Islam and Freedom of Speech
This view completely contradicts Islam. In Islam it is the Creator of human beings Allah سبحانه وتعالى who gave the right of speech to people and defined the limits on what is acceptable and unacceptable speech.
The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him speak good (khair) or remain silent.”[Agreed upon. Narrated by Abu Hurayra.]Khair in this hadith means Islam or what Islam approves of.[Hizb ut-Tahrir, ‘American Campaign to Suppress Islam,’ p. 23]
- 1 What is Blasphemy?
- 2 Punishment for Blasphemy
- 3 Practical Application in Islamic Countries
- 4 In History
- 5 In the Modern World
- 5.1 The Muhammad Cartoons Controversies
- 5.2 Nigeria and the Miss World Pageant
- 5.3 Two Pastors in Australia Battle for the Right to Criticize Islam
- 5.4 The Murder of Theo van Gogh
- 5.5 You Can't Call Muhammad a 'Pedophile' in Finland
- 5.6 Geert Wilders and Fitna
- 5.7 The Pope's Speech Controversy
- 5.8 The Satanic Verses Controversy
- 5.9 Hurting the Sentiments of Muslims is a Crime in India
- 5.10 The Muhammad Teddy Bear Blasphemy Case
- 5.11 Malaysian Christians can't use the word "Allah" in worship
- 6 Islam and Self-Censorship
- 7 See Also
- 8 External Links
- 9 References
What is Blasphemy?
As defined by Muslims:
Excerpts and examples to further illustrate what constitutes blasphemy in Islam
It is necessary to have evidence of two reliable witnesses corroborating each other before a Khazi (judge) shall be required to question the witnesses. Thereupon the witnesses will have to make statements describing the words uttered or the acts done which constitute apostasy.
Apostasy can be committed in two ways: (1) by uttering expressly by tongue that he is (or has become) a Mushrik , a polytheist (i.e. one who associates others with the One God and considers them to be worthy of worship) or, by saying something which is bound to connote in its meaning a denial of the existence of God, for instance to say that God has corporeal (physical, material) existence just like any other corporeal object, or (2) by the performance of an act in which one cannot avoid the clear conclusion that it is tantamount to 'kufr' (infidelity, denial of Islam), for example, to throw away with contempt the holy Qur'an or any part of it or even a single word of it; or to throw it in the fire in an insulting, contemptuous manner; or to throw it in such a place as a garbage dump where there are filthy, dirty and repulsive things; or in a spittoon etc. These acts would be blasphemous and constitute apostasy. The same rules apply to the Most Beautiful Names of Allah as well as to books of Ahadith (Prophetic Traditions - i.e. records of the Prophet's sayings, doings and tacit approvals) and it would be considered blasphemy amounting to apostasy. The same rules apply to books of Fiqh (Muslim jurisprudence) provided the acts are done with the intention of defaming or belittling with contempt the Islamic injunctions or the Islamic code of law. This would be regarded as blasphemy/apostasy. Other examples of blasphemy/apostasy are:
• To believe in transmigration of souls or reincarnation because this amounts to rejecting the belief in life-after-death and the world of the Hereafter.
• To deny or reject something of which the whole Muslim Community (Ummah) is agreed upon, e.g. to hold that the obligatory ritual prayers or fasting are not obligatory or to deny legal permissibility (halal) of a thing on which the whole Muslim Community is agreed upon and which is definitely proven to be so on the basis of its proof from the holy Qur'an and Hadith mutawatir.
• To call names and use swear-words in respect of all such Messengers of God, Apostles, Prophets who are accepted as such by the whole Muslim Community.
• This same rule applies to angels.
• This same rule applies to angels and prophets with regard to fault-finding using taunting or derogatory or sarcastic language against them even in respect of their physical/bodily defects.
• To use sarcasm and belittling words in respect of the moral character or the way of life (religion) of the Prophet Muhammad or other prophets.
