Late last week Tahir Naseem, an American citizen, was murdered while standing trial for blasphemy in a Pakistani court. Naseem was a former member of the persecuted Ahmadi minority, and was lured to Pakistan in 2018 to be detained on charges of blasphemy. Coupled with the continued detention of Nigerian humanist Mubarak Bala since April of this year, it’s become clear that Congress cannot wait any longer to demand an end to blasphemy laws around the world. The silence is unacceptable.
83 countries around the world still have blasphemy laws that endanger the lives of those who do not conform to the state’s official religion or worldview. People of many faiths are all at risk. These laws have dire consequences; conviction can mean life in prison or a death sentence. And as Tahir’s death demonstrates, you don’t even need to be found guilty for your life to be in danger.
Recently, countries such as Greece, Ireland, and Canada have repealed their blasphemy laws and more are considering bringing these draconian laws to an end. However, the situation in many countries is increasingly dire, as evidenced by the the above gruesome news. (American Humanist Society. 6 Aug 2020
My comment: There is a bill before the US Senate, S. res. 458, which calls for an end to all blasphemy, apostasy, and heresy laws around the world. We really should pass this bill and act against the medieval intolerance that persists in various parts of the world. Regrettably, we have our own religious extremists to contend with. Epicureanism stands for tolerance and give and take, regardless of local culture and beliefs.