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August 14 2013

The man behind ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ film that stoked anti-US protests has been moved from prison to a halfway house, federal officials say. Egyptian-born Coptic Christian Mark Basseley Youssef, 56, will serve the remaining weeks of his sentence for probation violations stemming from his role in making the video. He previously served time for a 2010 bank fraud conviction and was sent back to prison last year after admitting to breaching the terms of his probation, Reuters reported. Youssef is due to be freed on September 26 but will remain under the supervision of probation officials for the next four years, Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross said.
Director of ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film released to halfway house (RT News, Aug. 14 2013)

December 25 2012


October 17 2012


Egypt must release man on trial for criticizing religion (Amnesty International, Oct. 16 2012)

Alber Saber Ayad was arrested at his home in Cairo on 13 September, a day after angry groups of men had surrounded and tried to break into his house and called for his death, accusing him of heresy and atheism and of promoting “Innocence of Muslims” – a short film regarded by many to be offensive.

His mother called the police for protection but when they eventually arrived the next day they arrested Alber Saber Ayad and confiscated his personal computer and CDs.

Alber Saber Ayad's mother, Kariman Masihah Ghali said that the Public Prosecutor in charge of the investigation had put pressure on her about her own faith asking whether she was a Christian and what she thought of Christianity and of Islam. When she replied that she would be judged by god on these questions he ordered it be recorded that she had refused to give an answer.

Alber Saber Ayad has been charged with “defamation of Islam and Christianity”, “insulting the divine” and “satirizing religious rituals and sanctities and prophets” under articles 98 (f), 160 and 161 of the Egyptian Penal Code.

"Many others in Egypt like Alber Saber Ayad are being prosecuted for blasphemy. These cases set a dangerous precedent for the Egyptian authorities' tolerance of freedom of expression in the country," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui [Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme].

"Action must be taken now to stop the detention of more prisoners of conscience. The authorities must abolish the 'blasphemy' provisions in Egyptian law which are increasingly being used to suppress legitimate freedom of expression."

October 07 2012


Protests Spread Over Anti-Islam Video (VOA Learning English, Sep. 14 2012)

Violent protests spread across the Arab World and other areas Friday over a private video produced in the United States. Crowds targeted American and western embassies as opposition to the film continued to grow. Three days earlier, armed militants killed the American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in an attack in Benghazi, Libya.

October 05 2012


Roses, Not Protest - Norwegian Muslims respond to "Innocence of Muslims" (via YouTube)

Volunteers of the organisation Stand4Hussain handed out flowers to the people in Oslo, with cards attached to them containing an introduction to the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This was in response to the sacrilegious film Innocence of Muslims, that caused outrage all across the Muslim world. Stand4Hussain is a youth organisation of Norwegian Muslims who aim to spread the true teachings of Islam i.e. the teachings of the holy prophet Muhammad and his family (peace be upon them all).

October 02 2012


WorldWide Religious News

  • Bangladesh: Muslims Attack Buddhist Temples, Homes Over Quran Facebook Photo (AP, Sep. 30 2012)

    • ...at least 20 people were injured in the attacks that started late Saturday after a photo of a burned copy of the Muslim holy book was posted on Facebook. The rioters blamed the photo on a local Buddhist boy, though it was not immediately clear if he actually posted the photo.

    • Bangladesh's popular English-language Daily Star newspaper quoted the boy as saying that the photo was mistakenly tagged on his Facebook profile. The newspaper reported that soon after the violence started, the boy's Facebook account was closed and police escorted him and his mother to safety. Joinul Bari, chief government administrator in Cox's Bazar district, said authorities detained the boy's parents and were investigating.

    • The Bangladeshi violence follows protests that erupted in Muslim countries over the past month after a low-budget film, "Innocence of Muslims," produced by a U.S. citizen denigrated the Prophet Muhammad by portraying Islam's holiest figure as a fraud, womanizer and child molester.