1. 'Abd al-Rahman Jaziri, Urdu translation, Munzur Ahsan Abbasi, Kitab al-fiqh Ala' al-Madahib al-Arba'ah, Lahore, Pakistan, Ulama Academy, 1985
The Canadian Society of Muslims
Punishment for Blasphemy
Although, the Qur'an does not specify in unequivocal terms any punishment for blasphemy, we may find some serious justifications for death penalty to blasphemers:
Surely (as for) those who speak evil things of Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the here after, and He has prepared for them a chastisement bringing disgrace.
And those who speak evil things of the believing men and the believing women without their having earned (it), they are guilty indeed of a false accusation and a manifest sin.
O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
If the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease and the agitators in the city do not desist, We shall most certainly set you over them, then they shall not be your neighbors in it but for a little while;
Also, Qur'an does specify a punishment for "spreading mischief":-
Hadith and Other Islamic Writings
Muhammad had said to his followers “Whoever curses a prophet kill him,” (Tabarani, Daraqutni) and there are many examples of people during his time who were guilty of blaspheming Islam and its Prophet. Most of these people were assassinated with Muhammad's blessing, and no punishment or compensation was imposed on the murderer.
- 'Abdullah bin Ubai (bin Salul) - Muhammad asked his followers to kill this man for making "evil" statements about Muhammad's family.
- Abu `Afak - Muhammad asked his followers to kill this man for making negative remarks about Muhammad and Islam.
- Ka’b bin Ashraf - Muhammad asked his followers to kill this man for writing inflammatory poetry about Muhammad and Muslim women.
- Asma Bint Marwan - Muhammad asked his followers to kill this woman for composing inflammatory poetry about Islam and Muslims.
- Blind Man's Slave-Mother - When Muhammad learned that one of his followers had stabbed and killed his slave (other sources refer to her as a freed concubine: Umm walad) for making derogatory remarks about Muhammad, he declared that "no retaliation is payable for her blood."
- Al-Nadr Bin Al-Harith - Al Nadir, a storyteller and poet who had mocked him. He was a prisoner of war who was not allowed to be ransomed by their clans and was executed on Muhammad's orders.
Some Muslims claim Muhammad had a Jewish neighbor who threw rubbish at him, and that one day the person became ill and Muhammad visited her. This story is not present in any Islamic texts, nor is it mentioned by any scholars of the past. Thus, this incident in Muhammad's life is most likely a fabrication. In addition, it contradicts Muhammad's nature as found in the copious amount of sahih (authentic) Islamic texts, mentioned above.
Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi, February 6, 2006
The same applies to anyone who curses him, invokes against him, desires to harm him, ascribes to him what does not befit his position or jokes about his mighty affair with foolish talk, satire, disliked words or lies, or reviles him because of any affliction or trial which happened to him or disparages him, because of any of the permissible and well-known human events which happened to him. All of this is the consensus of the ‘ulama' and the imams of fatwa from the time of the Companions until today.
Dr. Takim, 'Aalim Network QR, December 8, 1995
Dr. Zakir Naik, Islamic Voice, April, 2006
Of course, Dr. Naik fails to mention that the other world religions are not political ideologies and therefore are not incorporated in state penal codes.
A clan of Banu Layth in Madeenah was of two minds. A man had proposed marriage to one of their womenfolk during the Jaahiliyyah but they did not accept his proposal. He came to them wearing a hullah (a suit of clothing) and said: “The Messenger of Allaah gave me this hullah to wear and told me to rule over your wealth and your blood.” Then he went and stayed with that woman whom he loved. The people sent word to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he said: “The enemy of Allaah is lying.” Then he sent a man and said: “If you find him alive – although I do not think that you will find him alive – then strike his neck (kill him). And if you find him dead then burn him with fire.” He said: This is what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said concerning “one who tells lies about me deliberately.” Shaykh al-Islam said: “This is a saheeh isnaad according to the conditions of al-Saheeh and we do not find any fault in it.”
