have seen eruptions of violence in reaction to Theo van Gogh’s and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s film Submission, Danish and Swedish cartoons depicting Mohammed, the speech at Regensburg by Pope Benedict XVI on the topic of faith, reason, and religious violence, Geert Wilders’ film Fitna, and a false Newsweek report that the U.S. military had desecrated Korans at Guantanamo. A declaration by Terry Jones—a deservedly obscure Florida pastor with a congregation of less than 50—that he would burn a Koran on September 11, 2010, achieved a perfect media storm, combining American publicity-seeking, Muslim outrage, and the demands of 24 hour news coverage. It even drew the attention of President Obama and senior U.S. military leaders. Dozens of people were murdered as a result.

Repression based on charges of blasphemy and apostasy, of course, goes far beyond the stories typically covered in our media.

In America, the First Amendment still protects against the criminalization of criticizing Islam. But we face at least two threats still. The first is extra-legal intimidation of a kind already endemic in the Muslim world and increasing in Europe.

The second threat we face is the specter of cooperation between our government and the OIC to shape speech about Islam. A first indication of this came in President Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009, when he declared that he has a responsibility to “fight against negative stereotypes of Islam whenever they appear.” Then in July of last year in Istanbul, Secretary of State Clinton co-chaired—with the OIC—a “High-Level Meeting on Combating Religious Intolerance.” There, Mrs. Clinton announced another conference with the OIC, this one in Washington, to “exchange ideas” and discuss “implementation” measures our government might take to combat negative stereotyping of Islam. This would not restrict free speech, she said. But the mere fact of U.S. government partnership with the OIC is troublesome. Certainly it sends a dangerous signal, as suggested by the OIC’s Secretary-General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, when he commented in Istanbul that the Obama administration stands “united” with the OIC on speech issues.

The OIC’s charter commits it “to combat defamation of Islam.” Its current action plan calls for “deterrent punishments” to counter “Islamophobia.” In 2009, an official OIC organ, the “International Islamic Fiqh [Jurisprudence] Academy,” issued fatwas calling for speech bans, including “international legislation,” to protect “the interests and values of [Islamic] society.” The OIC does not define what speech should be outlawed, but the repressive practices of its leading member states speak for themselves.

The conference Secretary Clinton announced in Istanbul was held in Washington on December 12-14, 2011, and was closed to the public, with the “Chatham House Rule” restricting the participants (this rule prohibits the identification of who says what, although general content is not confidential). Presentations reportedly focused on America’s deficiencies in its treatment of Muslims and stressed that the U.S. has something to learn in this regard from the other delegations—including Saudi Arabia, despite its ban on Christian churches, its repression of its Shiite population, its textbooks teaching that Jews should be killed, and the fact that it beheaded a woman for sorcery on the opening day of the conference.

…The encroachment of de facto blasphemy restrictions in the West threatens free speech and the free exchange of ideas.

Such violence in response to purported religious insults is not simply spontaneous. It is also stoked and channeled by governments for political purposes. And the objects and victims of accusations of religious insults are not usually Westerners, but minorities and dissidents in the Muslim world. As Nina Shea and I show in our recent book Silenced, accusations of blasphemy or insulting Islam are used systematically in much of that world to send individuals to jail or to bring about intimidation through threats, beatings, and killings.

In the Muslim world, such restrictions enable Islamists to crush debate. After Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was murdered early last year by his bodyguards for opposing blasphemy laws, his daughter Sara observed: “This is a message to every liberal to shut up or be shot.” Or in the words of Nasr Abu-Zayd, a Muslim scholar driven out of Egypt: “Charges of apostasy and blasphemy are key weapons in the fundamentalists’ arsenal, strategically employed to prevent reform of Muslim societies, and instead confine the world’s Muslim population to a bleak, colourless prison of socio-cultural and political conformity.”

Read it all and the many examples we’ve covered over the years.

“Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.”

Related: Muslims Tell DOJ to Find a Way to Criminalize Critics of Islam in USA

22 thoughts on “The Revival of (Islamic) Blasphemy Laws

    • I’m in the same boat. I’m sure my continuous sharing/re-posting of ant-islamic articles annoys my ‘friends’ on FB but I can’t NOT post them! Some, even a brother, have un-friended me but Rev. MLK had his share of retractors also. My hope is some are reading them and ultimately the truth will shine through.

