Our bi-weekly roundup of news on Islam, freethought, and secularism
Blasphemy Laws Return to Denmark
First reported to be an object of consideration months ago, the Danish government has finally passed its bill banning public desecrations of scripture.
Injustice Lengthens in Nigeria
Since her arrest, Rhoda Jatau's hearing has been continually postponed—and the legal system last week once again refused to set a date for her trial.
Iran's New Hijab Law Hits a Snag—But Probably only Temporarily
Although the Iranian parliament approved a bill which would have enacted new, stricter punishments for women failing to wear head coverings (among a host of other provisions), the Guardian Council has sent it back to parliament.
A Pakistan Senate Body... Speaks Against Blasphemy Laws?
Although the parliamentary body's desire to end "abuse" of blasphemy laws is a step in the right direction, it's highly unlikely to make a dent in the country's systemic culture of religious militancy and vigilante violence.
The Prophet Muhammad in a Coloring Book
In Kenya, a publishing company faced uproar from Muslim parents and the Ministry of Education as a book for 2nd grade students included a depiction of Muhammad.
The Qur’an desecration controversy spreads further into Europe
MENA governments are increasingly demanding Europe stop Qur'an desecrations within their own borders—with blasphemy laws.
Egypt: Allegations of Atheist Reversion
The Arab Atheists Magazine in Egypt clarifies: no, its atheist founder has not repented and reverted to Islam.
Blasphemy Laws for Me, Not Thee
A Pakistan court has ruled: Ahmadis do not count.
Denmark Set to Ban Scripture Burnings
After a string of public Qur’an burnings in the country, Danish authorities are taking steps to formally criminalize the public burning of religious texts.
Pakistan Makes Progress in Further Tightening Blasphemy Laws
The ongoing effort to strengthen the country’s blasphemy laws has advanced, with a law increasing penalties for insulting “sacred personalities” making it through the Senate.
Iran: It is Mental Illness Not to Wear Hijab
To judges in theocratic Iran, wearing a hat instead of a hijab is apparently only conceivable for an insane woman.
UN Human Rights Council Says Qur'an Burning Not a Human Right
Although some countries dissented, the UNHRC has reportedly voted in favor of a resolution to condemn public burnings of scripture.
Another Qur'an Burning
A demonstration outside the Stockholm Central Mosque has ignited a storm of controversy.
Pakistan Clamps Down
Pakistan, after lengthy talks with the Islamist extremist TLP, has agreed to take yet further measures against blasphemy in the country.
Iran Sends Executions into Overdrive
In the month of May, Iran seems to have seriously ramped up executions, even compared to the greater-than-usual pace which had been seen in the first third of this year.
Blasphemy Executions in Iran Continue
Iran’s bloodthirsty criminal rulers have been emboldened beyond the point of no return.
In Poland, Mary + Rainbow = Blasphemy
Poland, seemingly aspiring to be more like the theocracies of the Islamic world every day, just made another stride in that direction with a recent conviction.
The Hamline University Incident on Repeat
A depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in the classroom is once again making waves and sparking investigations.
A Blasphemy Crackdown May Be Imminent in Pakistan
Pakistani authorities seem to believe that they are not being draconian enough with the blasphemers lurking in the country’s shadows.
Blasphemy in Bahrain
Members of a "cultural society" in Bahrain are on trial for free expression. Plus, a positive response to the recent Qur'an damage incident from the UK Home Office.
At the UN, Distortions about Women and Islam
Plus, a new blasphemy controversy at a UK school.
Poisoning Schoolgirls in Iran
A spate of attacks primarily on girls' schools has led to illness in several Iranian cities. Plus, a blasphemy arrest in Bangladesh.
Pakistan Proves Itself a Lawless Nation of Terror—Again
Another horrific and brutal lynching of a blasphemy suspect occurs in Pakistan shortly after state efforts to censor "blasphemy" on Wikipedia. Plus, a Hamline-type incident repeats in the miniature.
Domestically and Abroad, the Iranian Regime Knows Only Terror
Theocratic authorities in Iran continue to brutally punish protestors while trying to murder their critics in the West. Plus, Turkey's outrage over free expression.
Don't Insult the Turkish President -- Or Else
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long combined two characteristics to make for an especially unpleasant rule: routinely playing footsie with Islamists and inching his country closer to autocracy.
Iranian Clerics: Amputate Fingers and Toes to Force Submission
The already-draconian response to protests in the Islamic Republic is, in the eyes of some, not draconian enough.
In Indonesia, Banning Premarital Sex is the Compromise
Indonesia’s new draconian criminal code, which any moralistic theocrat would celebrate as a victory, was—disturbingly—really a compromise from the perspective of religious hardliners. Plus: the brutish cruelty of the Iranian regime rages on.
Iran Near a Boiling Point
It has now been more than two months since the killing of Mahsa Amini, and the discontent and unrest show no signs of abating. Plus: blasphemy cases in Pakistan and India.
The Lies of the “New and Improved” Taliban
The Taliban have proven unsurprisingly contradictory in word and deed on women’s rights in their new Islamic Emirate. LGBT Afghans and Hazaras, along with many women who find themselves in new danger, are either fleeing the country or going into hiding.
The wolves descend on Afghanistan
The Taliban mounted a quick takeover of Afghanistan, condemning it to a dark future. In its respect for human rights, the country now seems likely to descend even lower, making countries where blasphemy prosecutions remain high appear enlightened.
The intensifying plight of Pakistan’s Ahmadi minority
Developments on blasphemy cases in Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, continuing persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan, a stabbing in London, and a look at Asia Bibi’s post-blasphemy-acquittal life in Canada.
An Iranian plot to kidnap an American regime critic
In the past few weeks: a plot to kidnap Masih Alinejad, Pakistan continues to prosecute blasphemy, Iran makes life harder for its religious minorities, and the Taliban continues to gain ground in Afghanistan.
Thoughtcrimes, blasphemy, and sexuality persecuted
This week: a progressive Islamic scholar's home raided by an Islamist mob, Pakistani feminists battle blasphemy accusations, Imran Khan flops attempt at compelling the West to limit free speech, and a 20-year-old beheaded by family in Iran for being gay.
Religious Havoc Everywhere, Persecution in Pakistan
In recent weeks: obstinacy from the theocrats of Pakistan, an alarming arrest in the UAE, and persisting religious madness of all stripes the world over.
Pakistan gives in to domestic terrorists, Afghan Taliban declares victory against the US, Iran censors female referee, and an Algerian academic is imprisoned
In the past few weeks: far-right Islamists in Pakistan take officers hostage, the Taliban in Afghanistan celebrate the withdrawal of US forces as a victory, Covid skyrockets in India, and an Algerian academic is given three years' imprisonment.
A trans madrassah, honor killings, and human rights flouted
In the last month: both progress and regression in the West, the opening of Pakistan’s first trans-only madrassah, persecution in the Indian subcontinent, the killings of two Egyptian women, and the death of Islam-critical feminist author Nawal El-Saadawi.
Burqa bans and blasphemy accusations
Over the last few weeks: burqa bans in Switzerland and Sri Lanka, new guidelines for Iranian cartoons, a women’s march in Pakistan pelted with blasphemy accusations, and developments in two high-profile cases in France and Australia.