Blasphemy and Terrorism: Catchall Phrases to Repress Dissent

Muslims protest against freedom of speech in Toronto – 2012

“…Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations have been lobbying in recent years for the criminalization of blasphemy in international law in a move that would legitimize curbs on free speech and growing Muslim intolerance towards any open discussion of their faith. The kingdom’s ability to further its efforts was enhanced last November when it was elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Assertions of blasphemy and terrorism have become favourite terms employed by illiberal, authoritarian and autocratic leaders to crush their opponents. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used terrorism allegations to arrest tens of thousands and fire more than 100,000 civil servants, teachers, professors, journalists, judicial personnel, and police and military officers. In January, persons believed to be associated with security forces kidnapped and abused five Pakistani bloggers critical of the military under the guise of blasphemy…”