Washington, D.C. -- Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) applauds the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) recent approval of resolutions to protect individuals prosecuted under blasphemy and apostasy laws.
The UNGA voted in favor of two resolutions—one against “extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions” and another advocating a moratorium on the death penalty. Jubilee Campaign spearheaded advocacy for the inclusion of new language in the resolutions which specifies that the resolutions apply to individuals facing state prosecution for exercising their freedom of religion or belief, an effort to which EXMNA was a signatory.
“The adoption of these resolutions amounts to an official position on the part of the UN that the death sentence for blasphemy and apostasy is unacceptable and incompatible with human rights,” said Muhammad Syed, President of EXMNA. “It is an important and necessary step forward in protecting freedom of conscience for ex-Muslims in particular, who, along with other religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries, are most endangered by these laws.”
Blasphemy and/or apostasy are punishable by death in at least 12 countries, all of them Muslim-majority. At least 33 Muslim-majority countries have some form of blasphemy or apostasy law, violation of which is punished with anything ranging from fines to imprisonment to death.
“EXMNA continues to demand the abolition of all apostasy and blasphemy laws worldwide, as they disproportionately target the freedom of conscience and speech of ex-Muslims and religious minorities who live in Islamic countries,” continued Syed. “While this development from the UNGA is welcome, it is one step of many more that must be made in order to truly defend the principles of secularism, human rights, and freedom of religion and belief.”