A Powerful Video on the Victims of Blasphemy Laws

What’s it like to be accused of blasphemy in an Islamic country?

Just watch this video if you have the guts to sit through it all:

(via ConversationWithA)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Iron Hat

    This is why I live the life of a militant Atheist.

  • Bitter Lizard

    I think this calls for a new billboard…

    • flyb

      “Muhammad Does It With A Crucifix”?

    • Hat Stealer

      Still better than anything American Athiests has done.

  • busterggi

    This is because no matter how much believers claim their faith is in a god of love they really believe out of fear of their sky-bully. Blasphemy isn’t a crime because it hurts some deity, its a crime because believers are terrified that the sky-beast will go on another genocidal tear and kill them.

    • EvolutionKills

      It always struck me more as projection. It’s like any cherished belief that humans invest themselves in. In the same way that shit talking a sports team doesn’t hurt the players, but can get you into a fight in the wrong circumstances.

      With a god, even more so. What could any of us do to possible hurt it if it actually existed? Nothing I’d wager. Blasphemy laws always struck me as essentially a codified form of ‘I’m offended’; built so that the offended party has the legal obligation to fuck your shit up over their butt-hurt feelings, whether real or imagined.

      Believes don’t like nonbeliever because they can threaten the collective delusion they value so much, that they are so invested in. How many religious people see and act as if simple doubt is a giant personal ‘fuck you’? So to prevent that from happening, to prevent their beliefs from being challenged and their feelings being hurt, they have invented the idea of blasphemy and codified it into enforceable law.

      If they truly had faith that their god existed and was as powerful as they claimed, then they shouldn’t have any problem with any amount of ‘blasphemy’. Let your god take care of it, have faith that he will pass his own judgement in his own time. But they don’t really have that much faith, and that should tell you a lot about the nature of religious belief.

      • Bitter Lizard

        I agree with this. Religious people see the very existence of nonbelievers as a threat to their own faith, and aren’t totally wrong about that. Where they’re wrong is being so entitled as to think this gives them the right to silence people who disagree with them by force.

      • rtanen

        If their god were real and thought blasphemy was slander or libel, he/she/ze/it could hire a lawyer and show up in court. The fact that no god has done so is interesting.

    • Cattleya1

      No… They are terrified that if nonbelievers speak out, less and less people will bow to their sky-fairy. It does;t matter which religion. They are all dictatorships of the mind.

  • Octoberfurst

    Blasphemy laws all basically say “You’ve insulted my imaginary friend and now I am all butt-hurt so you must die!” I’m sure fundies in this country would love to have anti-blasphemy laws but that damn 1st Amendment keeps getting in the way.

    • http://penciledinexistence.wordpress.com/ Carly Jurica

      Unfortunately, the UN doesn’t give a rat’s ass about our constitution. Then again, neither do most of the people in our own government.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Cool bath robes. Why is it that the worst a religion, the better the clothes look?

    • Hat Stealer

      That’s why you should join my new religion, “burlapsackarianism.”

      It’s really good.

      • The Other Weirdo

        Pics, or GTFO! :)

  • LesterBallard

    Well, my day is now significantly enraged.

  • JA

    Wait WHAT? Please tell me I misunderstood the last part, but is the UN honestly trying to legitimize blasphemy laws??

  • islandbrewer

    Fuck. I didn’t think news could make me more bitter and sad.

  • Physeter

    At 7:15–That guy in Afghanistan was sentenced to DEATH for downloading an article. Not because he wrote something or spoke out somewhere, just because he tried to read something that might be critical of the official line.

  • CommentMaker

    Keep in mind that this all takes place where Islam runs the country. The nice Muslims in America do not forget their roots. They will generate militants because the religion demands strict obedience. We have seen quite a few in the past 20 years. Even the soldier who took advantage of being an American at Fort Hood.

    • Hat Stealer

      Yeah, Christians have never burt anyone at the stake or something for challenging their beliefs or… oh wait.

      • CommentMaker

        Give me proof for today.

        • Bitter Lizard

          I gave you proof on another thread when you falsely claimed that Christians don’t burn witches anymore. You ignored it, as I recall.

