Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide

October 31, 2011

In Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide, Paul Marshall and Nina Shea examine the way accusations of "blasphemy," "apostasy," or "insulting Islam" are increasingly used by authoritarian governments and extremist forces in the Muslim world to acquire and consolidate power. The authors document the political effects in Muslim societies of blasphemy and apostasy laws, as well as non-governmental fatwas and vigilante violence, arguing that these threaten not only moderate Islam but also the freedoms of speech and religion of all. Finally, they address the recent move toward new blasphemy laws in the West and the increasing threat of violence to stifle commentary on Islam in the West. The book features a foreword by the late Abdurrahman Wahid, former president of Indonesia and head of Nahdlatul Ulama (the world's largest Muslim organization), as well as short chapters on religious freedom within Islam by noted scholars Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd and Abdullah Saeed.

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