Muslim Statistics (Free Speech)

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Free Speech[edit]

Worldwide[edit]

Of the world's 192 countries, 121 are electoral democracies. However, only 11 of the 47 nations (23 percent) with an Islamic majority have democratically elected governments. In the non-Islamic world, which comprises 145 states, 110 are electoral democracies (75 percent). Therefore, a non-Islamic state is over three times more likely to be democratic than an Islamic state. None of the 16 Arab states of the Middle East and North Africa is a democracy.

In addition to a democracy divide, there is a dramatic freedom deficit between majority Islamic countries and the rest of the world. Of the states with an Islamic majority, only one, Mali, is rated Free. Eighteen are rated Partly Free, and 28 are considered Not Free. By contrast, in the non-Islamic world, 85 countries are Free, 40 are Partly Free, and 20 are Not Free.
. . .
In the non-Islamic states of East-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, there are 11 Free countries. There is not a single Free country among the countries in those regions with a majority Islamic population.
. . .

This year's survey rates 48 states as Not Free. All deny their citizens a broad range of basic freedoms. Of these nations, 28 have majority Islamic populations. Ten of the Not Free countries received the lowest ratings for political rights and civil liberties. Two--Cuba and North Korea--are one-party Marxist-Leninist regimes. Seven--Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Turkmenistan--are majority Islamic countries.[1]
December 2001
In Nouakchott, a dusty city wedged between the Atlantic ocean and western dunes of the Sahara, a young hip-hop fan coordinates a diverse group of hackers targeting websites worldwide in the name of Islam.

Logging on to his computer, he greets his Facebook followers with a "good morning all" in English before posting links to 746 websites they have hacked in the last 48 hours along with his digital calling card: a half-skull, half-cyborg Guy Fawkes mask.

He calls himself Mauritania Attacker, after the remote Islamic republic in west Africa from which he leads a youthful group scattered across the Maghreb, southeast Asia and the West.

As jihadists battle regional governments from the deserts of southern Algeria to the scrubland of north Nigeria, Mauritania Attacker says the hacking collective which he founded, AnonGhost, is fighting for Islam using peaceful means.

"We're not extremists," he said, via a Facebook account which a cyber security expert identified as his. "AnonGhost is a team that hacks for a cause. We defend the dignity of Muslims."
. . .
He represents a new generation of Western-style Islamists who promote religious conservatism and traditional values, and oppose those they see as backing Zionism and Western hegemony.

In April, AnonGhost launched a cyber attack dubbed OpIsrael that disrupted access to several Israeli government websites, attracting the attention of security experts worldwide.

"AnonGhost is considered one of the most active groups of hacktivists of the first quarter of 2013," said Pierluigi Paganini, security analyst and editor of Cyber Defense magazine.

An online archive of hacked Web sites, Hack DB, lists more than 10,400 domains AnonGhost defaced in the past seven months.
. . .
Mauritania Attacker says his activities are split between cyber cafes and his home, punctuated by the five daily Muslim prayers.
. . .
His cyber threats are often accented with smiley faces and programmer slang, and he posts links to dancefloor hits and amusing Youtube videos. But his message is a centuries-old Islamist call for return to religious purity.

"Today Islam is divisive and corrupt," he said in an online exchange. "We have abandoned the Koran."

Mauritanian Attacker aims to promote "correct Islam" by striking at servers hosted by countries they see as hostile to sharia law. "There is no Islam without sharia," he said.

Mauritania is renowned for its strict Islamic law. The sale of alcohol is forbidden and it is one of only a handful of states where homosexuality and atheism are punished by death.

The quality of Mauritania's religious scholars and koranic schools, or madrassas, attract students from around the world. Mauritanians have risen to prominent positions in regional jihadist groups, including al Qaeda's north African branch AQIM.
. . .
He says he supports Islamists in Mauritania but opposes his government's support for the West, which sees the country as one of its main allies in its fight against al Qaeda in the region.
. . .
Most of AnonGhost's campaigns have simply defaced Web sites, ranging from kosher dieting sites to American weapon aficionado blogs, with messages about Islam and anti-Zionism.

It has attacked servers, often hosting small business websites, located in the United States, Brazil, France, Israel and Germany among others.

Mauritania Attacker and the AnonGhost crew say these countries have "betrayed Muslims" by supporting Israel and by participating in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"We are the new generation of Muslims and we are not stupid," read a message posted on the Web site of a party supply business in Italy. "We represent Islam. We fight together. We stand together. We die together."[2]
June 2013

Arab World[edit]

Around 50% of Arab students surveyed were in favour of stricter censorship of the Internet.