Then he said: There are two opinions concerning this hadeeth:
1 – That the apparent meaning should be followed and the one who deliberately tells lies about the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) should be killed. Among those who were of this view were some who said that the one who does that becomes a kaafir thereby. This was the view of several including Abu Muhammad al-Juwayni. Ibn ‘Aqeel quoted his Shaykh, Abu’l-Fadl al-Hamdaani, as saying: “The innovators, liars and fabricators of hadeeth are worse than the heretics because the heretics want to attack Islam from without but these people want to attack it from within. They are like people who try to destroy a city from within whilst the heretics are like those who are laying siege to it from without, and those who are inside open up the fortress. So they are more dangerous to Islam than those who do not appear outwardly to be Muslims.” The main point of this opinion is that telling lies about him (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) is tantamount to telling lies about Allaah. Hence he said: “Telling lies about me is not like telling lies about one of you.” What the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded is what Allaah commanded, and it must be followed just as the commands of Allaah must be followed. Whatever he told us must be believed, just as whatever Allaah told us must be believed. Whoever rejects what he told us or refuses to follow his command is like one who rejects what Allaah told us or refuses to follow the command of Allaah. It is well known that the one who tells lies about Allaah by claiming to be a messenger or prophet of Allaah, or tells false things about Allaah, such as Musaylimah and other fabricators of his ilk, is a kaafir whose blood may be shed, and the same applies to one who tells lies about the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Thus it is clear that telling lies about him is tantamount to disbelieving in him. Hence Allaah mentions the two things together in the verse where He says (interpretation of the meaning): “And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allaah or denies the truth, when it comes to him?” [al-‘Ankaboot 29:68]
Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 43725
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Barraak, Majallat al-Da’wah, Muharram, issue no. 1933. Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 14305
Islam Web Fatwa Center, Fatwa No. 17316, December 11, 2007
Al-Saarim al-Maslool, 2/438Insulting the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is one of the worst of forbidden actions, and it constitutes kufr and apostasy from Islam, according to scholarly consensus, whether done seriously or in jest. The one who does that is to be executed even if he repents and whether he is a Muslim or a kaafir.
Shaykh al Munajid, Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 22809
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
Muhaarabah (waging war against Islam) is of two types: physical and verbal. Waging war verbally against Islam may be worse than waging war physically – as stated above – hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to kill those who waged war against Islam verbally, whilst letting off some of those who waged war against Islam physically. This ruling is to be applied more strictly after the death of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Mischief may be caused by physical action or by words, but the damage caused by words is many times greater than that caused by physical action; and the goodness achieved by words in reforming may be many times greater than that achieved by physical action. It is proven that waging war against Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) verbally is worse and the efforts on earth to undermine religion by verbal means is more effective.Al-Saarim al-Maslool, 3/735
Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 14231
Practical Application in Islamic Countries
- 2009 - Hadi bin Sa’id bin Hamad Al Mutif, an Isma'ili death row prisoner, was sentenced to an additional 5 years imprisonment for criticizing the Saudi justice system. He was sentenced to death in 1996 for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad in 1993. His trial had violated numerous international fair trial standards, and basic rules of due process had not been observed from the time of his arrest to his conviction.
- 2008 - Ra'if Badawa was charged with “setting up an electronic site that insults Islam” for his website that details abuses by the Saudi religious police and questions the predominant interpretation of Islam (Wahhabism). Jeddah's prosecution service referred the case to the court and requested a 5-year prison sentence and a 3 million riyal (US$800,000) fine. Amidst arrest threats and death threats, Badawa fled the country.
- 2007 - Sabri Bogday, a Turkish barber, was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges after an unfair trial. Thankfully, King Abdullah, after receiving correspondence from Turkey's president and prime minister, pardoned Bogday and he was released to Turkey.
- 2005 - Muhammad al-Harbi was sentenced by a Saudi court to more than three years in prison and 750 lashes for speaking to his students about his views on a number of current topics, such as Christianity, Judaism and the causes of terrorism.
- 2004 - Muhammad al-Sahimi was banned from teaching and sentenced to three years in prison and 300 lashes for endorsing allegedly un-Islamic sexual, social and religious practices because of his discussion on the varying concepts of love in poetry.