  • At United Nations, Organization Of Islamic Cooperation Calls For Ban On Insulting Prophet Muhammad (Huffington Post, Oct. 1 2012)

    "Freedom of speech is one thing, but usage of your freedom should not be to offend others or advocate hate speech or provoke people to violence," Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said an interview with The Huffington Post.

    "The right of demonstration should not be used to kill people or to put fire to buildings or to offend others by burning flags," said Ihsanoglu, who is from Turkey. "So we should not abuse the freedom of demonstration and we should not abuse the freedom of others."

    In a separate interview, the Associated Press reported that Ihsanoglu called for a ban on insults against the Islamic prophet. "If the Western world fails to understand the sensitivity of the Muslim world, then we are in trouble," he told the AP. He said provocative insults are "a threat to international peace and security and the sanctity of life."

    • AAI urges strong response against regressive UN anti-blasphemy resolutions (Atheist Alliance International, Sep. 25 2012)

      “AAI is deeply concerned that the UN member states will overreact to recent protests and violence in Muslim-majority countries – violence which itself is a grotesque overreaction to an amateur video of dubious origin – by endorsing anti-blasphemy resolutions during the General Assembly and within the UN Human Rights Council. Such steps would gravely undermine freedoms of expression and conscience, would give unwarranted privilege to religious viewpoints, and - most dangerously - would provide a veil of legitimacy for governments to oppress citizens in the name of protecting religion,” said President Carlos A. Diaz.

      Indeed, many of the countries that have been the vocal in their support for international regulation have been among the most egregious and regressive oppressors of both freethought and minority religions, often using domestic anti-blasphemy laws to persecute individuals with minority viewpoints. Inevitably, when people think for themselves there are going to be disagreements. The only fair response is to protect people's right to express their views, not to favour one view over another," said Diaz.

October 01 2012


From Africa to Asia, offended Muslims vent anger on Christian churches

Across much of the Muslim world, more than two weeks of backlash to the internet video "Innocence of the Muslims" has occasionally been directed at Christians, from computer hacks to church burnings.

September 29 2012

We have seen recently that most of the Islamic world is demanding that all people avoid defaming their prophet, and suddenly across America our citizens are obeying out of fear or political correctness. We are losing our right to criticize, via our own submission.
— David Silverman, American Atheists President (from atheists.org's Sep. 25 blog post ATHEISTS ASSERT RIGHT TO BLASPHEME)

September 28 2012


Alber Saber: Atheist Discrimination in Egypt

from American Humanist Association:

  • On September 13th, two days after the clashes between Egyptian security forces and protesters broke out over the “Innocence of Muslims” film near the U.S. Embassy, neighbors of Saber claimed that he shared the anti-Islam video on Facebook. This led to an angry mob storming Saber’s house and kicking out Saber and his mother. Saber’s mother called the police to protect her son, but once police arrived it was Saber who was arrested, not those who attacked his home.

  • Saber’s lawyer said police then incited prisoners against Saber, stating that he was an atheist and claiming he had insulted the Prophet Mohamed. This resulted in the prisoners attacking Saber with razors until he was grievously injured. Meanwhile, the mob returned to his home, surrounded the building, and ordered his mother to leave the neighborhood or be burned alive inside the home. Saber’s mother, who is a Coptic Christian, has been in hiding since the attack.

  • Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse, as the Egyptian government accused Saber of religious blasphemy after finding a movie of Saber criticizing both Islamic and Coptic religious leaders and institutions. Saber was refused bail and has been ordered to spend the next two weeks in custody at a secret location.

September 26 2012


September 21 2012

Our constitution means we can’t stop people from making movies that are stupid or grossly offensive. For instance, we made three Transformers. Where were the mobs then? Where were the riots?
Stephen Colbert
Reposted fromsovielsand sovielsand viae-gruppe e-gruppe

September 20 2012


Egyptian atheist arrested for posting ‘Innocence of Muslims’ on Facebook

The Examiner via Atheist Alliance International (Sep. 16 2012):

27-year-old atheist activist, Alber Saber was arrested in Cairo, Egypt after he posted the now infamous 14-minute trailer for the film “Innocence of Muslims” on the Facebook wall of his group, “Egyptians.Atheists.” Neighbors in his mostly Muslim community of el-Marg in eastern Cairo gathered in protest outside Saber’s home on Thursday and Friday with many calling for his death. According to his mother, one person shouted, “Why are we standing down here? Let’s go upstairs and get him.”

