Cross posted at the Atheist Oasis
To speak specifically of our problem with the Muslim world, we are meandering into a genuine clash of civilizations, and we're deluding ourselves with euphemisms. We're talking about Islam being a religion of peace that's been hijacked by extremists. If ever there were a religion that's not a religion of peace, it is Islam. – Sam Harris
Is anyone surprised at this?
Humanist and secular organizations, as well as civil liberties and human rights groups around the world, have responded with outrage to the news that a new law in Saudi Arabia equates “atheism” with “terrorism”.
The Penal Law for Crimes of Terrorism and its Financing criminalizes as “terrorism” all free expression on a vast range of topics, including advocacy of “atheist thought”, criticism of Islam as it is understood by the state, and any expression deemed to “insult the reputation of the state”.
Saudia Arabia is a current and recently-elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Details of the law
Article 1 of the “terrorism” law prohibits “Calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.” The law was introduced by royal decree without judicial oversight.
Domestic “terrorism” is defined in the decree as “any act” (expressly including non-violent acts) which among other things is intended to “insult the reputation of the state,” “harm public order,” or “shake the security of society”. The terms are very broad, and and could be used to prosecute any criticism of the state, its king or officials, or the state conception of Islam.
The provisions of the “terrorism” law define and outlaw numerous acts and forms of expression as “terrorism”, including:
- “Calling for atheist thought in any form”;
- any disloyalty “to the country’s rulers”, or anyone “who swears allegiance to any party, organization, current [of thought], group, or individual inside or outside [the kingdom]“;
- anyone who aids, affiliates, or holds “sympathy” with any “terrorist” organization as defined by the act, which “includes participation in audio, written, or visual media; social media in its audio, written, or visual forms; internet websites; or circulating their contents in any form”;
- contact with groups or individuals who are “hostile to the kingdom”
- and the article on “Seeking to shake the social fabric or national cohesion” prohibits all protest, without qualification as to its message or intent, by outlawing “calling, participating, promoting, or inciting sit-ins, protests, meetings, or group statements in any form”.
Imagine that. A group of people who believe
- That a pregnant camel popped out of a stone,
- That their ‘profit’ (peanut butter and jelly be upon him) split the moon in half, but only for a select few,
- That their ‘profit’ (peanut butter and jelly be upon him) rode to the moon on a winged horse with a woman’s face.
This then is the epitome, the culmination of all the accomodationists’ fuzzy wuzzy feel good nonsense –theocracy. The iron fist in the metal-studded glove. The booted heel (in this case, the sandaled heel) brought down on the neck of the poor and uninformed. It is our worst fears realized.
Till the next post, then.