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The right to criticise religion is not a luxury product

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Freedom of speech is recognized as one fundamental human right. According to article 19 of the human rights declaration, Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The right of freedom of speech however, gets denied by the totalitarian and Islamic government due to many reasons. Blasphemy and insulting Islamic sanctities is the most familiar excuse to deny the right of freedom of speech. Blasphemy is in fact a label in the hands of Islmaists these days, to silent Islam critics, ex muslims, freethinkers and atheists coming from the middle east, therefore the battle to recognize the right of creating blasphemous speech and contents is highly vital.

In Iran for example, Mohsen Amir Aslan was executed, only because he claimed Jonah could not live in an animal body. He was sentenced to death due to blasphemy law in Iran. During the mid 80s, Khomeini had an Fatwa that all the marxists and non believer political prisoners must get executed. As a result, Thousands o f ex muslims lost their lives due to Khomeini’s Fatwa and blasphemy law. Right now, and soon after the “Woman, Life, Freedom” revolution, many have been arrested, tutored, and may get executed by any minute, due to their critics against Islam. Soheil Arabi is one well known example of atheist and ex muslim prisoners in Iran.

As a recent example, Majid Reza Rahnavrd, who was born and raised in Mashhad (of one most religious cities in the middle east, and the city which has the shrine of the 8th shia Imam) arrested during the womanly revolution, known as “Woman, Life, Freedom” revolution, and then executed by the islamic regime of Iran, had an interview before the execution day, and said: “ Do not pray for me, or attend any sort of Islamic funerals. For my funeral, play joyful music, and have fun.” The Islamic regime propaganda channels, vastly promoted that video to justify his execution due to blasphemy law in Iran.

As another example, Soheil Arabi, the well known Iranian atheist, got arrested again due his ani-islam activities during the revolution, Soheil is currently in prison, and has a very devastating health condition.

Criticising Islam does not bring consequences only if you live in Iran or the Middle East, but in fact, you are not safe as an ex muslim Islam critic activist even in Europe and North America. The attack against Salman Rushdie in the US, and daily threats ex muslim activists receive can be seen as two important examples. Recently, the Islamic regime of Iran has given some money and private land for agriculture, as an award to Hadi Matar, the Islamists who attacked Salman Rushdie.

To summarise, freedom of speech and the right to criticise religion, especially Islam is not a luxury product. To us, ex muslims living under the boot of Islamic theocracy, freedom of speech is the matter of life and death. To normalise blasphemous terms would let Islam critics be free to express what they think about Islamic rituals, and that could help the society to overcome Islamic sexism, child abuse, and to help middle east to get a secular and womanly face.

Milad Resaeimanesh

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