Read Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide Online

Authors: Paul Marshall,Nina Shea

Tags: #Religion, #Religion; Politics & State, #Silenced

Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide



How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide




with a Foreword by


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Copyright © 2011 by Paul Marshall and Nina Shea

Published by Oxford University Press, Inc.
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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Marshall, Paul.

Silenced : how apostasy and blasphemy codes are choking freedom worldwide / Paul Marshall and Nina Shea.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978–0–19–981226–4; 978–0–19–981228–8 (pbk.)

1. Censorship—Religious aspects—Islam. 2. Blasphemy (Islam) 3. Apostasy—Islam. I. Shea, Nina. II. Title.

Z658.I77M37 2011

364.1’88—dc22    2011004600

1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2

Printed in the United States of America
on acid-free paper

To Shahbaz Bhatti, our friend and a lifelong champion of religious freedom, and to Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, both murdered in 2011, for opposing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws; and to the late Abdurrahman Wahid and Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd, who devoted their lives to an Islam of religious freedom



Authors and Contributors




1. Introduction




Introduction to Muslim-Majority Countries


2. Saudi Arabia


3. Iran


4. Egypt


5. Pakistan


6. Afghanistan


7. The Greater Middle East


8. Africa


9. South and Southeast Asia




Introduction to Western Countries and International Blasphemy


10. Islam and Blasphemy on the International Stage, 1989–2011


11. Legitimizing Repression: Blasphemy Restrictions in the United Nations


12. Religiously Incorrect: Islam, Blasphemy, and Hate Speech in Western Domestic Law


13. Enforcement by Violence and Intimidation






14. Renewing Qur’anic Studies in the Contemporary World by
Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd


15. Rethinking Classical Muslim Law of Apostasy and the Death Penalty by
Abdullah Saeed




16. Conclusions





Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide
is a project of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. The Center is deeply grateful for the generosity of the Fieldstead Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and donors who wish to remain anonymous.

This large book would not have been possible without the assistance, criticism, and advice of a large number of people, including Omolade Adunubi, Reza Afshari, Mohsine el Ahmadi, Fouad Ajami, Mustafa Akyol, Ali Alyami, Barbara Baker, Rev. Justo Lacunza Balda, Maarten G. Barends, Hamouda Fathelrahman Bella, Cheryl Benard, Peter Berger, Peter Berkowitz, Ladan and Roya Boroumand, Jennifer Bryson, Ann Buwalda, Christopher Catherwood, Felix Corley, Paul Diamond, Saidu Dogo, Khalid Duran, Cole Durham, Imam Talal Eid, Aaron Emmel, Tom Farr, Willy Fautre, Steve Ferguson, Roger Finke, Arne Fjeldstad, Felice Gaer, Fatima Gailani, Most Rev. Macram Gassis, Robert George, Joseph Ghougassian, Brian Grim, Rev. Marcel Guarnizo, Wisnu Hanggoro, Kristanto Hartadi, Tom Holland, the late Samuel Huntington, Ed Husain, Mujeeb Ijaz, Emeka Izeze, Zuhdi Jasser, Philip Jenkins, Rebiya Kadeer, Mehrangiz Kar, Joseph Kassab, Firuz Kazemzadeh, Magdi Khalil, Amjad Khan, Leonard Leo, Natan Lerner, James D. Le Sueur, Bernard Lewis, David Little, Habib Malik, Ted Malloch, Salim Mansur, Walter Russell Mead, Mariam Memarsadeghi, Kevian Milani, Hedieh Mirahmadi, Douglas Murray, Azar Nafisi, Asra Nomani, Ugochukwu Okezie, Mary Okosun, Abdul Oroh, Lekan Otufodunrin, Nadia Oweidat, Marcello Pera, Ruud Peters, Dan Philpott, Anthony Picarello, Elizabeth H. Prodromou, Tina Ramirez, Peter Riddell, Michael Rubin, Vinay Samuel, Lamin Sanneh, Jonathan Schanzer, Stephen Schwartz, Roger Severino, Timothy Samuel Shah, the late M. L. Shahani, Peter Skerry, Zainab Al-Suwaij, Amir Taheri, Jenny Taylor, Frank Vogel, Kam Weng, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Atilla Yayla.

We also received valuable assistance from the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, the American Center for Law and Justice, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Compass Direct, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Federalist Society, Forum 18, Human Rights Without Frontiers, Institute for Gulf
Affairs, the Nigerian Civil Liberties Organization, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and the Sudan Human Rights Organization.