- 2010 - Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were hanged on January 28 after being convicted of being "enemies of God" and members of an outlawed pro-monarchist group. The semi-official ISNA news agency said the two were charged with plotting to topple the government and had been tried in August – apparently implying that they were part of the protest movement over June's disputed presidential election. But opposition sources said the two were arrested three months before the elections.
- 2002 - Hashem Aghajari, an Iranian university professor, was originally sentenced to death on blasphemy charges after calling for religious reforms and declaring that Muslims were not "monkeys" who should blindly follow the teachings of clerics. The case led to an international outcry, protests from thousands of Iranian students, and the resignation of twenty Tarbiat-Modarres University department chiefs. Although he decided not to appeal the original verdict, his lawyer filed on his behalf. Under pressure from Iranians as well as the international community, the court reduced his sentence to three years imprisonment, and after serving two he was released on bail in 2004.
295. Injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class
295-A. Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any classby insulting Its religionor religious beliefs
295-B. Defiling, etc., of Holy Qur'an295-C. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet
296. Disturbing religious assembly
297. Trespassing on burial places, etc.
298. Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings
298-A. Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of holy personages
298-B.Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc. reserved for certain holy personagesor places298-C.Person of Quadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith
XLV of 1860, 6th October 1860
- 2011 - Mohamed Imran had been accused, jailed, tried and cleared of blasphemy, only to be gunned-down two weeks later.
- 2011 - Although no-one convicted under the blasphemy law has been executed, more than 30 accused have been killed by lynch mobs.
- 2010 - Rubina Bibi, a Christian woman, was arrested after a Muslim woman accused her of blasphemy. The woman claimed Rubina Bibi made a derogatory remark about the Prophet Muhammad. As of March 24, she is still imprisoned.
- 2010 - Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi, a Christian couple, were convicted for touching the Qur'an without washing their hands and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
- 2010 - Qamar David, a Christian arrested in 2006, was found guilty of outraging the religious feelings of Muslims and sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemous messages he sent with his cellphone.
- 2010 - Imran Masih, a 22-year-old Christian shopkeeper, was beaten by a Muslim mob, arrested, and sentenced to life imprisonment for burning what a rival shopkeeper claimed were pages of the Qur'an.
- 2009 - Hector Aleem, a 51-year-old human rights activist, was severely beaten and tortured in January 2009 for objecting to the destruction of a church. As of early 2010, Aleem is still imprisoned.
- 2005 - Younus Shaik, author of Shaitan Maulvi (Satanic Cleric), was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment for writing the allegedly blasphemous book about the Qur’an and the Islamic justice system.
- 2002 - Anwar Keneth, a 40-year-old former government official, was sentenced to death for declaring that he is the Christ and that Islam is a fake religion. Khalid Gill, a leader and spokesman for Pakistan's Christian Liberation Front, said, "We think justice has not been done in the case of Anwar Keneth. [He] should have been treated at a mental hospital."
- 1996 - Zaibun Nisa ("Zebunnisa"), a mentally retarded woman, was imprisoned for over 13 years for blasphemy and had never seen the inside of a courtroom until July 2010 when a Pakistani court finally ordered her release.
- 2008 - Pervez Kambakhsh, a journalist, was sentenced to death by a city court in Mazar-e-Sharif for downloading and distributing an article insulting Islam. He was arrested in 2007 after downloading material relating to the role of women in Islamic societies. His conviction and sentence was upheld by Afghanistan's upper house of parliament. A day later the upper house quickly withdrew its support for his death sentence claiming that it had been a 'technical mistake' and had been unconstitutional. The support for the death sentence had been signed by the senate leader Sibghatullah Mojaddedi. The death sentence was later changed to twenty years imprisonment, but President Karzai secretly pardoned Kambakhsh and he was able to escape the country. Afghanistan's upper house of parliament condemned the release of Kambakhsh as contrary to Islamic values and issued the following statement:
The Wikipedia article on free speech in Sharia: Freedom of speech presents a few historical examples of Islamic leaders who allowed forms of "free speech." It neglects, however, to mention the countless examples of Islamic countries suppressing freedom of speech of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It also fails to provide the passages in the Qur'an and Hadith that condemn people who publicly speak out against Islam. This, of course, comes as no surprise, but one can do a quick search of blasphemy law and be rewarded with an abundance of material.
