10 May 2017

Blasphemy laws around the world

.... Blasphemy bans are the norm rather than the exception in the Middle East and North Africa, with 18 of the region's 20 nations treating insults to Islam as a criminal offence. Fourteen countries in the region also criminalise apostasy, the act of formally renouncing a religion.

Saudi Arabia is infamous for the severity of its laws on blasphemy, which is punishable by death. In 2013, human rights activist Raif Badawi was found guilty of insulting Islam in blog posts that criticised the country's religious police and hardline Wahhabi ideology. He was sentenced to 1000 lashes.

The first 50 lashes were administered in January 2015, amid international outcry. Badawi's poor health has delayed any further beatings, but he still faces 19 more sessions of public flogging. [The Week] Read more