The Center for Religious Freedom has profited from the able research of a number of very talented interns. We would like to thank Bonnie Alldredge, Harry Baumgarten, Alex Benard, Justine Desmond, Stephanie Ferguson, Jean Marie Hoffman, Katelyn Jones, Soumaya Lkoundi, Andy Marshall, Jeff Pan, Adam Parker, Karen Rupprecht, Amanda Smith, Samuel Trihus, and John Wasaff, for their diligent and excellent work as research interns.

Anisa Afshar, Maneeza Hossein, and Samuel Tadros provided invaluable research for several chapters, and Daniel Huff and Aaron Meyer of the Middle East Forum provided analyses of U.S. and international legal standards. Dwight Bashir, Kit Bigelow, Janet Epp Buckingham, Elizabeth Cassidy, Jamsheed K. Choksy, Mark Durie, David Forte, Darara Gubo, Matius Ho, Ziya Meral, Shastri Purushotma, Flemming Rose, Steven Snow, and Angela Wu read and commented on portions of the manuscript.

We also benefited from the assistance of several Hudson colleagues, including Alex Alexiev, Shmuel Bar, Zeyno Baran, Anne Bayefsky, Eric Brown, John Fonte, Hillel Fradkin, Herb London, Hassan Mneimneh, Katherine Smyth, Grace Terzian, and Richard Weitz.

Ulil Abshar-Abdallah, Governor Al Haji Sani Ahmed, Ali Al-Ahmed, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Essam El Eryan, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Carsten Juste, Amjad Mahmood Khan, Jytte Klausen, Ahmad Syafii Maarif, the late Nurcholish Madjid, Ahmed Subhy Mansour, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, Festus Okoye, Din Syamsuddin, Prince El-Hassan bin Talaal, and the late Sheikh Al-Azhar Tantawi patiently answered our questions.

Our special thanks to Abdullah Saeed for kindly agreeing to provide an essay arguing on the basis of Islam that there should not be civil penalties for blasphemy and apostasy. Abdullah Saeed’s essay is adapted from his
Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam
, published by Ashgate Publishing.

We are grateful to Abdurrahman Wahid and Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd for their contributions—the foreword and “Renewing Qur’anic Studies in the Contemporary World”—that we commissioned; and we are greatly saddened by their deaths during the book’s production. C. Holland Taylor of LibForAll gave valuable advice and assistance and permission to publish these two pieces. Wahid, “Gus Dur,” was cofounder and senior advisor of LibForAll, while Abu-Zayd was the Academic Director of its International Institute of Qur’anic Studies. LibforAll’s Kyai Haji Hodri Ariev also gave editorial advice.

We are especially grateful to Lela Gilbert and Elizabeth Kerley, who provided major assistance in writing, editing, and in all phases of this book. Cameron Wybrow did excellent work on copyediting. Cynthia Read of Oxford University Press was, as always, careful, patient, and encouraging.

We thank Allen Tesler, Chairman of the Board of the Hudson Institute, and the directors, as well as Hudson President Ken Weinstein, and Center Advisory Board
Chairman Chair James R. Woolsey, for their belief in the work of the Center for Religious Freedom.

We would like to thank all the above for their work, assistance, and patience, and we emphasize that the above are not responsible for any errors in the book; nor should it be assumed that they agree with all of its contents.

This book is a project of the Center for Religious Freedom, a privately funded research center of the Hudson Institute. The Center promotes religious freedom as a component of U.S. foreign policy. For further information contact: Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, 1015 15th St NW, Washington DC 20005;


Paul Marshall

Paul Marshall is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and the author and editor of more than twenty books on religion and politics, especially religious freedom, including, more recently
Blind Spot: When Journalists Don’t Get Religion
Religious Freedom in the World
Radical Islam’s Rules: The Worldwide Spread of Extreme Sharia Law
The Rise of Hindu Extremism
Islam at the Crossroads
God and the Constitution
The Talibanization of Nigeria
Massacre at the Millennium
Religious Freedom in the World
Egypt’s Endangered Christians
Just Politics
Heaven Is Not My Home
A Kind of Life Imposed on Man
(1996), and the best-selling, award-winning survey of religious persecution worldwide
Their Blood Cries Out
(1997). He is the author of several hundred articles, and his writings have been translated into Russian, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Danish, Albanian, Japanese, Malay, Korean, Arabic, Farsi, and Chinese. He is in frequent demand for lectures and media appearances, including interviews on ABC Evening News; CNN; PBS; Fox; the British, Australian, Canadian, South African, and Japanese Broadcasting Corporations; and Al Jazeera. His work has been published in, or is the subject of, articles in the
New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Christian Science Monitor, First Things, New Republic, Weekly Standard, Reader’s Digest
, and many other newspapers and magazines.

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