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Dec 13 2012

Insulting prophets

Alber Saber has been sentenced to three years in prison for “blasphemy.”

Alber Saber was arrested in September after neighbours accused him of posting links to a film mocking Islam that led to protests across the Muslim world.

Neighbors accused him of posting links to something, and for that he gets three years in prison.

Egypt? You’re doing it wrong.

Mr Saber was initially accused of circulating links to a 14-minute trailer for the film, Innocence of Muslims, which denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.

But he denied promoting the video and later faced charges relating to other statements critical of Islam and Christianity which police investigators allegedly found online and on his computer at his home.

Oh right, the first charge fell apart so they dug up something else – “statements critical of Islam and Christianity.” Jeez. I wonder how many centuries in jail I would get if I were in Egypt.

There has been a proliferation of prosecutions for blasphemy in Egypt in the nearly two years since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown. Many of those targeted are Copts, who make up about 10% of the population.

Although blasphemy has long been a criminal offence, Article 44 of the draft constitution contains a specific article prohibiting insulting prophets.

And “insulting prophets” means saying anything critical of guys who lived many centuries ago.

Egypt you’re really really doing it wrong.

 

5 comments

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  1. 1
    Gregory in Seattle

    So, we ‘re not allowed to insult megalomaniacal pedophiles? What about pathological liars who write poor bad science fiction, or former salemen who smoke pipes?

  2. 2
    AJ Milne

    But he denied promoting the video and later faced charges relating to other statements critical of Islam and Christianity which police investigators allegedly found online and on his computer at his home.

    Note: apparently, you can ‘blaspheme’ just by having such a statement on your computer at home.

    Theocracies are suffocating, stifling, asphyxiating horrors. Write what you think anywhere? To the cooler with you…

    Not that I’m not preaching to the choir, here, I guess.

    But seriously, just as an exercise, do try to imagine living like that, if you happen to be in a place where you’ve never had to worry about it much. I often get this impression from unbelievers where this isn’t an issue that somehow speaking your mind on such things is some decadent self-indulgence, some trivial luxury… Honestly, you lot, going on about how you don’t believe in someone else’s god… Shut uuuuup. Who cares? You’re so full of yourselves and your opinions…

    Try living where the moment you open your mouth, there’s someone there to shove a sock in it, try to browbeat you endlessly until you recant, where you live in fear of the wrong person working out what you’re thinking. Where you know you will pay and pay endlessly unless you tell the right lie, on cue, when asked.

    The right to ‘blaspheme’, if this, of all things, be blasphemy, should be a fundamental human right. So no, the UN shouldn’t be playing footsie with the theocratic, silencing, censoring fuckbrains who’ve crafted miseries like this for millenia and gotten away with it, nor mouthing words about ‘respect for all prophets’…

    Quite the opposite: they should be putting that in the charters–the right to blaspheme is a fundamental human right. My initial proposed language: ‘all humans have the right to tell any priest or laity or I-don’t-care-who who claims to speak for gods that they think said priest or laity or I-don’t-care-who is full of it up to his fucking eyebrows, and the presumed privilege of such god-flogging frauds not to be gainsaid and to demand silence and ‘respect’ in the face of their obnoxious presumption to speak for a divine and unquestionable authority is gone, never to return, thank you kindly’.

  3. 3
    davidhart

    One wonders how much uncomplimentary stuff one could get away with saying about the leadership of the Mormon church, who take the title ‘Prophet, seer and revelator’, piling tautology on tautology. Does the Egyptian judicial system have a set of criteria for determining who is a prophet, and who, therefore, you can be jailed under this law for insulting?

  4. 4
    sbh

    The complete text of the English translation of Article 44 of the draft constitution reads “Insult or abuse of all religious messengers and prophets shall be prohibited.” I imagine the “independent Islamic institution” (paid for by the state) established by Article 4 whose “Senior Scholars are to consulted in matters pertaining to Islamic law” would be available to explain which people count as “religious messengers and prophets” who cannot be insulted or abused without penalty.

  5. 5
    barrypearson

    Islam states that Jesus is a prophet but not the son of God.

    Isn’t that insulting Jesus, a prophet? Aren’t all Muslims guilty of insulting a prophet?

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