      • just be careful;enuff martyrs already.These blokes can be mighty devious and they do intensive investigations on threats;obviously the Muslim snoopers are compiling lists of Allah’s enemies with much support coming from Islamic Intelligence agencies;it simply stands to reason.And dont forget the compilers of imfo have access to State dept files;Pentagon files;so on so on…….watch your back ;dont let those bloody blokes get ya.

  1. It is quite evedent that the OBAMA’S and CLINTON’S are willing to allow the SHERIA LAW’S TO SUBVERT THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA by kissing ISLAMS BUTT every time a MUSLIM objects to something in our COUNTRY. Now they want to curtail SPEACH!!! I say it is time to curtail them by KICKING THEM OUT OF THE GOVT. NOW!!! LOCK AND LOAD.

  2. Obama must go. Though he claims to be a student and professor of the US Constitution, it is obviously to subvert and “modernize” it to conform to anti-free speech, pro-blasphemy law provisions.

    Obama has some weird relationship to the father who abandoned him, as though if he could “do” something to make Muslims love America, his father would have loved him enough to have stayed in his life. It’s a childish fantasy.

  3. DRUNKARD MORON
    BUSH OR MC CAIN
    WANT U GO TO HISWAR AS A QUICKWAY OF YOUR DEATH FOR ENTERING HELL FIRE

    &

    MOST ISLAM BELIEVERS ON EARTH
    OR
    BILLIONS OF THEM
    WILL DO THE SAME LIKE
    I DO

    I’D RATHER ENJOY MY HOLIDAY UNTIL MY DEATH COMES UNDER SKIES TO OBEY ALLAH LAWS FOR ENTERING GARDEN PARADISE ABOVE SKIES
    TO MEET ALL ANGELS
    WITH ALL PROPHETS FAMILIES COMPANIONS
    & ISLAM BELIEVERS WHO DIED BEFORRE ME

    CIVILIZED YOURSELF IF U HAVE ANY COMPLAINED””””””
    JUST GO TO
    ISLAM RELIGION JUSTICE COURTS ESTABLISHED BY MUHAMMAD THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH
    SINCE 1400 YEARS AGO BEFORE YOUR GOVERNMENT EVEN EXIST
    ON EARTH

    BASED ON AL’QURAN AS UNIVERSAL BOOK OF RULES UTTERED BY ALLAH’S PROPHETS IN THE PAST

    • If we’re in a numbers game, before your purported religion existed on Earth came Judaism and then Christianity, both of which preached tolerance.

      Has it ever occurred to you why Islam is a moribund, morbid and dead end faith? And why hundreds of thousands flee its decaying lands?

      No innovation or invention. Nothing for hundreds of years whilst the West surged ahead.

      The PC you make your comment from was developed in the West or quelle horror, Israel.

      The cellphone you use, likewise.

      Tell me what has this repression produced?

      I’ll answer. Death. Misery. Hate. Poverty and hunger.

      If that’s what you want go ahead only don’t bring your medieval baggage here.

      We are awakening.

    • Hey, look bloggers, he can spell ‘drunkard and moron’, way to go LOVE!! Still, I suppose you only learned those words because they apply to you–go and pollute some other site. MUSLIM CREEP!

    • Hate to tell you this, but muhammad lied to all of you muzzies. When you die you will not be in paradise, you will be swimming in Satan’s fiery lake of burning sulfur. muhammed is Satan’s prophet and that means your allah is actually Satan. You were lied to be muhammed a false prophet.

    • inbred low IQ muzzie rants. How can I understand it in such primitive
      form? This clearly is what inbreeding causes.

      This person should be in a mental ward. He is posessed!

    • I am not interested in your ALLAH government as I have my own.My government existed much longer in the past than any government on your little third rock from the sun.Would you like a demonstration?How about an asteroid…you people like throwing rocks so…………

  4. Currently there is not a spokesperson who can describe with the communicative ability of, say, Ronald Reagan not only the differences but the consequences of moslemite legal system. Specifically this has to start with moslem attitude toward humanity. Since life is not precious in their worldview, our legal system makes no sense, hence the ‘clash of civilizations’ which islamics try so hard to bury.

  5. Your allah is satan, your prophet was the prophet of satan, your cult is the cult of evil. You talk tough, but, are gutless weasels that have no honor, that attack by hiding behind women and children.
    You get no respect in the world because you deserve no respect. You moolems are the rabid dog that needs to be put down.

  6. Pingback: As Muslims burn embassies, Hillary Clinton calls Islam “a great religion” « Creeping Sharia

If sharia law continues spreading, you'll have less and less freedom of speech - so speak while you can!

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