        • Spuddie


          [Its a cut and paste post. There is no reason to read to the bottom. That is just for effect Just click the link]

          Ramihrdus of Cambrai (1076 or 1077) (lynched)
          Peter of Bruys († 1130) (lynched)
          Gerard Segarelli († 1300)
          Maifreda da Pirovano († 1300)
          Andrea Saramiti († 1300)
          Fra Dolcino († 1307) (never tried by Catholic Church), Italy
          Sister Margherita († 1307), Italy
          Brother Longino († 1307), Italy
          Marguerite Porete († 1310)
          Botulf Botulfsson († 1311), the only known heretic executed in Sweden
          Jacques de Molay (1243–1314), burned after conviction by a tribunal under the control of King Philip IV of France, France
          Geoffroi de Charney († 1314), burned with Jacques de Molay above, France.
          Guilhèm Belibasta († 1321), last Cathar
          Francesco da Pistoia († 1337)
          Lorenzo Gherardi († 1337)
          Bartolomeo Greco († 1337)
          Bartolomeo da Bucciano († 1337)
          Antonio Bevilacqua († 1337)
          William Sawtre († 1401)
          John Badby († 1410)
          Jan Hus (1371–1415), impenitent/unrepentant heretic
          Jerome of Prague (1365–1416), relapsed hereticSt. Joan of Arc (1412–1431), relapsed heretic, Rouen, France
          Thomas Bagley († 1431)
          Pavel Kravař († 1433)
          Girolamo Savonarola († 1498)
          Joshua Weißöck (1488–1498)
          Jean Vallière († 1523)
          Hendrik Voes († 1523), 1st martyr in the Seventeen Provinces
          Jan van Essen († 1523), 1st martyr in the Seventeen Provinces
          Jan de Bakker († 1525), 1st martyr in the Northern Netherlands
          Wendelmoet Claesdochter († 1527), 1st Dutch woman burned as heretic
          Michael Sattler († 1527)
          Patrick Hamilton († 1528), St Andrews, Scotland
          Balthasar Hubmaier (1485–1528), relapsed heretic
          George Blaurock (1491–1529)
          Hans Langegger († 1529)
          Giovanni Milanese († 1530)
          Richard Bayfield († 1531)
          James Bainham († 1532)
          John Frith (1503–1533), England
          William Tyndale (1490–1536)
          Jakob Hutter († 1536)
          Aefgen Listincx (d. 1538)
          Anneke Esaiasdochter (d. 1539)
          Francisco de San Roman († 1540)
          Robert Barnes († 1540), England
          Thomas Gerrard († 1540), England
          Giandomenico dell’ Aquila († 1542)
          Maria van Beckum (d. 1544)
          Ursula van Beckum (d. 1544)
          George Wishart (1513–1546), St Andrews, Scotland
          John Rogers († 1555), London, England
          Canterbury Martyrs († 1555), England
          Laurence Saunders, (1519–1555), England
          Rowland Taylor († 1555), England
          John Hooper († 1555), England
          Robert Ferrar († 1555), Carmarthen, Wales
          Patrick Pakingham († 1555), Uxbridge, England
          Hugh Latimer (1485–1555), relapsed heretic, England
          Nicholas Ridley (1500–1555), England
          Bartolomeo Hector († 1555)
          Paolo Rappi († 1555)
          Vernon Giovanni († 1555)
          Labori Antonio († 1555)
          John Bradford († 1555), London, England
          Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556), relapsed heretic, England
          Stratford Martyrs († 1556), 11 men and 2 women, London, England
          Joan Waste (d. 1556), Derby, England
          Pomponio Angerio († 1556)
          Nicola Sartonio († 1557)
          Thomas von Imbroich († 1558) (beheaded)
          Fra Goffredo Varaglia († 1558)
          Gisberto di Milanuccio († 1558)
          Francesco Cartone († 1558)
          Antonio di Colella († 1559)
          Antonio Gesualdi († 1559)
          Giacomo Bonello († 1560)
          Mermetto Savoiardo († 1560)
          Dionigi di Cola († 1560)
          Gian Pascali di Cuneo († 1560)
          Bernardino Conte († 1560)
          Giorgio Olivetto († 1567)
          Luca di Faenza († 1568)
          Thomas Szük (1522–1568)
          Bartolomeo Bartoccio († 1569)
          Dirk Willems († 1569), Netherlands
          Fra Arnaldo di Santo Zeno († 1570)
          Alessandro di Giacomo († 1574)
          Benedetto Thomaria († 1574)
          Diego Lopez († 1583)
          Gabriello Henriquez († 1583)
          Borro of Arezzo († 1583)
          Ludovico Moro († 1583)
          Pietro Benato († 1585)
          Francesco Gambonelli († 1594)
          Marcantonio Valena († 1594)
          Giovanni Antonio da Verona († 1599)
          Fra Celestino († 1599)
          Giordano Bruno (1548–1600), Rome, Italy
          Maurizio Rinaldi († 1600)
          Bartolomeo Coppino († 1601)
          Edward Wightman († 1612), last person burned for heresy in England.
          Malin Matsdotter (1613–1676), for witchcraft, Sweden
          Kimpa Vita (1684–1706), Angola
          Maria Barbara Carillo (1625–1721), Madrid, Spain
          Anne Askew (1521–1546)
          Joan Bocher († 1550)
          George van Parris († 1551)
          Matthew Hamont († 1579)
          John Lewes († 1583)
          Peter Cole († 1587)
          Francis Kett († 1589)
          Bartholomew Legate (1575–1612)
          Edward Wightman (1566–1612), relapsed heretic