So reads the finding of a survey by the American University of Beirut, that comes at a time when some Middle-East countries are threatening to block certain sites on BlackBerry smartphones.

Taking in more than 2,700 university and high-school students in Lebanon, Jordan and the Arab Emirates, the study, which features in a report in business weekly Arabian Business, shows that around 40% of students are in favour of increased levels of censorship of the Web. Added to these, are 8% who believe that access to web content should be "completely limited or banned".

Despite the support shown for censorship by the survey, students have Western habits when it comes to illegally downloading music, games and films. Four out of five interviewees in fact admitted to never having paid for online content despite having downloaded at least one. [3]
August 2010

Denmark[edit]

55 percent of Danish Muslims think it should be forbidden to criticize religion.
. . .
These are the results of an opinion poll that Capacent har conducted for DR from a sample of 523 Muslims.[4]
April 2009
In August 2011, it was reported that more than 900 Danish websites had been hacked by groups from various countries along with individual hackers. Typically, the attacks replaced home pages of "anti-Islam" sites with pro-Islam messages and condemned the publication of "blasphemous images of the Prophet." Noteworthy is the fact that these religious hackers do not find such illegal activity to be contrary to their Islamic beliefs. As one hacker put it, she had achieved her goals "By the grace of God".[5][6]
August 2011

Indonesia[edit]

Acts of violence in the survey on religion and violence by the Center for Islamic and Social Studies (PPIM) ranged from 0.1 percent of respondents admitting their involvement in demolishing or arson of churches constructed without official permits, to 1.3 percent [2.6 million] who committed "intimidation" against those they considered had blasphemed Islam.
. . .
The survey, conducted from 2001 to March 2006, found 43.5 percent of respondents were ready to wage war on threatening non-Muslim groups, 40 percent would use violence against those blaspheming Islam and 14.7 percent would tear down churches without official permits.[7]
July 2006

Iran[edit]

Over 5 million websites are reportedly blocked in Iran, but Iranians use proxy software and virtual private networks (VPN) to access them.

Iranian officials have, for over three decades, been waging what they call a "battle against the invasion of Western culture."

This has led to blockades of "immoral" internet sites and banned Western music and movies. However, pirated versions of those are easily available on the black market.

The country recently established a cyberpolice unit to better police the internet and even plans to introduce its own national internet, though this has been postponed several times.[8]
January 2012
Many who die for drug offenses were originally arrested for resisting the regime. Iran executed 670 people in 2011, including more than 20 for offenses against Islam, a UN investigator said in Geneva on Monday. The vast majority of people Iran executed in 2011 were convicted of drug offenses[9]
March 2012

Morocco[edit]

Between March and June authorities expelled 128 foreign Christians in an effort to purge the country of any foreign Christian influences. In April nearly 7,000 Muslim religious leaders backed the deportations by signing a document describing the work of Christians within Morocco as “moral rape” and “religious terrorism.” The statement from the religious leaders came amid a nationwide mudslinging campaign geared to vilify Christians in Morocco for “proselytism” – widely perceived as bribing people to change their faith.

In the same time period, Moroccan authorities applied pressure on Moroccan converts to Christianity through interrogations, searches and arrests.[10]
September 2010

Pakistan[edit]

According to data collected by the Catholic Church’s National Commission on Justice and Peace (NCJP), at least 964 people have been indicted for desecrating the Qur‘an or defiling the name of the prophet Muhammad between 1986 and this year, including 479 Muslims, 119 Christians, 340 Ahmadis, 14 Hindus and 10 from other religions. Since its inception, the law has been used a pretext for attacks, personal vendettas and extra-judicial murders: 33 in all by individuals or enraged mobs.

Since 2001, at least 50 Christians have been killed after being accused of blasphemy, the NCJP said. The list of victims of Muslim extremists also includes members of other religious minorities as well as Muslims. The Ahmadi community—a Muslim group that does not view Muhammad as the final prophet and is thus deemed heretical by Sunnis and Shias—has lamented the loss of at least 12 of its members this year. Since 1984, 107 Ahmadis have been murdered and 719 arrested.[11]
October 2009
Pakistan's blasphemy law has been in the spotlight since a Christian, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to hang in Punjab last November.

She denies claims she insulted the Prophet Muhammad during a row with Muslim women villagers about sharing water.

Although no-one convicted under the law has been executed, more than 30 accused have been killed by lynch mobs.