The 14-minute trailer for “Innocence of Muslims” has been blamed for protests and rioting against US embassies in Cairo and in other cities throughout the Middle-East. In Libya, the attacks have led to the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Alber Saber was arrested on Friday after his mother called the police out of fear of the crowd outside their home. Saber was arrested under the rarely used law that prohibits insulting religion. He was allegedly thrown in a crowded jail cell and the officer allegedly told those in the cell that Saber had insulted the Prophet Muhammad. There are reports that Saber has been attacked in the jail cell and according to one blog, his neck was slashed with a razorblade.

A Facebook page has been created to demand for Saber’s release. The “Free Alber Saber” Facebook page has over one thousand “likes” at the time of the publication of this article.

The Pakistani authorities had earlier called on the army as police struggled to contain the crowd of thousands with tear gas and live rounds. Some protesters had said they would not leave the diplomatic enclave until the US embassy was on fire...The BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad, who did not see any evidence of the army at the scene, said the protest was ‘turned out like a light’. He said it was amazing, given the strength of feeling at the the protest earlier, that the crowd left as peacefully as it did.
Pakistan anti-Islam film protest ends in Islamabad (BBC News, Sep. 20 2012)

September 19 2012

As Americans, we understand the dual nature of free speech: it serves us by allowing us to share our convictions with others, and it occasionally causes us offense by exposing us to differing perspectives. We must now remember that the right not to be offended isn't enshrined in our Constitution. Even if we abhor statements motivated by hate, the legality of religious critique isn't questionable. That's why we should act swiftly to protect the rights of religious freedom and freedom of speech that are explicitly guaranteed to us. By doing this we might expose ourselves to the forces of hate and terror, but we can't allow fear to rule the day if we hope to maintain our ability to live truly free lives.
Roy Speckhardt: What the Libyan Embassy Attack Teaches Us About True Religious Freedom (Huffington Post, Sep. 13 2012)
反イスラム映画の余波 (中東の窓 2012年9月16日)

Egypt Charges Coptic Christians Linked to Infamous Video

Egyptian authorities have charged seven Coptic Christians living in the United States and a Florida pastor with insulting Islam, and inciting sectarian strife for their alleged links to an online video that has enraged much of the Muslim world.

According to a story by Ed Payne and Saad Abedine of CNN, Egypt's public prosecutor announced the charges Tuesday [Sep. 18 2012]. It is the latest development in the deadly backlash against the low-budget, amateurish 14-minute movie trailer produced privately in the United States and posted on YouTube.

Innocence of Muslims movie trailer (via YouTube)

September 15 2012


United Nations News Centre - UN human rights chief urges religious leaders to restore calm amid anti-Islam film protests

The United Nations human rights chief today [Sep. 14 2012] urged religious and political leaders to do their utmost to restore calm in the wake of an anti-Islam film that has sparked protests in countries across the world.

“The film is malicious and deliberately provocative and portrays a disgracefully distorted image of Muslims. I fully understand why people wish to protest strongly against it, and it is their right to do so peacefully,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a news release.

“However, I utterly condemn the killings in Benghazi, and other violent and destructive reactions to the film and urge religious and political leaders to make a major effort to restore calm,” she added.


【反イスラム映画】 チュニジア大統領の発言

via 中東の窓 (2012年9月15日):

我が国の宗教的過激派の行動は超えてはならない一線 red line を越えた。

Jerusalem protest against Anti Islam movie, Sep. 14, 2012 (via Iraqiya Muslimah Forever)

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