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On Sunday (25th September), Christian writer and political activist, Nahed Hattar, was murdered on the steps of a law court in Jordan after having shared a satirical cartoon mocking an ISIS soldier and his beliefs. Hattar was on his way to attend a court hearing because of the cartoon. He had turned himself in in mid-August to the Amman governor after the government ordered an investigation into the caricature issue, since it was deemed offensive to Islam. He remained in custody until two weeks ago when he was released on bail.

Photo of Nahed Hattar held by people protesting his death

Photo of Nahed Hattar held by people protesting his death

Hattar’s family reported that the writer was given no protection by the authorities despite having received hundreds of death threats after he shared the cartoon on Facebook.

“We handed over 200 names to the governor [of Amman], including that of the assassin, and demanded protection […] But he refused, saying there was ‘no real threat’” said Khaled Hattar, brother of Hattar.

Hattar’s was one of the cases the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) raised at the UN Human Rights Council this week.

In a statement supported by The Raif Badawi Foundation, Arab Humanists and Adhoc organization, IHEU representative, Kacem El Ghazzali, argued that blasphemy laws run in diametric opposition to the fundamental right to free expression. He noted, “We can only promote the right to free expression and plurality of opinions by abolishing all blasphemy and apostasy laws. Such laws not only violate freedom of speech and belief, but legitimize hate speech, mob violence and persecution of minorities.”

In his statement, El Ghazzali also raised other cases of concern to the IHEU; that of Sayyed Al Qemany, who has recently been prosecuted for blasphemy in Egypt and Morocco’s introduction of an anti-blasphemy law.

The full statement follows in English and Arabic, below:



International Humanist and Ethical Union
ORAL STATEMENT

UN Human Rights Council, 33rd Session (13th – 30th September 2016)
General Debate: Item 8

Kacem El Ghazzali

This statement is supported by The Raif Badawi Foundation, Arab Humanists and Adhoc organization

Over 20 years ago, the Vienna declaration set out the need for states to take “all appropriate measures to counter intolerance and violence based on religion and belief […] recognizing that every individual has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, expression and religion.”

Despite this, we continue to witness and report religious intolerance and systematic persecution against freethinkers and non-believers.

Egypt: Following comments on Islamist Violence, the writer Sayyed Al Qemany has recently been prosecuted for ‘blasphemy’.

Jordan: Nahed Hattar a writer who was arrested for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam has been shot dead.

Morocco: The country that hosted the adoption of Rabat Plan of Action, which recommends the repeal of blasphemy laws, joined recently the club of countries legalizing anti- blasphemy laws by introducing article 267 in the penal code which criminalizes any criticism of Islam in any form.

We can only promote the right to free expression and plurality of opinions by abolishing all blasphemy and apostasy laws. Such laws not only violate freedom of speech and belief, but legitimize hate speech, mob violence and persecution of minorities.

A state has no right to be concerned about what people believe or think, rather it should guarantee the right to think and express one’s opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation or censorship.

We object fundamentally to the notion that “blasphemy” should be treated as a criminal offense, and we call on all the states mentioned above through this council to comply with their human rights obligations, and abolish all blasphemy laws.


 

International Humanist and Ethical Union
ORAL STATEMENT

إلقيت هذه المداخلة بمجلس حقوق الإنسان بجنيف الدورة 33 بإسم الإتحاد الدولي للعمل الأخلاقي والإنساني وبدعم كل من  منظمة رائف بدوي للحرية، الإنسانويون العرب، ومنظمة أدهوك

سيدي الرئيس،

منذ أكثر من 20 عاما، أقر إعلان فيينا حاجة الدول إلى اتخاذ “جميع التدابير المناسبة لمواجهة التعصب والعنف على أساس الدين والمعتقد […] مع الإعتراف بأن لكل فرد الحق في حرية الفكر والضمير والتعبير والدين “.

على الرغم من ذلك، فإننا لا نزال نشهد ونوثق حالات من التعصب الديني والاضطهاد المنهجي ضد المفكرين الأحرار وغير المؤمنين.

بعض الأمثلة:

الأردن: إغتيال الكاتب ناهض حتر بالرصاص لدى وصوله للمحاكمة بتهمة إهانة الإسلام.

مصر: بسبب تصريحات بشأن العنف الاسلامي، تم مؤخرا مقاضاة الكاتب سيد القمني بتهمة “إزدراء الأسلام”.

المغرب:  الدولة التي احتضنت قمة الرباط من أجل التحرك والتي دعت إلى ألى إلغاء قوانين إزدراء الأديان، ينظم مؤخرا إلى نادي الدول التي تشرعن قوانين إزدراء الأديان من خلال تقديم قانون رقم 267 من القانون الجنائي والذي يجرم أي نقد للإسلام، بأي شكل من الأشكال.

إن القضاء على قوانين ازدراء الاديان و قوانين الردة هو سبيلنا الوحيد للوصول لــحرية التعبير و تعدد الأراء. تلك القوانين لا تنتنهك حرية الاعتقاد و التعبير فحسب، بل انها أيضاً تعطي شرعية لخطاب الكراهيه، العنف الغوغائي و إضطهاد الاقليات.

الدوله لا  يمكن بأي شكل من الأشكال أن تملك حق التدخل في ما يعتقد أو يفكر الناس، و من واجبها ضمان حريتهم في التعبير عن أراءهم و أفكارهم دون خوف من الإنتقام أو الرقابة.

نحن نعترض في الاساس على إعتبار “إزدراء الأديان” جريمة يعاقب عليها القانون و ندعو الدول المذكوره أعلاه للالتزام بمسئولياتهم في ما يخص حقوق الانسان و وإلغاء جميع قوانين الازدراء.

26 سبتمبر 2016

 

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