Critics say that convictions under the law hinge on witness testimony, which is often linked to grudges.[12]
March 2011
Pakistan's telecommunications agency has issued a list of words that it considers obscene or offensive, telling mobile phone companies to block text messages that contain them.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) deemed 586 Urdu words and 1,109 English words offensive or pornographic, according to reports in local media.
. . .
Included in the list are words such as "intercourse," "condom" and "breast," as well as seemingly ordinary words like "period," "hostage" and "flatulence."

Among the more bizarre are "monkey crotch," "wuutang" and "Jesus Christ."[13]
November 2011
Ninety-five percent of prosecutions in Pakistan for insulting the Prophet Mohammed or the Qur’an are false, according to a high-profile Muslim lawyer in the country.

According to the legal expert, who cannot be named for security reasons, in most cases the law is abused by people bent on carrying out a personal vendetta.
. . .

According to the Catholic Church’s Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakistan [a country that is 96% Muslim],[14] 38 people were accused of blasphemy last year, of whom 14 were Christians.[15]
December 2011
If guilty of blasphemy, the child should be punished according to the laws of the country. This is a widespread view among Muslims in Pakistan, whether laymen or religious leaders, regarding the tragedy of an 11 year old Christian girl who is disabled and was recently charged under the "black law". To date the child is being detained under lock and key in a reform school - pending a full hearing for release on bail - for desecrating a few pages of a book that contained verses from the Koran (see AsiaNews 19/08/2012 An 11-year-old disabled Christian girl arrested for blasphemy, 300 families flee). Interviewed by AsiaNews on the issue scholar Mehmood Ahmed Khan, a member of the Islamic Ideology Council (IIc), said that "Rimsha is a minor, but if she is mentally stable and committed the crime, child or not she should be punished." He adds, "no one can be allowed to desecrate the Koran."[16]
August 2012
As many as 2,000 women and girls from various minority sects were forcibly converted to Islam through rape, torture and kidnappings, while 161 people were charged with blasphemy in 2011, according to a report by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).[17]
September 2012
Since 1990 alone, fifty-two people have been extra-judicially murdered on charges of blasphemy.

The number of blasphemy-related incidents shot up during Zia’s rule, during which 80 cases were reported to the courts compared to only seven such cases reported during the British rule from 1851 to 1947.

This information was revealed in a report titled: ‘Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan; Historical Overview’ launched on Friday by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS).
. . .
Since 1987, more than 247 blasphemy cases were registered or raised, directly affecting the lives of some 435 people.
. . .

The CRSS report said that among the 52 people extra-judicially murdered for being implicated in blasphemy charges, 25 were Muslims, 15 were Christians, five were Ahmadis, one was Buddhist and one was Hindu. Known blasphemy cases in Pakistan show that from 1953 to July 2012 there were 434 ‘offenders’ in Pakistan, among them 258 were Muslims, 114 Christians, 57 Ahmadis and four Hindus.[18]
September 2012

Saudi Arabia[edit]

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has objected to the proposed new top-level internet domains .virgin and .baby – applied for by Virgin Group and Johnson & Johnson respectively – on the grounds that they will encourage pornography.

The bizarre claims are among 163 complaints about new dot-word gTLD applications that the Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission has filed with domain name gatekeeper ICANN over the last few days.
. . .
The Saudi government has also objected to gTLD applications relating to alcohol and gambling – .wine, .vodka, .casino, .poker, .bar and .pub – on “moral” and health grounds.
. . .
It also wants ICANN to rejects bids for gTLD strings potentially related to sex and romance: it's objected to .dating, .hot, .sex, .porn, .sexy and .gay.
. . .

Some of its objections are purely religious in nature. It's objected to .catholic, .bible, .islam, .halal and others. The applications for .tattoo, .sucks and .wtf also receive negative comments.[19]
August 2012

Turkey[edit]

Turkey has more journalists in prison than any other country in the world,
. . .

The group [International Press Institute] based its release on a report published by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, that said 57 journalists are currently in prison in Turkey. As of December, Iran and China each had 34 journalists behind bars.

“While Iran and China topped lists in December by reportedly jailing some 34 journalists each, Turkey, a candidate for membership in the European Union, has nearly doubled that number five months later, raising questions about the country’s commitment to freedom of the press and the legitimacy of its democratic image,”
. . .
The IPI also drew attention to the fact that there are between 700 and 1,000 ongoing cases in Turkey that could result in the imprisonment of more journalists.

“The sheer number of cases poses fundamental questions about the legal provisions governing journalism in Turkey and raises concerns that the number of journalists in prison could further increase,” said Mijatovic.[20]
April 2011
Thousands of Turkish websites will most likely be closed after Turkey’s islamist government, via its Directorate of Telecommunications ordered the banning of the use of 138 words cited as as “indecent” or “provocative”.

