Paul Marshall and Nina Shea

in Silenced

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199812264
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919383 | DOI:

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Within the Muslim world, victims of accusations of insulting Islam are not limited to those who insult or mock. They include “post-Islamic” groups such as the Baha’is or Ahmadis, converts from Islam, or those who simply no longer believe as Muslims, and Muslim minorities, such as Shias in Saudi Arabia or Sufis in Iran. Particular targets are Muslim dissidents and reformers, especially if they challenge regimes claiming to represent Islam. These are the patterns of repression that the OIC's campaign would export to the rest of the world. However, many western countries are introducing quasi-blasphemy laws under the guise of restricting religious ‘hate speech.” In such cases, even with acquittal, the defendant's reputation and livelihood may be damaged. A larger threat is extra-legal violence, often directed against Muslims, particularly those concerned with the status of women. One result is that self-censorship for fear of offending Muslims is now becoming common in Western discourse, extending far beyond rude or uncivil language. But, accepting restrictions on “insulting Islam” would undercut not only our own freedoms but would also betray dissidents struggling against repressive regimes in the Muslim world, especially those Muslims for whom Islam holds the promise of political and religious freedom.

Keywords: Islam; muslims; apostasy; blasphemy; insulting Islam; human rights; freedom of religion; freedom of speech; United Nations

Chapter.  11467 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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