A young woman, Asia Bibi, had a few words to say about Islam.
She said that “the Quran is fake and your prophet remained in bed for one month before his death because he had worms in his ears and mouth. He married Khadija just for money and after looting her kicked her out of the house,” local police official Muhammad Ilyas told CNN.
Yes, the police got involved! More than involved: Asia Bibi has been sentenced to death for blasphemy.
She was also fined $1100.
Meanwhile, Walid Husayin has been writing an atheist blog, anonymously, in Palestine. He also mocked gods on Facebook. Now he’s been caught — he was spotted posting heretical words on his computer in an internet cafe — and people are very unhappy with him.
Now, he faces a potential life prison sentence on heresy charges for “insulting the divine essence.” Many in this conservative Muslim town say he should be killed for renouncing Islam, and even family members say he should remain behind bars for life.
“He should be burned to death,” said Abdul-Latif Dahoud, a 35-year-old Qalqiliya resident. The execution should take place in public “to be an example to others,” he added.
The state probably won’t kill him — they’re only talking about a life sentence in prison.
You know, the gods are only harmless phantasms. It’s their believers who are parasites and killers and dangerous lunatics.
This is a terrible story because it’s also predictable and avoidable. The victim was using open, unencrypted comms in an internet cafe. If you’re not using TLS, VPN, or other strong encryption, you have to assume that everyone can see what you’re doing and will use it against you if they’re able.
PZ, you’ve highlighted atheists writing in many liberty-challenged parts of the world. It’s very important to point out that because what they’re doing is oftentimes illegal and can have severe consequences, people in these countries must learn to be very security savvy and follow a few straightforward rules.
1. Never use open, unencrypted comms in internet cafes, or anywhere else. Install HTTPS Everywhere for Firefox and understand when and how HTTPS/TLS works, and when it isn’t provided, like Facebook and scienceblogs.
2. Always use encrypted, anonymizing networks. Download and install Tor+FF Tor Button and the anonymizing proxies Polipo and/or Privoxy and understand how they work. Install NoScript and disable Flash to avoid leaking information or DNS. Alternately, purchase a proxy account in a different country and send all your web traffic over an encrypted VPN or an ssh tunnel to the proxy:
Also, be aware that using Tor, VPN, and ssh tunnels is easily detectable (and blockable unless you can play cat-and-mouse with port mappings), and that this steganography problem cannot easily be avoided. And be wary of man-in-the-middle attacks using weak or bogus certificate authorities, as the UAE has done with Blackberries.
3. Encrypt your files or hard drive using GPG, openssl, or 256-bit AES, e.g. Mac:Disk Utility>New Image>encryption/sparse bundle.
4. Never use a Microsoft OS or browsers, which are notoriously insecure and intentionally designed to impede your online privacy. Instead, use a Linux Live CD, Linux itself, or a Mac.