'Year of Blasphemy' Reveals Deeds Much More Offensive Than Any Word Could Ever Be


Accused blasphemer

Over at the fine group weblog Popehat, lead blogger Ken has compiled an impressive, helpful, and depressing "Year of Blasphemy" documenting news reports each month having specifically to do with that word. Prompted by calls from some Western academics and commentators to re-examine American values of free speech in the context of differing global attitudes, the piece is worth bookmarking and reading in full. Here is a representative sample of the most recent month:

September 2012:

In Pakistan, police revealed that the clerical accuser of the 11-year-old-girl discussed above may have fabricated the evidence against her.

Also in Pakistan, a shopkeeper who failed to close his store for a protest against the "Innocence of Muslims" film was accused by protestors of blaspheming Mohammed and arrested.

In Moscow, a local theater shut down a production of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" after local prosecutors launched a blasphemy investigation at the request of offended Christians.

In Egypt, a man was arrested for blasphemy after a mob surrounding his house, accusing him of posting a clip from the "Innocence of Muslims" film. An Egyptian court affirmed the six-year blasphemy sentence of another man accused of posting pictures offensive to Muslims on Facebook and insulting President Morsi.

Finally, in Switzerland, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation renewed demands for worldwide blasphemy laws through the United Nations, calling for the West to "come out of hiding from behind the excuse of freedom of expression."

Ken's conclusion:  

anti-blasphemy laws are a tool for religious majorities to suppress religious minorities, and a mechanism for the more powerful to oppress the relatively powerless, and tend to be used in a lawless manner resembling modern witch hunts. That is the norm we are asked to embrace.

Reason on blasphemy here; on the Innocence of Muslims controversies here.