NEW YORK, Sep 12 (IPS) – In nations missing sure spiritual freedoms, the daring multi-faith membership of the Worldwide Spiritual Freedom Roundtable’s Marketing campaign to Eradicate Apostasy and Blasphemy Legal guidelines, can be forbidden.
This archaic, and at occasions, violent truth is driving a biblical justice authority, a global activist and a group of culturally and religiously numerous advocates to boost their voices with member states, simply earlier than world leaders arrive for the high-level section of the 77th UN Normal Meeting session which commences in New York Metropolis September 20.
The journey will spotlight the twelve nations at the moment imposing the dying penalty for apostasy and blasphemy prices, calling for its quick repeal.
Freedom of faith or perception is universally considered elementary human proper and is protected by worldwide covenants and nationwide constitutions alike.
Nevertheless, courts proceed to mete out unjustifiably lengthy jail sentences and even dying sentences to people for non-violent, victimless conduct corresponding to committing blasphemy or apostasy.
Lately, Nigerian humanist Mubarak Bala was sentenced to an unimaginable 24 years’ imprisonment for an allegedly blasphemous Fb publish he made expressing his disbelief in an afterlife.
Although the dying penalty isn’t truly imposed upon a convicted particular person in a overwhelming majority of instances, the sentence itself relegates convicts to years and a long time of extended imprisonment on dying row, denial of medical care whereas in jail, withholding of authorized counsel, and infinite interrogation.
Beforehand, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani girl, languished on dying row for eight years on prices of blasphemy merely for ingesting water from a canteen whereas choosing berries with a bunch of Muslim girls.
After her launch and acquittal in 2019, Asia was compelled to flee her residence nation in concern of reprisal assaults by radical Islamists.
In 2014, a pregnant Sudanese girl Mariam Ibrahim – who was imprisoned on apostasy prices for her marriage to a Christian man, and as a lady born to a Muslim father – was compelled to offer beginning to her second little one whereas her legs remained shackled to the cell flooring.
As a Christ follower, I’m reminded of occasions when God revealed his coronary heart for justice via tales like that of Esther, whom was strengthened to boldly intercede for an oppressed group of non secular minorities.
The time is now for United Nations Member States to do the identical, via their set personal of convictions, in an effort to create communities of human flourishing and security for individuals who are persecuted for freedom of faith or perception.
Talking on Islam’s place on blasphemy, there may be a lot proof that Prophet Muhammad pardoned his worst critics. Blasphemy legal guidelines and inhumane punishments for blasphemy don’t have any legitimacy within the Quran.
The Quran doesn’t command Muslims to kill blasphemers.
Surah (verse) 4:140 of the Quran states – “Should you hear folks denying and ridiculing God’s revelation, don’t sit with them until they begin to discuss of different issues…”
There is no such thing as a reference to killing and or issuing fatwas.
Even the place moratoriums on the dying penalty exist, religion minorities and people who categorical views and views deviating from these prescribed by the bulk faith may be in great hazard.
Mauritania, which has upheld a moratorium on the dying sentence since 1987, convicted blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir of apostasy and sentenced him to dying as just lately as 2014 for an article he wrote criticizing the usage of Islam to justify the caste system in his nation. Thankfully, Mkhaitir was launched from jail in 2019.
In Pakistan, the place the dying sentence is commonly issued to perceived blasphemers – most frequently Christian and Ahmadi Muslim minorities – however not carried out– legal guidelines criminalizing apostasy and blasphemy embolden state and non-state actors alike to commit acts of violence in opposition to harmless civilians.
In July 2021, a police constable slashed and killed a person named Muhammad Waqas who had been beforehand acquitted of blasphemy prices; the perpetrator explicitly said perceived blasphemy because the crimes’ impetus.
A number of months later, in December 2021, a Sri Lankan nationwide Priyantha Kumara was lynched by a mob and had his physique burned by an offended mob within the Pakistani metropolis of Sialkot.
Kumara was a garment manufacturing facility supervisor who had been accused of committing blasphemy after eradicating an Islamic poster from the manufacturing facility’s partitions to arrange for a renovation mission.
These non-state actors, fortified by lackluster legal guidelines, pose a severe impediment to human rights, free speech and dignity, making a system the place typically even state supported spiritual leaders name for the dying penalty and different inhumane punishments.
A newer and equally horrific incident occurred in Sokoto Nigeria, when younger Christian school pupil Deborah Samuel Yakubu was stoned to dying and set on fireplace by her very personal Muslim classmates.
Days prior, Yakubu had angered the perpetrators by questioning why her faculty course’s WhatsApp chat was getting used to debate contentious spiritual affairs fairly than specializing in educational points.
At present, twelve nations that keep the dying penalty for apostasy, blasphemy, or each; these embody Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. *
Moreover, roughly 40% of UN Member States – a few of them holding seats within the Human Rights Council – criminalize apostasy and blasphemy, regardless of their lack of the dying sentence for such ‘crimes’.
Nevertheless, it’s not with out criticism and a focus by human rights and spiritual freedom activists and even representatives of the United Nations who’ve emphasised the inhumanity of apostasy and blasphemy legal guidelines and referred to as for his or her repeal.
This consists of the UN Normal Meeting, the UN Secretary-Normal, the UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, and the Particular Rapporteurs on freedom of faith or perception, and on extrajudicial killings, respectively.
Now, civil society is taking issues into its personal arms.
Efforts to work towards the abolition of the dying penalty for apostasy and blasphemy have been a bottom-up grassroots strategy. Subsequent week, a delegation of human rights and spiritual freedom advocates will journey to the United Nations to satisfy with representatives from the missions of quite a few UN Member States, together with Luxembourg, Canada, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Niger, and Australia.
Their aim is to extend assist amongst UN Member States for the insertion of language within the UNGA Decision on Extrajudicial, abstract or arbitrary executions stating that “the dying penalty ought to by no means be imposed as a sanction for apostasy, blasphemy, or different perceived spiritual offense.
As a capstone to the multifaith, multicultural and multidisciplinary United Nations advocacy fly-in, the group will host a difficulty briefing pointing to the crucial proposed decision language, calling for the quick repeal of the dying penalty for apostasy and blasphemy prices.
The briefing, which is open to the press, will highlight survivors in their very own voice. The event of pluralistic resilient communities which uphold fundamental human rights and permit for human flourishing amongst inevitable interdependent globalized societies rely upon the undaunted actions these in energy.
We name upon all Member States to hitch us on this battle towards worldwide spiritual freedom by supporting the IRF Marketing campaign’s decision language right now.” Extra information right here.
Dr. Christine M. Sequenzia, MDiv. is Co-Chair, Worldwide Spiritual Freedom Roundtable Marketing campaign to Eradicate Blasphemy and Apostasy Legal guidelines
Soraya Marikar Deen, is a Lawyer, Neighborhood Organizer, Worldwide Activist; Human Rights & Gender Fairness Advocate. She can be Co-chair Ladies’s Working Group @ Int. Spiritual Freedom Roundtable and Founder MuslimWomenSpeakers
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