          Basil the Physician († 1118), by Emperor Alexius I Comnenus; heresy
          Avvakum Petrovich (1620–1682), by Tsar Feodor III of Russia; combating the Starovery movement
          Quirinus Kuhlmann († 1689), by Tsar Ivan V of Russia; considered politically dangerous
          Michael Servetus (1511–1553)
          Priscillian († 385), beheaded.
          Solomon Molcho (1500–1532), apostate.
          Étienne Dolet (1509–1546), apostate.
          Pomponio Algerio (1531–1556), boiled to death.
          Lucilio Vanini († 1618), apostate.
          Gabriel Malagrida († 1761), strangled.[1]

          • CommentMaker

            I guess you overlooked the word “today” in my statement. You base your hate of religion on the past. There has been progress, even though it is not the same as liberals use.

            • Hat Stealer

              Yeah, generally liberals still find burning people alive pretty bad. Buncha damn progressives, amiright?

            • Spuddie

              “Today” in your comment being a response within this 24 period. Its not hatred of religion being shown here. Its just refusing to take your apologetic lying spiel seriously.

              • Shannon

                I like how CM responded to your big ol’ post of burned heretics but not the other two. Almost as though they don’t actually care about the evidence if it contradicts their point.

        • Hat Stealer


          Cue the whines of “noooo! Those aren’t reeeeeeal Christians! The fact that they’re a nation that’s over 90% Christian has nothing to do with it!”

          Whereupon I will dig up stories about Christian terrorists in the states shooting abortion doctors and police officers.

    • islandbrewer

      Keep in mind that this all takes place where Islam religion runs the country. The nice Muslims theists in America do not forget their roots. They will generate militants because the religion demands strict obedience. We have seen quite a few in the past 20 years. Even the soldier who took advantage of being an American at Fort Hood Rev. Paul Hill, Eric Rudolph, Scott Roeder, the Hutaree militia, and the Texas State Legislature.

      Fixed it for you, Bruce!

      • CommentMaker

        What a screwed up mind! Are you saying you are martyred in the USA by Christians for your open blasphemy? You are just a want-a-be martyr.

        • islandbrewer

          Bruce, your reading comprehension has gone from laughable to pathetic to “need a remedial reading tutor in elementary school.”

          Where the flying fuck do I say that I’m being martyred, you fucking worthless liar? I’m pointing out that your fucking worthless piece of shit religion is every bit as bad as any other religion, including Islam.

          You are by far one of the most mendacious trolls I’ve come across, fucking piece of shit!

          • CommentMaker

            Now, now islanderbrewer. You are bringing a bad name to the Friendly Atheist. You may need a timeout for using such “crutch language” here.