'Umar bin Al-Khattab's Restrictions on Expression and Speech
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Classic Islamic Law
The following excerpts are from the Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Umdat Al-Salik) by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri and Nuh Ha Mim Keller:
Acts of disbelief (including verbal denials) are punished by death:
Non-Muslims do not have freedom of expression or speech:
(6) are forbidden to openly display wine or pork, (A: to ring church bells or display crosses,) recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make a public display of their funerals and feastdays;
o11.10 The agreement [with the state] is also violated (A: with respect to the offender alone) if the state has stipulated that any of the following things break it, and one of the subjects does so anyway, though if the state has not stipulated that these break agreement, then they do not; namely, if one of the subject people:
(3) leads a Mulim away from Islam;
(5) or mentions something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), or Islam.
o11.11 When a subject's agreement with the state has been violated, the caliph chooses between the four alternatives mentioned above in connection with prisoners of war (o9.14). [See information below.]
o9.13 When a child or woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman's previous marriage is immediately annulled.o9.14 When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph (def: o25) considers the interests (O: of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner's death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy. If the prisoner becomes a Muslim (O: before the caliph chooses any of the four alternatives) then he may not be killed, and one of the other three alternatives is chosen.
In the Modern World
The Muhammad Cartoons Controversies
Nigeria and the Miss World Pageant
- Main Article: Nigeria's Miss World Riots
Two Pastors in Australia Battle for the Right to Criticize Islam
In 2004 two pastors in Australia, Daniel Scot and Danny Nalliah, were villified for speaking out against Islam and its teachings at a Christian conference. Found guilty in the first case, the pastors appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Victoria where they eventually won their case after spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
- Islamic Council of Victoria v Catch the Fire Ministries Inc (Final) 2004 VCAT 2510 (22 December 2004)
- Catch the Fire Ministries Inc & Ors v Islamic Council of Victoria Inc 2006 VSCA 284 (14 December 2006)
The Murder of Theo van Gogh
You Can't Call Muhammad a 'Pedophile' in Finland
Jussi Halla-aho, prominent Finnish writer and elected member of Helsinki City Council, was indicted for incitement against a national group and the disturbance of religious worship for posting an essay addressed to Mika Illman, the Finnish state prosecuting attorney, in response to the Finnish state's prosecution of Seppo Lehto (a well-known racist) in 2008 for posting a blog featuring a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad having sex with a pig.. In the essay, Halla-aho stated emphatically: Prophet Muhammad was a pedophile and Islam revers pedophilia as a religion. Islam is a religion of pedophilia. Pedophilia is Allah’s will.
- Interview with Jussi Halla-aho on Homma TV - Tundra Tabloids - EuropeNews, September 17, 2009
Geert Wilders and Fitna
Great Britain's Home Office denied entry to Dutch MP Geert Wilders when he attempted to enter England on invitation from the UK Independence Party's Lord Pearson to show his controversial film Fitna at the House of Lords. The movie raised ire among Muslims around the world. Pakistan's largest Muslim party, Jamaat-e-Islami, organized a protest outside a mosque in Karachi, and some protesters demanded Pakistan cut diplomatic relations with the Netherlands. Jordan charged Wilders with blasphemy and contempt of Muslims for making an anti-Koran film and ordered him to stand trial in the kingdom. In 2009, the Dutch court ordered prosecutors to put Wilders on trial for making anti-Islamic statements. In response to the indictments, Wilders said he wants to put Islam on trial and that he is “considering calling on radical imams and other idiots as witnesses.” His trial was set for January 2010. On October 13, 2009 Geert Wilders won his appeal to Britain's Asylum and Immigration Tribunal against the British government ban. On November 24, 2009 the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that a planned visit to Turkey by Dutch members of parliament would not be welcome if the delegation included Geert Wilders. Wilders' called the Turkish Foreign Ministry's reaction "very stupid."
