IN THE same week that International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) produced a report focusing on how countries around the world discriminate against non-religious people, Kuwaiti MPs approved amendments to the Gulf state’s penal code that will now make blasphemy a capital offence.
The death penalty will be imposed on Muslims who curse their god, the Koran, all prophets and the wives of the Mohammed. There were 11 of them. Or maybe 13 – or 15 or more, if you believe this report.
Being a bit of a horndog, Mo, according to Sheikyermami:
Had the sexual lust and potency of 400 ‘heavenly men’, which is equivalent to 4,000 mortal men.
And the “Sexual Superman”:
Used to visit and have sex with his nine wives in a single hour (other accounts indicate 11 wives in a single hour). This averages to about six minutes per wife (not counting travelling time from tent to tent).
That aside, the MPs drew the line at imposing the death penalty on anyone who bad-mouths the Shiite’s 12 Revered Imams. The the Sunni-dominated parliament rejected a request to do so by Shiite MPS.
According to this report, 46 MPs, including cabinet ministers, voted for the key amendments that will come into effect only after another round of voting and government approval. The second and final vote will take place in two weeks.
Non-Muslims found guilty under the new law face a jail term of not less than ten years, according to the bill.
Defendants who repent in court will be spared capital punishment but will get a jail sentence for five years and a fine of $36,000 or one of them, while repentance by those who repeat the crime is not acceptable, the bill says.
Opposition MP Ali al-Deqbasi said during the debate:
We do not want to execute people with opinions or thought because Islam respects these people … But we need this legislation because incidents of cursing God have increased. We need to deter them.
The bill becomes effective after the government accepts it, the emir signs it and it is published in the official gazette within one month.
Shiite MP Abdulhameed Dashti said the bill was unconstitutional and against the principles of Islam. Why are we trying to show Islam as a religion of death and blood when it is actually the opposite of that?
In March authorities arrested a Shiite man for allegedly cursing the Prophet Mohammed, his wife and some companions in a tweet. The suspect, Hamad al-Naqi, is being detained pending trial later this month.
Recently Kuwaiti courts have jailed both Sunni and Shiite activists for religious offences.
IHEU’s Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Non-religious has been published to mark Human Rights Day, Monday, December 10.
Freedom of Thought 2012 covers laws affecting freedom of conscience in 60 countries and lists numerous individual cases where atheists have been prosecuted for their beliefs in 2012. It reports on laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry, obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.
The report highlights a sharp increase in arrests for “blasphemy” on social media this year. The previous three years saw just three such cases, but in 2012 more than a dozen people in ten countries have been prosecuted for “blasphemy” on Facebook or Twitter
Said Matt Cherry, the report’s editor:
When 21st century technology collides with medieval blasphemy laws, it seems to be atheists who are getting hurt, as more of them go to prison for sharing their personal beliefs via social media.
Across the world the reactionary impulse to punish new ideas, or in some cases the merest expression of disbelief, recurs again and again. We even have a case in Tunisia of a journalist arrested for daring to criticize a proposed blasphemy law!
The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Professor Heiner Bielefeldt, welcomed the research. In a foreword to the report Bielefeldt notes that there is often “little awareness” that international human rights treaties mean freedom of conscience applies equally to:
Atheists, humanists and freethinkers and their convictions, practices and organizations. I am therefore delighted that for the first time the Humanist community has produced a global report on discrimination against atheists. I hope it will be given careful consideration by everyone concerned with freedom of religion or belief.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn