Atheist Arrested in Bangladesh—Atheism Might Be Banned in Egypt

Two recent stories in the news, plus a third item about Malaysia.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Agence France Press reports:

Bangladesh police arrested a 25-year-old social media activist [Asaduzzaman Noor, known as Asad Noor] as he tried to leave the country on charges that he defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, authorities said Tuesday….

'The charge against him is that he hurt religious feeling by mocking Prophet Mohammed and made bad comments against Islam, the prophet and the Koran on Facebook and YouTube,' [Inspector Mohammad Shahidullah] said.

Noor apparently faces up to 14 years in prison from the government, and perhaps worse from others: Atheist bloggers in Bangladesh have recently been murdered by mobs.

Also, according to (Brian Whitaker) and The Daily Independent (Nigeria), Egypt is set to make it a crime to be atheist in Egypt (not just to express atheist views in public, which is already punishable). If any of our readers can read Arabic, and can check the sources linked to by Al-Bab (here and here), I'd love to hear back about that.

UPDATE: The Star (Malaysia) (Loshana K Shagar) reported in November,

Atheism should not be allowed in Malaysia for any citizen as it contradicts both the Federal Constitution and the Rukunegara, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuk….

"… [A]nyone who tries to spread ideologies and doctrines that promote atheism and similar beliefs, which tarnish the sanctity of other religions, can be charged under the Sedition Act," he said.

Thanks to reader Careless for the pointer.

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  1. In Malaysia in the past few months they’ve had a couple of high officials say that atheism was illegal and should be punished. I haven’t heard about Indonesia trying to criminalize being an atheist recently, but talking about atheism, sure.

    Spent a lot of time in Malaysia and Indonesia last decade. No one I spent time with ever wanted to talk about religion

  2. Thanks for that interesting post , in fact , such legislation and persecution and prosecution mentioned , may , or indeed constitute ,crime against humanity . Clear violation of international humanitarian conventions , and the Rome statute ( International criminal court in Hague ) .

    Here for example , Article 7 ( 1 ) (h) to the Rome statute , among others , defines so in this regard the crime against humanity :

    (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;


  3. Religion, being a shackle on mankind since forever.

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