A lawmaker from the opposition Republican People’s Party told the newspaper Milliyet: ‘our studies have shown that over 120,000 websites in the country will be closed’ [because of the measure].
. . .
Existing sites containing the offending words will be ordered to close.

The blacklist are words such as “escort”, “goal” and “marriage” and “home”, “shock” and “fire”. “Gay” and “prohibited” are also banned, and the number “31″, which in colloquial Turkish means masturbation.[21]
May 2011
"There are 16,000 cases pending against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and one thousand of these concern freedom of expression," said Jagland, who underlined that the figure is the source of "much concern", not least because it has a "freezing effect" on the freedom "of journalism and journalists in Turkey". The secretary general did not give any comparative figures on the number of cases faced by other countries but said that the one thousand brought against Turkey were "a lot" and the sign that "there are problems here".[22]
November, 2011
Measuring strictly in terms of imprisonments, Turkey—a longtime American ally, member of NATO, and showcase Muslim democracy—appears to be the most repressive country in the world.
. . .
According to the Journalists Union of Turkey, ninety-four reporters are currently imprisoned for doing their jobs. More than half are members of the Kurdish minority, which has been seeking greater freedoms since the Turkish republic was founded, in 1923. Many counts of arrested journalists go higher; the Friends of Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, a group of reporters named for two imprisoned colleagues, has compiled a detailed list of a hundred and four journalists currently in prison there.[23]
March 2012
100 journalists and 35 newspaper distributors were in jail in the first quarter of 2012. 21 people, including 12 journalists, were facing imprisonment of 254 years in total under allegations of "propaganda for an illegal organization"... by "following up certain news and incidents", "writing a book", "government-critical journalism" or "working for a Kurdish media outlet" claims.
. . .

14 people, including 10 journalists were facing imprisonment by reason of alleged "insult" during the report period. 10 journalists were judged by imprisonment of 28 years and monetary fines of TL 20,000 (€ 8,626) and the others were facing imprisonment of 6 years and TL 10,000 (€ 4,313).

7 journalists were sentenced to imprisonment of 9 months and monetary fines of TL 13,500 (€ 5,822), 6 people were sentenced to imprisonment of 2 years 2 months 20 days and monetary fines of TL 8,480 (€ 3,657) by reasons of alleged "insult", attacks on "personal rights" and compensation claims. A newspaper was sentenced to monetary fines of TL 4,000 (€ 1725).

During the time of the previous quarterly report, 4 people were judged by imprisonment of 77 years 3 months in total within the scope of alleged "insult" and 3 of them were sentenced to 11 months of imprisonment and monetary fines of TL 10,580 (€ 4563).
. . .
In the first 3 months, Özgür Gündem, Atılım, Demokratik Vatan, Demokratik Ulus, Yeni Demokratik Yaşam newspapers seized, suspended and banned under allegations of "propaganda for an illegal organization". The Newroz poster of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and concert posters of Grup Yorum were banned confiscated. An investigation opened about 10 books published by Aram Publishing.
. . .

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) stopped 2 programs, gave 327 warnings and 94 monetary fines to radio and television institutions in the first quarter of 2012.[24]
May 2012

United Kingdom[edit]

78% of British Muslims want limits on free speech when it comes to criticizing religion.

[From NOP Research, broadcast by Channel 4-TV] Seventy-eight percent support punishment for the people who earlier this year published cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed. Sixty-eight percent support the arrest and prosecution of those British people who "insult Islam." When asked if free speech should be protected, even if it offends religious groups, 62 percent of British Muslims say No, it should not.

Also concerning freedom of speech, as the NOP Research survey reports, "hardcore Islamists" constitute nine percent of the British Muslim population. A slightly more moderate group is composed of "staunch defenders of Islam." This second group comprises 29 percent of the British Muslim population. Individuals in this group aggressively defend their religion from internal and external threats, real or imagined.

