10.03.12 8:45 PM ET
Here's What Blasphemy Laws Do
Hussein Ibish nails it.
This is what anti-blasphemy laws inevitably lead to: the arrest and persecution of religious minorities, including children, in order to "protect sensibilities" of religious majorities. What it shows is that anti-blasphemy laws have nothing to do with "respect" or "sensitivity" to religious sentiments but are all about authority, control and social domination.
Because these laws appeal to extra-legal and extra-constitutional sentiments, values and principles that exist above and beyond the law itself, they lend themselves perfectly to abusive and discriminatory application. In the case of prosecutions regarding the dissemination of the inflammatory, offensive anti-Islam online video clip "The Innocence of Muslims," a Coptic Christian named Albert Saber has been arrested and remains in detention for allegedly posting the clip online. But no measures have been taken against the Salafist Al-Nas television station that broadcast significant portions of the video to its large audience in the earliest effort to whip up a public frenzy that led directly to the violent incidents that rocked the Middle East a few weeks ago. ...
That's what the push for a global anti-blasphemy ban—which will not and must not succeed—is ultimately designed to do: rationalize such oppressive restrictions in those Muslim-majority states where they actually apply. And, in practice, that means religious minorities, including children, will inevitably be subjected to grotesque abuses. If this isn't a wake-up call for everybody who thinks they are committed to freedom and democracy, I don't know what will be.