            • islandbrewer

              … and you totally avoid my point and fail to respond, again, don’t you. Go ahead and clutch your pearls. You need a time out for bringing a bad name to christianity. Although, so many others bring a bad name to your beliefs, you’re in for a lot of competition. I really ought to thank you – people like you are responsible for increasing the number of atheists here in the States, so thanks!

              • CommentMaker

                The thing I have discovered is that we think on different dimensions. We will never agree. Besides, you live in the past.

                • islandbrewer

                  Total fail of a non answer, there, Brucey.

                  I live now. I live in the real, not the imaginary fucked up hocus pocus world where gods have to “die for my sins” and we’re all horrible things that ought to be tortured for eternity unless we believe quasi-senile numbskulls like yourself.

                  The past is where conservative unthinking hacks such as yourself mouthed obeisance to their imaginary friends, women were the servants/possessions of their husbands, and gay people were not merely denied equal legal rights, but were in fear for their lives.

                  The past is a place where privileged old white straight cis-gendered guys like yourself were happy and comfortable and the world revolved around your whims. And you didn’t have to think.

                  … just like Texas.

                • CommentMaker

                  Where were you in the 16th century? Gays would have loved you. The closets would have been emptied as you stood up for them in the public square. You now have the freedom of speech no one ever had and you spew your hate and mockery like vomit. Why can’t you be a shining example of how great atheism is suppose to be and how it makes a person better and kinder. Never with atheist! They can never ever start a good conversation with anyone who believes in God. I would never be like you. Never, never, never.

                • islandbrewer

                  I believe the popular phrase is, “Waaah! You atheists are big meanies!”

        • islandbrewer

          And by the way. May I introduce you to El Cid, in this thread? You two have a LOT in common!

          • CommentMaker

            No. That is why atheism is more of a sickness that anything else. You are incapable of discerning the many types of religion out there.

            • Matt D

              Lies roll of your tongue so easily, I’d be suprised if you didn’t do it for kicks.

              • CommentMaker

                Did you hear the new stats that came out today. Atheist are more miserable than Christians. They simply read tweets and added up the numbers. I’d rather be a Christian and have peace and contentment.

    • Carmelita Spats

      Liar, liar…Take a look at what is going on south of your
      border in a predominantly CATHOLIC country…We don’t have blasphemy laws but giggling at the Virgin of Guadalupe, Jesus-Malverde-the-Patron-Saint-of-Narcos or Santa Muerte will get you shot in the face. In the state of Michoacán, we have the TEMPLARES (Knights Templar), a “delightful” cartel that comes with a “code of conduct” and “religious tracts” authored by one Nazario Moreno who converted to evangelical Christianity during a brief stay in the U.S. Praise Jesus! The shifty Nazario adapted your evangelical Christianity to trafficking crystal meth just as James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Oral Roberts, et al., adapted it to serve mega-corporations with a strange new mutant species of creepy pastor-CEO-hucksters who lead chant-alongs and write best-selling brainwashing books. Like Jesus Christ, Nazario’s pious devotees claim that he still walks among them even though Nazario sacrificed himself in a gunfight with federal police four years ago. He is now known as “San Nazario”. If you blaspheme against Saint Nazario, you’ll end up eating nails and shitting screws. Christianity demands strict obedience. He has quite a following including 700 gunmen and shrines erected along the highways in his honor.

      Saint Nazario:


      • islandbrewer

        Holy fucking shite on a stick!

        • Carmelita Spats

          Holy shite on a stick? Sir, we don’t crucify Shiites around here. Hell, my twangy bimbo Texas ears can’t distinguish between Fallujah and a fajita. Shiites and Baathists? That reminds me of what I holler when I stub my toe and fall
          into the mud at the ranch: “Shee-yite! Now I need another bubble baath.” That joke always cracks me up. “The Mad Hatter: Have I gone Mad? Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” (Lewis Carroll).

          • islandbrewer

            My apologies to both shites and shiites. Please go have ya another bubble baath. Just check yer tub for WMDs (Wubber duckies of Mass Distraction), first.

