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Freedom of Speech
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Freedom of Speech

Censorship is the first line of defense for orthodoxy, and fighting it is essential to the health of a free society.

One of the most common undercurrents of repressive Islamic regimes is speech control. States’ constitutions may theoretically guarantee freedom of expression, but in practice, most Islamic nations impose broad exceptions to this rule. Restrictions target religious and political dissent alike.

Of particular concern in the digital age is the weaponization of social media. Ideally a tool to facilitate the free flow of ideas, social media content is routinely subject to regime-imposed blocks in Muslim-majority countries, often with the cooperation of the companies themselves. Meanwhile, special laws enacted in these countries in the last decade have singled out online speech for prosecution—often under the false pretense of controlling misinformation and hate speech, sometimes more explicitly stating the aim to curb political and religious dissent.

Globally, social media companies enforce their guidelines in problematic ways, in some cases discouraging an atmosphere of free expression. Ex-Muslims in particular are affected by this. Algorithmic responses to community violations are frequently abused with targeted reporting campaigns, and community standards recently implemented by Facebook provide that content attacking “ideas” and “concepts” can be subject to removal under certain circumstances.

These conditions pose a threat to the principle that one should be always free to express oneself openly—a principle vital for ex-Muslims’ ability to live free from fear and persecution.

what you need to know
37
Muslim-majority countries where criticizing religion and/or leaving Islam can be punished by law
106
Countries classified as "Partly Free" or "Not Free" by Freedom House
how we address this issue
what we advocate for
Ex-Muslims of North America advocates for the following policy actions in defense of the right to blaspheme:
All laws restricting freedom of speech and expression should be abolished.
Social media company policies should not collaborate with authoritarian regimes in the blocking or removal of content.
Social media content moderation policies should prioritize the protection of users’ physical safety, and never the protection of certain ideas and concepts from criticism.
If you want to help us continue this work toward a world free of religious oppression, please donate today—as it’s only with the aid of people like you that we can continue to do what we do.
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