December 17, 2012 Leave a comment
On Wednesday, a Cairo court convicted Alber Saber, a Christian Coptic blogger and activist, and sentenced him to three year in Prison for “Blasphemy” and contempt of religion. Why? Because Saber shared the famous anti-Islam movie “The innocence of Muslims” on networking sites.
Saber, now an atheist, was arrested 3 months ago. Back then, People surrounded his house and called for his death and accused him of heresy, atheism and the promotion of the movie. Saber, along many others, was the victim of a campaign led by Egypt’s most conservative Islamists to restrain free expression. The verdict comes as the country plunges into a political crisis over a draft constitution, it gained the support of Islamists who considered it a step toward stability and was criticized by activists who found it suppressive and that it takes Religion as a shelter.
As terrible as it sounds, the situation is far worse.
According to the Washington post and based on the the annual “freedom of thought” report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, atheists can be executed under the law in seven countries where, obviously, Islam is the state religion. If you’re an atheist living in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, the West African state of Mauritania or the Maldives, never think about coming out. Stay in your godless closet and practice your blasphemous demonic threatening behaviors privately. If you’re lucky enough, and you’re living in Egypt for example your head will not roll for being an atheist, however the law will superficially target you and categorize you as ‘different’ and eventually restrict some of your rights and you can get arrested, like Saber. This is not surprising because in Islam apostasy is punishable, as most of the Muslim scholars agree, and while few punishments are actually happening these days, the existence of these laws are a scandalous violation of human rights, because they exist and they’re legally approved therefore they can be used.
In these seven countries you are not allowed to question the existence of God, or to be skeptical about his teachings because that would threaten the ‘stability’ of the society, ironically these societies ‘legally’allow the following:
- Men can marry four women (at once).
- Men can marry underage girls.
- Men can divorce their wives whenever they want with no restrictions.
- Women can be electronically tracked by men using advanced tracking devices (KSA).
- People can be punished by ‘stoning’ or flogging for offences including fornication, alcohol use and slander among many others.
- Women can’t drive (KSA) and are not allowed to leave the country without permission from their male guardian who has to consent by signing a paper at the airport.
- In case of theft, the hand of the thief should be cut off from the wrist, although it should not be done for just any case of theft because cutting off the hand is a serious matter. Again, this doesn’t happen today, but it is mentioned in the Quran, and it is accepted among the religious scholars. The law exists.
- Men can place their wives in a ‘House of obedience’ if they feel that they are rebellious. (House of obedience is the Muslim term for the house in which a man has to place his wife if she does not follow his orders.)
- Women get half of the inheritance of their brothers.
- Women are not allowed to remarry within 3 months of their divorce.
- Men can marry women of other faiths, but women can’t. Also, they cannot have marriage contracts with men on their own since they have to have male guardians signing for them and in divorce cases they are not allowed to have the custody of their children once they reach the age of 12.
- Short-term contractual marriages for pure sexual pleasure are allowed.
The list is endless. This is just a tiny sample of what’s allowed and what’s not. These rules are not to be criticized or questioned because they are the structure of a perfectly stable society. You, I and anyone else can easily reject these claims because the societies mentioned above are far from being perfect thus the existing rules are flawed and unable to provide social stability, therefore they should be re-evaluated and maybe replaced and this what creates ‘opinions’, obviously. The problem?
Most of these rules belong to the “Shari’a”, the religious law of Islam, which means it’s totally forbidden to question their efficiency, you can’t have an opinion about them. But if these rules created some of the most oppressive and underdeveloped societies in the world, why wouldn’t we?
Because like Saber, we’ll get arrested, marginalized and maybe… killed.
The subject doesn’t matter anyway, it doesn’t matter if it’s about a movie or an article or a book or anything. This is, and I quote from Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui (deputy chief of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program), “an outrageous verdict and sentence for a person whose only `crime’ was to post his opinions online”, because if we belong to a society that is full of contradictions, oppression and insecurity we have the right to ask why? What is the root of this oppression? What is the cause of this constant deterioration?
The answers to these questions are easy, of course. But since they’re considered ‘blasphemous’, I’d rather not share them because you know , “no opinions allowed”.