The Pope's Speech Controversy
The Satanic Verses Controversy
Hurting the Sentiments of Muslims is a Crime in India
During a summer of 2009 interview with Time 'N Style Luxury magazine, the Muslim Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan reportedly made this statement when asked his opinion about the most impressive figure in history:
In India a complaint was registered against Khan and the publisher of Time 'N Style:
Mufti Mohammed Shoeb Raza Qadri and Mufti Muti-ur-Rehman of the Darul-uloom-Mazhar-e- Islam stated that the entire Muslim community was hurt by Khan's statements and they issued a fatwa. Mufti Mohammad called Shahrukh a Kafir (non-believer) and such person should be thrown out of Islam. He also said that in an Islamic state such remarks would have called for a death penalty against the accused. He declared that Shahrukh's marriage with Gauri was nullified and Shahrukh must not be allowed to be buried in any Muslim graveyard.
Shah Rukh responded to the accusations in an SMS message to IANS:
Time 'N Style clarified the interview and corrected the quote:
There are lots of them, some negative ones like Hitler. On the other hand there are nice ones like Napoleon, Winston Churchill and if I can call it history, then Prophet Mohammed and from recent times - Nelson Mandela. And also Gandhiji and Mother Teresa who are equally impressive.
Bareilly-based Markazi Darul Ifta, an authority for issuing fatwas, dismissed the fatwas issued by clerics. They stated that since Shahrukh has issued clarification that he was misrepresented in his alleged statements he should not be held guilty.
The Muhammad Teddy Bear Blasphemy Case
Malaysian Christians can't use the word "Allah" in worship
In 2007, Malaysia's internal security ministry ruled the term Allah -- long used by Christians in Malaysia to refer to God -- could no longer be used by non-Muslims. When the Herald, the Catholic Church's weekly newsletter, used the word "Allah" it was warned that it was at risk of losing its publication permit.
In early 2009, the Malaysian government issued a new decree restoring a ban on Christian publications using the word "Allah" to refer to God. Home Affairs Minister Syed Hamid Albar said a previous Feb. 16 decree that allowed Christian publications to use the word as long as they specified the material was not for Muslims was a mistake.
In November 2009, the Malaysian government seized 10,000 Bibles because they contained the word Allah to refer to God. The government claimed that the word Allah is Islamic and that its use in Bibles could upset Muslims.
The Roman Catholic Church challenged the ban in court, and in late December 2009 the High Court said it was the constitutional right for the Catholic newspaper, the Herald, to use the word "Allah." The public outcry was intense. On Friday, January 8, three churches in Malaysia were attacked: one was gutted and the other two firebombed. Muslims held rallies after the attacks to protest against Christians using the word "Allah" for God. The next day, a fourth church was damaged when unidentified attackers flung a home-made petrol bomb, and on Sunday three more churches were firebombed and another splashed with black paint. On Monday, January 11, a ninth church was vandalized when someone set fire to its door. On Thursday, January 14, intruders ransacked the offices of the legal team that's defending a Malaysian Roman Catholic newspaper's right to use the word Allah in its Malay-language pages. The Grace Global Prayer church in Rasah, Seremban, became the tenth attacked after its windows were found broken on Friday, January 15. On January 20, Malaysian police announced that they had arrested 8 suspects in connection to the January 7 attack on Kuala Lumpur's Metro Tabernacle Church, which had its office gutted by fire. It was the first and most serious of all the attacks on churches.
According to a PTI report for ZeeNews.com:
If a formal complaint is lodged, the violator could be charged in a court under Selangor Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995 and can be fined upto RM3,000 (about 35,000 rupees) or face two years' in jail or both.
The list of terms not to be used by non-Muslims include Allah, Firman Allah (Allah's decree), solat (daily prayers), Rasul (prophet), mubaligh (missionary), mufti, iman (faith), Kaabah (the Holy cubicle), Qiblat (direction in which the Muslims pray), and Haji (Muslims who have done his pilgrimage), Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) director Mohammed Khusrin Munawi said.
