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“Time To Abolish Blasphemy Laws, Uphold Freedom of Expression” says Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State David Saperstein.

In a blog post on the US Department of State’s official page, Saperstein writes:

“It is shocking to note that almost half of the world’s countries have laws and policies that criminalize blasphemy, apostasy, conversion, or so-called “defamation of religion.” These “crimes” are sometimes punishable by death, as is the case in 12 countries, or life imprisonment. The impact of such laws, which tend to be vague and poorly defined, tends to drastically limit the exercise of freedom of religion and expression. They all too often lead to the persecution of members of minority groups.

“One need only look at recent news stories to see the impact these laws can have on people around the globe. A university lecturer in Indonesia recently became the target of a police investigation after he was accused of blasphemy. The acts for which he was being investigated? Posting a Facebook status that read, “Allah is not an Arab. Allah will be happy if His verses are being recited with Minang, Ambon, Chinese, Hip hop, Blues style.” In Egypt this year, authorities charged individuals ranging from a prominent poet to four Coptic Christian teenagers on such charges. Naghash Zargaran, a Christian convert in Iran, has been in prison since 2013 for apostasy, which has in turn been spun by authorities into a charge of “threatening national security” due to her Christian activities.

See the full post here

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