Friday, November 12, 2010

Atheist Blogger Arrested

A West Bank man, Walid Husayin, has been arrested for insulting Islam.  He has spent several years blogging anonymously about atheism, starting up Facebook pages making fun of Islam, and even saying that he was God.  The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank set up a sting and arrested him last month.  He's in trouble for heresy and could be in jail for life.

I don't agree with everything every blogger says, but I do believe in Freedom of Speech.  And that freedom is sorely lacking in the Middle East.  This is a case that could mess up a lot of hard work.  Many Middle Eastern nations have so little free speech, that just opening the door a crack has been hard to do.  Throwing the door open all the way for an atheist may seem absurd.  So I can understand if free speech proponents stand down and distance themselves from the battle.  It's difficult for freedom of speech advocates who are Muslim to actively aid a man accused of heresy.  But if you truly believe in free speech, that is exactly what you should do.  I really wish this case hadn't happened at this point in time, because it's a lose-lose scenario for freedom of speech in the Middle East. 

The problem with Freedom of Speech is that if you believe in free speech, you have to believe in free speech for everyone.  I don't think the Middle East or Islamic countries are ready for that yet.  But I am still adding Walid Husayin to the list of jailed bloggers who need help.  This story is very recent, so I haven't seen anything about Husayin on Reporters Without Borders, but hopefully his story will show up there soon.

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