"These are listed under the Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Islamic Religious Enactment. They cannot be used to promote religions other than Islam," he noted.The religious diktat comes amid attacks on nine churches and a Gurdwara in Malaysia following a court verdict to allow a Catholic magazine 'Herald' to use the word "Allah" when referring to God.
In a further attempt to justify the ban, Islamic experts at a conference held by the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) on January 21, 2010 in Kuala Lumpur declared that the translation of Allah as God was factually wrong because it contradicted the concept of God as espoused by Islam in Malaysia. According to IKIM chairman Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the forum succeeded in achieving its objectives, which was to identify the causes and clarify the background of the problem on the translation from the perspective of religion, language social aspects and law. He stated,
Abdullah added that the stand of the experts would be brought to the attention of the government and that another forum on managing crises between religions would also be organized by IKIM on Jan 25. This forum would involve leaders of the Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) and was aimed at seeking solutions to misunderstandings to preserve the multi-racial harmony in the country. Abdullah said IKIM hoped the followers of all religions respected the boundaries of their own religions so that unwanted incidents like what happened recently would not recur. He stated,
Islam and Self-Censorship
The aforementioned incidents involving Islam and its followers, has lead to wide-spread self-censorship and obfuscation of facts among the media in the west. A good example of this, is the UK media handling of the 2001 "race riots" by "Asians" in Oldham, Bradford and Burnley. In reality, these outbreaks of violence had little to do with race. The government, and the then home secretary David Blunkett, were warned by the head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Gurbux Singh, that more violence was to be expected from "Young Muslims who feel disenfranchised" living among the many "Muslim" hotspots in the UK.
Not only is this poor journalism, but it is demonizing an entire race, the majority of whom are not Muslim. We witnessed the same thing occur in 2011, amid the news of widespread grooming of young 'white' girls by 'Asian' men. It was eventually brought to light that these 'Asians' were not only targeting white girls, but also young girls from Hindu and Sikh communities.
Well-known political impressionist, Rory Bremner, during an interview with Sir David Frost on the BBC documentary, Frost on Satire, admitted he feared joking about Islam.
Nick Collins, Telegraph, June 15, 2010
Across the seas in the US, Comedy Central, after receiving threatening statements from the Islamic website Revolution Muslim, self-censored episodes of South Park by removing the word "Muhammad" and a speech about intimidation and fear. Ironically, cartoonist Molly Norris, who created the original piece of artwork which inspired the first ever "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" in response to Comedy Central's self-censorship, eventually disassociated herself from it. Regardless of her u-turn, it was reported in July, 2010, that the American-Yemeni Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki had put her, along with eight other cartoonists, on an execution hit list. The FBI have said that Norris and the other cartoonists have been warned of the "very serious threat."
In an interview with Las Vegas Weekly, The American magician, comedian, musician and writer, Penn Fraser Jillette, who was judged the number one personality who defines Vegas, said he does not takle Islam due to having a family:
We haven't tackled Scientology because Showtime doesn't want us to. Maybe they have deals with individual Scientologists—I'm not sure. And we haven't tackled Islam because we have families.
Meaning, you won’t attack Islam because you’re afraid it’ll attack back...
Right, and I think the worst thing you can say about a group in a free society is that you’re afraid to talk about it—I can’t think of anything more horrific. [...]
You do go after Christians, though...Teller and I have been brutal to Christians, and their response shows that they’re good f**king Americans who believe in freedom of speech. We attack them all the time, and we still get letters that say, “We appreciate your passion. Sincerely yours, in Christ.” Christians come to our show at the Rio and give us Bibles all the time. They’re incredibly kind to us. Sure, there are a couple of them who live in garages, give themselves titles and send out death threats to me and Bill Maher and Trey Parker. But the vast majority are polite, open-minded people, and I respect them for that.
