Dissent Dispatch: volume 3
Unbelief Brief
May 22, 2024
Contest Winners Announced!

Welcome to volume 3 of Dissent Dispatch!

In this edition, you'll find some long-awaited updates on cases featured in our Unbelief Brief, as well as our Persecution Tracker.Plus, we're thrilled to unveil the ⭐️winning artwork⭐️ from our "Draw Muhammad Day Contest," exclusively in this newsletter!"

The Unbelief Brief

In what his lawyers are calling a “first victory” in the case, Nigerian atheist activist Mubarak Bala has had his prison sentence in his blasphemy case reduced. The president of the Nigerian Humanist Association, Mubarak was initially sentenced to 24 years in prison for his activism in a trial filled with “procedural irregularities.” An appeals court has now cut that sentence down to five years, a drastic improvement—but, as his lawyers said, it is only an initial victory. That he was charged with a crime at all, let alone imprisoned, for exercising his human right to freedom of conscience is unacceptable.

Moving on to another alleged crime of blasphemy, this one in Lebanon, religious authorities in the country have “filed criminal complaints” against Shaden Fakih, an openly lesbian stand-up comedian. Fakih has gained fame for “her jabs at religious authorities and the sectarian factions that have long dominated the country’s politics,” and she is also an LGBT rights activist. The “offense” she committed apparently relates to a comedy sketch about “Muslim Friday prayers” she performed. As ever, it seems that jokes, of all things, are what religious authorities find most dangerous.

Finally, in Malaysia, police are investigating a disturbing incident in which someone wrote a comment “mocking Islam” on a Domino’s receipt, which was then posted to social media. Though news reports did not mention what exactly was written, Domino’s has made sure to make their own anti-blasphemy convictions known, issuing a statement that they “do not tolerate discrimination or aggression of any kind” and “are deeply disappointed that a customer made a hurtful and disrespectful comment when placing their order.” Reportedly, someone acting in an official capacity for the pizza chain was the one who filed a police report over this very important event. The good people of Malaysia can rest easy that multinational fast food franchises will stand firm to defend the honor of Islam.

P.S.: for those with accounts on the website formerly known as Twitter, check out this brief thread from Roya Boroumand of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center on the “corpse-paved” career of Iran’s recently-deceased president.

EXMNA Updates

🎨 Draw Muhammad Day Contest Winners Announced! 🎉

This Monday, May 20th, marked Draw Muhammad Day, and we're excited to announce the winners of our first-ever "Draw Muhammad Day Contest"! 🏆

🥉 3rd Place: Bagels wowed us with their creative depiction featuring Muhammad wearing a toilet paper roll on his head adorned with a crescent and star, clutching the Quran and a scimitar.

🥈 2nd Place: Anonymous grabbed second with a thought-provoking illustration showing Muhammad pointing at a chalkboard highlighting the lunacy of Islamic offenses.

🥇 1st Place: And the grand prize goes to...

a submission by M.C. titled "Muhammad Goes to Art School: Paints himself", featuring a clever depiction of Muhammad painting a self-portrait.

Congratulations to all our winners! 🎉 A big thank you to everyone who participated! Your submissions were truly inspiring. Stay tuned as we share some honorable mentions on our social media. And remember, there are more contests on the horizon!

Persecution Tracker Updates

One update to a case that began in 2020: Bangladeshi university student Tithy Sarker, who was suspended from school, arrested, and jailed over an allegedly-blasphemous Facebook post, has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment after nearly four years of waiting. Read about her case here.

Thank you once again for joining us for this week's Dissent Dispatch! If you found this informative and entertaining, consider sharing it with a friend who might also appreciate our work.

Until next week,

The Team at Ex-Muslims of North America

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