Saturday, September 29, 2007

May Pigs Piss on Muhammad

The issues here go beyond the right of cartoonists to offend people. They go to the heart of repression in much of the Muslim world. Islamists and authoritarian governments now routinely use accusations of blasphemy to repress writers, journalists, political dissidents and, perhaps politically most important, religious reformers.

On Sept. 22, three political dissidents in Iran, Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghassaban, were put on trial for writing articles against “Islamic holy values.” Iran’s most prominent dissident, Akbar Ganji, was himself imprisoned on charges including “spreading propaganda against the Islamic system.” In August, Taslima Nasreen, who had to flee Bangladesh for her life because her feminist writings were accused of being “against Islam,” was investigated in India for hurting Muslims’ “religious sentiments.”

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