  • Kyle

    Made half way. I didn’t have the guts…

  • the moother

    In other news, it’s 2013 now, dudes… Get with the fn project.

  • El Cid


    Straw Man drivel. All this propaganda montage is to rile up emotions against Muslims, has NO basis in Islam. Saudi Arabia’s government is NOT Islamic. Neither is Pakistan under Islamic law. Muslims do live in these lands but the laws are NOT Islamic. And they can do nothing about it, to change them.

    But most relevant: Blasphemy or homosexuality is NOT punishable in Islam. There is no such punishment in the Noble Qur’an, the primary scripture of Islam and Muslims. The Glorious Qur’an categorically protects all religions, their scriptures and beliefs, man, animal, and the environment.

    Not so the Holy Bible, B’ Gita, or the Atheist Manifesto…or its so very belligerent and bellicose evangelists: Dawkins, Harris, others, who have published lies about Islam and advocated the thermonuclear annihilation of Islam and Muslims. The Atomic Bombing of Mecca and Medina has been recommended, even discussed in Congress, preferably during Hajj when potentially two to three million Muslims can be exterminated in one fell swoop.

    Those who call themselves Muslims but don’t behave as such are referred to as hypocrites in the Qur’an. They commit an unforgivable sin against Truth. Even prayers for them are NOT accepted, states the Qur’an. Prayers for ALL others is recommended: Christians, Jews, even Pagan idolaters and Atheists…but NOT hypocrites.

    An apple is NOT an orange however much you argue. As I said: Straw Man Fallacy. It has no value in truth for those of us who actually have read the primary sacred scriptures: Muslims, Christians, Jews, Pagans…even of the arrogant ignorant braggadocio of the Atheist.

    But good try. Try again. Preferably citing from a primary reference.

    • islandbrewer

      First time here, is it?

      Welcome! You might want to familiarize yourself with this:


      • El Cid

        Thank you.
        However, I am familiar with most Logic Fallacies, their relevance and application; familiar with that one too. It does not apply. You obviously have not understood it, or the argument of my post.

        You need to cite primary references from the Qur’an, as I had requested, to make your point. But am much obliged at your attempt to educate me.

        Thank you.

        • islandbrewer

          However, I am familiar with most Logic Fallacies, their relevance and application; familiar with that one too.

          Obviously not. Either that, or you’re far too blind to recognize yourself in them. Crap, the entry I linked even called you out specifically.

          Moderate Muslim leaders, for example, are well known for declaring Islamic extremists as “not true Muslims” as Islam is a religion of peace. Similarly, moderate Christians, such as those in Europe, sometimes aghast when viewing their right-wing counterparts in the US, immediately declare them “not true Christians,” even though they believe in the same God and get their belief system of it from the same book….

          TA DA! You are the very embodiment of the perpetuator of the No True Scotsman fallacy! Congratulations!

          Merely because your chosen holy book can’t support blasphemy laws, it does not make those who wholeheartedly endorse such laws not True Muslims (TM). You can argue that such action is unislamic, not in the spirit of islam, or even contra-indicated by islamic teaching. However, you cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, make a good faith argument that the legislators of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, those who voted in the blasphemy laws, and those who enforce them, and those who cheer them on, are not part of your Ummah,

          You need to cite primary references from the Qur’an, as I had requested, to make your point.

          *HONK* No.

          I do not need to cite the Qur’an to support the fact that blasphemy laws, in self-identified Islamic Republics, are enacted by Muslims. If blasphemy laws don’t have religious motivations, then what other possible motivation could they have? You can claim they’re wrongheaded or misguided, but you can’t claim they’re enacted by … say … the baha’i, or jews, or hindus, or atheists. They were enacted by Muslims.

          We have your ilk here all the time, albeit in christian form, decrying other self-identified christians as No True Christians (TM). It’s really rather striking how absolutely identical the kinds of arguments you come up with are.

    • islandbrewer

      And by the way, a strawman is constructed when someone presents an argument you don’t make, and pretends it’s yours. What exactly is the strawman here?

      Any outraged theist who visits can screech “Strawman! Strawman!” but I’ve yet to see one convincingly described.