The scary reality is that only three percent of British Muslims "took a consistently pro-freedom of speech line on these questions."[25]
August 2006

Cartoon Violence[edit]

Muslim World[edit]

Two-thirds of Saudis, Turks and Pakistanis (and majorities in the United Arab Emirates and Palestinian Territories) feel that the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad reflect Western antagonism against Islam itself.[26]
June 2006

Denmark[edit]

53% of the Danes still believe Jyllands-Posten did nothing wrong by publishing the cartoons, while 38% think the cartoons should never have been published and the others are not sure.[27]
September 2006
Below half of all Danish muslims distances themselves of the violent reactions in the Middle East to the Jyllands Posten Muhammed Cartoons events in a clear-cut fashion. And 11 percent "have complete understanding" for flag-burning, destroying of Embassies and boycotts of Danish goods, according ta a new poll." 53 percent say that they feel more like muslims than Danes in the current situation and 36 percent say they feel more like both a Muslim and a Dane. The rest feel more like a Dane.[28]
February 2006

Norway[edit]

90% of Muslims living in Norway thought it was wrong to draw and print the Muhammed cartoons. 7% did not think it was wrong and 3% did not know. The corresponding numbers for the population at large was 48%, 43% and 8%. Asked whether publishing drawings that are perceived as insulting should be punished harder, 42% of the muslims agreed, while 45% disagreed and 13% did not know. The rest of the population: 14%, 80% and 6%. Muslims between 30 and 44 years felt less strongly that it should have been punished harder. Asked if they thought the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in Norway had become worse after the riots, 47% of Muslims answered yes, 45% answered no, and 8% didn't know. The numbers for the rest of the population were 62%, 24% and 14%. [29]
April 2006


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References[edit]

  1. "New Study Details Islamic World's Democracy Deficit", Freedom House, December 18, 2001 (archived), http://www.freedomhouse.org/article/new-study-details-islamic-worlds-democracy-deficit. 
  2. Elise Knutsen, "Insight: From remote Mauritania, hacker fights for Islam worldwide", Reuters, June 28, 2013 (archived), http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-mauritania-hacker-insight-20130628,0,1439697,full.story. 
  3. Internet: Survey, half of Arab students favour censorship - ANSAmed, August 6, 2010
  4. Orla Borg - Muslimer i Danmark: Forbudt at kritisere religion - Jyllands-Posten, April 27, 2009
  5. For further details, see: Websites Censored by Islamic Governments
  6. Woman disables anti-Islam websites - Arab News, August 18, 2011
  7. Ridwan Max Sijabat - Survey reveals Muslim views on violence - The Jakarta Post, July 28, 2006
  8. Iranian cleric calls Facebook 'un-Islamic', membership a 'sin' - Haaretz, January 7, 2012
  9. Benjamin Weinthal - UN: Iran executes anti-Islam citizens - Jerusalem Post, March 14, 2012
  10. Moroccan Convert Serving 15 Years for His Faith- The Christian Post, September 18, 2010
  11. Blasphemy law: a long list of injustices (An overview) - AsiaNews, October 29, 2009
  12. Pakistan Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti shot dead - BBC News, March 2, 2011
  13. Pakistan bans 'monkey crotch', 'Jesus Christ' - MSNBC, November 18, 2011
  14. Population By Religion - Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan
  15. Eva-Maria Kolmann and John Pontifex - Pakistan: 95 percent of blasphemy charges are false - ACN News, December 6, 2011
  16. Jibran Khan - Pakistani Muslims: Disabled 11 yr-old Christian should be punished - AsiaNews, August 24, 2012
  17. 2,000 minorities girls converted to Islam forcibly: report - Daily Times, September 5, 2012
  18. Umer Nangiana - CRSS report: 52 murdered in two decades over blasphemy - The Express Tribune, September 8, 2012
  19. Kevin Murphy - Saudi royals seek ban on .virgin, .sex, .catholic, .wtf and 159 MORE - The Register, August 14, 2012
  20. Turkey 'world leader' in imprisoned journalists, IPI report says - Hürriyet Daily, April 8, 2011
  21. Now Turkey’s Islamist Government Censors Words From Internet! - Un:dhimmi, May 1, 2011 (via Vesti BG)
  22. Turkey: many violations of freedom of expression - ANSAmed, November 15, 2011
  23. Dexter Filkins - Turkey’s Jailed Journalists - The New Yorker (Daily Comment), March 9, 2012
  24. Emel Gülcan - ‘World Press Freedom Day’ with 100 Journalists in Prison! - BIA, May 2, 2012
  25. Bootie Cosgrove-Mather - Many British Muslims Put Islam First - CBS News, August 14, 2006
  26. New Polls throughout Muslim World: Humanitarian Leadership by US Remains Positive - Terror Free Tomorrow, June 14, 2006
  27. Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson - “Danish Queen Masterminded Muhammad Cartoon Affair” - The Brussels Journal, October 2, 2006
  28. Hver 10. danske muslim accepterer flagafbrænding - B.T. Nyheder, March 12, 2006 (English translation)
  29. Holdninger til integrasjon og internasjonal konflikter blant muslimer i Norge og den norske befolkningen generelt - TNS Gallup, April 2006, page 10 and 12 (Norwegian)