People drafting the Arab blasphemy law think prohibitions are not prohibitions.

It’s so hard sometimes to tell if someone is stupid and lying or if they’re just plain stupid.

So member states of the Arab League are drafting a blasphemy law.  Here is how one official described the law:

“The main feature of the draft is that it gives every state the right to put on trial those who abuse and hold in contempt religions even if they are outside the country,” Ebrahim Mousa Al Hitmi, the Qatari justice ministry assistant undersecretary for legal affairs, said, local Arabic daily Al Arab reported on Wednesday.

The official insisted that the draft law does not clash with freedom of expression.

“The law does not interfere in any way with the freedom of opinion and expression which is well protected and guaranteed.”


Blasphemy: the notion that a person shouldn’t be permitted to express negative opinions about religion.  The law would punish those who blasphemed.  In what universe does this not clash with the freedom of expression?  That’s like saying laws against stealing in no way clash with taking other people’s shit without their permission.

Look, transparent lies only work when they’re in a holy book being read by people who already buy into the religion.  When human beings do it, we just call you liar.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Loqi

    People will buy it. After all, we see stuff like this in the west as well:
    “I hit my child, but I don’t *abuse* him.”
    “I may have drugged her and had sex with her while she was unconscious, but that doesn’t make me a rapist.”

    • Zinc Avenger

      And the ever-popular “FREEDOM OF RELIGION IS A CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHT (Mooslamics not welcome).”

  • shrike1978

    Everyone still has the freedom to express the opinion of the justice ministry. They aren’t taking that away.

  • Paula M Smolik

    That’s only if you don’t agree with what they say. As usual.

  • Richard Wade

    “The main feature of the draft is that it gives every state the right to put on trial those who abuse and hold in contempt religions even if they are outside the country.” –Ebrahim Mousa Al Hitmi

    Yo, Ebrahim! I abuse and hold in contempt your barbaric, ridiculous, and superstitious religion, which apparently you know is so weak and feeble, so decrepit and flimsy, so filled with irrationality that it cannot stand on its own merits, it cannot defend itself with its own demonstrable truth, but has to be coddled and sheltered from any doubt, any challenge, or any criticism with transparently cowardly blasphemy laws. It can’t even keep its adherents without threatening them with beatings or death if they try to leave. Your religion is a prison camp. But don’t feel singled out, I abuse and hold all religions with equal contempt. It’s just that not all of them actually try t0 use the force of law to make up for their pitiful shortcomings.

    That is a demonstration of freedom of opinion and expression. If I can do that, if YOU can do that under your idiotic law and suffer no consequences, then you’re not a liar, but then your idiotic law doesn’t seem to do much.

    So which is it, Ebe, blasphemy laws, or full freedom of opinion and expression? You can’t have both. If you carve out one subject and make it illegal to disagree, that will just spread like a paralyzing disease until no subject can be freely challenged. Only the officially status quo on any topic will be permitted to be expressed. That will be the end of the growth of knowledge, of culture, and of all human creativity, because growth requires dissension, disagreement, challenge, and criticism. Those are things that you would apparently call “abuse” and “contempt,” only because you are too thin-skinned.