The Las Vegas Weekly, June 24, 2010
Norwegian cartoonist, Finn Graff, who was known for his satirical drawings of Jesus, has also said that he does not draw pictures mocking Muhammad “out of respect.” According to Mark Goldblatt at Reason:
Mark Goldblatt, Reason, May 14, 2010
- Free Speech - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Free Speech
- Journalism For Integration - The Muhammad Cartoons - Encyclopedia Britannica
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- Iran executes two opposition supporters - Ian Black - Guardian.co.uk, January 28, 2010
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- Karachi, a Christian sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy - Fareed Khan - AsiaNews.it, February 27, 2010
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- Pakistani Christian Sentenced to Life under ‘Blasphemy’ Law - Compass Direct News, January 22, 2010
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- Mentally-ill Pakistan 'blasphemer' is released - M. Ilyas Khan - BBC News, July 23, 2010
- Afghan senate backs death penalty - BBC News, January 30, 2008
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- Afghanistan: 20-Year Sentence for Journalist Upheld - Human Rights Watch, March 10, 2009
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- Finnish blogger sentenced for two years - Vasarahammer
- Iran Warns Netherlands Not to Air Controversial 'Anti-Muslim' Film - Fox News, January 21, 2008
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- Dutch MP refused entry to Britain - BBC News, February 12, 2009
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- Jordan charges Dutch politician with blasphemy - Reuters, July 1, 2008
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- Geert Wilders May Ask 'Muslim Idiots' to Testify in Hate Trial - Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu - Israel National News, September 14, 2009
- Wilders' discrimination case in January - DutchNews.nl, September 14, 2009
- Dutch anti-Islam MP overturns British ban - Reuters, October 13, 2009
- Turkey Frets about Geert Wilders' Planned Visit - Bram Vermeulen - Spiegel Online International, November 26, 2009
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- Did Shahrukh Khan Compare the Prophet Mohammad to Hitler? - Desi Hits!, June 18, 2009
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- Interview with Shah Rukh Khan - Time 'N Style Luxury, Issue June-July 2009
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- Christians banned from saying 'Allah' - WorldNetDaily, December 28, 2007
- Malaysia Restores 'Allah' Ban for Christians - Associated Press - Fox News, March 2, 2009
- Malaysia withholds 'Allah Bibles' - Robert Pigott - BBC News, November 4, 2009
- Malaysian court rules Catholic paper can use "Allah" - Royce Cheah - Reuters, December 31, 2009
- Malaysian Muslims rally after church attacks - Razak Ahmad and Julie Goh - Reuters, January 8, 2010
- Fourth church attacked in Malaysia as Allah row deepens - Niluksi Koswanage - Reuters, January 9, 2010
- 2 more churches in Malaysia firebombed in 'Allah' row - CNN, January 10, 2010
- Church attacks in Malaysia deepen racial tension - Eileen Ng, Associated Press - Yahoo! News, January 10, 2010
- Ninth Church Vandalized in Malaysia as Tensions Rise - Seth Mydans - The New York Times, January 11, 2010
- Malaysian Catholics' Lawyers Offices Ransacked - James Hookway - Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2010
- Tenth church hit, attack in Seremban - Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider, January 16, 2010
- Malaysia Police Arrest 8 in Attack on Church - Associated Press - Fox News, January 20, 2010
- Non-Muslims not to use 35 Islamic terms: Diktat - PTI - ZeeNews.com, January 15, 2010
- Allah Not An Accurate Translation For God - Bernama.com (Malaysian News Agency), January 23, 2010
- 'Summer of race riots' feared after clashes in 2001 - Alan Travis, home affairs editor - The Guardian, December 28, 2006
- Chris Brooke - Top detective blasts 'culture of silence' that allows Asian sex gangs to groom white girls... because police and social services fear being branded racist - Daily Mail, January 11, 2011
- Yudhvir Rana - 'Not just White girls, Pak Muslim men sexually target Hindu and Sikh girls as well - The Times of India, January 10, 2011
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- James Gordon Meek and Katie Nelson - Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki puts 'Everybody Draw Mohammed' cartoonist Molly Norris on execution hitlist - NY DAILY NEWS, July 11, 2010
- Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson - Scandinavian Update: Israeli Boycott, Muslim Cartoons - The Brussels Journal,