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ARCHIVES: Religious Persecution


January 14, 2011

CPJ concerned for safety of Pakistan's Sherry Rehman

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has expressed concern over public threats made against journalist and National Assembly member Sherry Rehman . The government has stepped up protection for Rehman after she supported a bill in the National Assembly that would amend Pakistan's blasphemy law. The changes include the repeal of the law's mandatory death penalty. "Sherry Rehman's life straddles the worlds of journalism and politics like few others in Pakistan. Even with the government's... MORE
January 5, 2011

IFJ calls on media to isolate extremists after Salmaan Taseer killing

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has warned that the assassination of Salmaan Taseer , governor of the Punjab province in Pakistan, may open the door to a new wave of political intolerance and pressure on journalists across the country. "Salman Taseer was a friend of democracy and media freedom," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ. "His death is a brutal reminder that speaking out against extremism carries great risks for human rights defenders like journalists and... MORE
September 30, 2010

Cleric's threat forces Seattle cartoonist into hiding

Molly Norris, a political cartoonist for Seattle Weekly , went into hiding in September because of threats made after her tongue-in-cheek call for an "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day," according to Seattle Weekly . The call was included in a cartoon Norris drew to protest a decision by the cable television network Comedy Central not to broadcast an episode of "South Park" that tested the Islamic taboo against depicting images of the Prophet. Norris' cartoon did not directly depict Muhammad, but... MORE
September 28, 2010

Malaysian cartoonist faces sedition charges

Malaysian authorities have arrested cartoonist Zulkifli Awar Ulhaque, also known as Zunar, a contributor to the popular news site Malaysiakini and author of a new collection of political cartoons, New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported. Police raided Zunar's Kuala Lumpur office and arrested him under the Sedition Act on Friday, just before the scheduled release of his new book, Cartoon-O-Phobia . He was released on bail on Saturday, according to local news reports... MORE
August 12, 2010

Threats from Islamists force Danish newspaper behind a barricade

Nearly five years after publication of the Mohammed cartoons, the threat of reprisals against the newspaper that carried them remains significant enough that it has constructed a security fence around its buildings, the Copenhagen Post has reported. The Viby, Jutland-based Jyllands-Posten took the advice of domestic intelligence agency PET and encircled its offices with a kilometer long metal fence. The details: [ Link ] The town just outside the city of Århus is usually described as peaceful,... MORE
April 1, 2010

Afghanistan: Presidential pardon for journalist who published translation of Koran

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has pardoned former journalist Ahmed Ghous Zalmai, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in September 2008 for publishing a translation of the Koran into Dari (the Persian dialect spoken in Afghanistan), according to Reporters sans Frontières (RSF). Issued a few days ahead of the Persian New Year festival of Nawruz, the pardon also affects Mohammad Ateef Noori, the printer, and Qari Mushtaq, the mullah who approved the translation. “President Karzai is... MORE
March 9, 2010

Spate of censorship incidents in Malaysia over religious issues

The Malaysian home affairs ministry has issued to leading English-language daily, The Star , a warning about an article criticising the caning of three Muslim women under Sharia law, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has said. “As one of the country’s most widely-read newspapers, The Star should have a free hand to provide its readers with the broadest range of news and views on social issues,” Paris-based RSF said. “We urge Prime Minister Najib Razak to reconsider this decision and to quickly... MORE
January 4, 2010

Making blasphemy an offence in Ireland takes Europe back several centuries

A new defamation law has been enacted in Ireland that establishes blasphemy as an offence punishable by a fine of up to 25,000 euros. The law took effect on January 1. Article 36 defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering “matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.” It adds that judges could regard “genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or... MORE
September 12, 2008

Former journalist and mullah sentenced to 20 years in prison for publishing translation of Koran

Press freedom organisations have urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai to intercede on behalf of former journalist Ahmed Ghous Zalmai and Mullah Qari Mushtaq, who were sentenced Thursday by a Kabul court to 20 years in prison for publishing a Dari translation of the Koran. Dari is the Farsi (Persian) dialect spoken in Afghanistan. "We appeal to the president's spirit of tolerance and ask him to intercede on behalf of two men who have been given extremely severe sentences," London-based ARTICLE 19... MORE
September 18, 2007

Al-Qaeda offers $100K bounty for Swedish newspaper editor, cartoonist

The Swedish cartoonist who depicted Islam's prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog has gone into hiding following a death threat from Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Lars Vilks, who was whisked away by the police when he returned to Sweden from Germany on Sunday, said police have described the threats against him as "very serious." The leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, offered $100,000 over the weekend for Vilks's murder. He said the bounty would be upped to $150,000 if Vilks was "... MORE