e-Blasphemy Now a Crime in Jordan January 16, 2010

e-Blasphemy Now a Crime in Jordan

Want to blaspheme?

You can’t do it in the country of Jordan or they’ll come after you.

The Jordanian government has ruled that electronic communication like websites will be subject to the country’s Press and Publications Law, prohibiting speech that insults religion, according to reports from the region.

Doesn’t matter if it’s a news article, blog post, text message, Tweet, or Facebook status update.

This means your Tweet might get you to prison. Some others said for example if you did not [log in] to your facebook account for about a week and someone commented in your fan page or profile and the comment contained [a] word that can be punished by the law you will be subject a fine or be prosecuted by the law.

Jesus H. Allah, that’s frightening. As the excerpt says, the new law leaves the door wide open for one enemy to plant blasphemous messages on another, in a way that the “victim” will get punished for it.

I wonder if any Jordanians are brave enough to do what Atheist Ireland did and publish blasphemous quotations on a public website. Certainly, the consequences for Jordanians would be much more severe…

(via @FarrahEditor)


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  • Deiloh

    Holy Crap on a Cracker!!

  • Richard Wade

    What pathetic cowards they are, to try to outlaw disagreement. They hide their flimsy faith and their decrepit arguments behind a law. All laws prohibiting free discussion of any ideas or beliefs are the waste product of the gutless and the spineless.

    Any country, any culture that tries to ban freedom of thought deserves the retrogressive obsolescence and irrelevance into which it will drift.

    The regions of the world that are not afraid of free thought will leave them behind. They’ll be at best a quaint second choice tourist destination.

  • qwertyuiop

    I wonder if any of the people who passed this absurd law, or some other high profile people in Jordan have Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else where people can post comments to get them in trouble? See if they’re subject to their own laws. Doubtful, but it would be an interesting exercise.

  • gski

    “…the new law leaves the door wide open for one enemy to plant blasphemous messages…”

    One enemy or the government.

  • Maybe we should start a Twitter campaign. To #Jordan your blasphemy law = fail Jesus loving Allah Christ!

  • It all sounds relative to me. Is their going to be some kind of ‘list’ going out to the millions of people? Who’s job is it going to be to dictate what is and is not “blasphemous”? Furthermore, how do they ever expect to enforce such a vague and ridiculous law. The man power alone makes this an impossible feat.
    When are we going to get past all this silly bullshit

  • Laramie

    Wow. Absurd. I wonder if the “crime” must be committed while the person is on Jordanian soil, or if WE are now wanted… What if the person is in Jordan but not in Jordanian cyberspace? That sounds like such a foolish question, but look at the foolishness of the subject.

  • Isn’t Jordan the country w/ the hot young queen who went on Oprah a while back saying it’s a fallacy that Muslim women are required to wear burqas?

    http://www.jordanembassyus.org/speech_hmqr10052001.htm

    Interesting.

  • Todd

    Perhaps the Jordanian government needs to be introduced to the wonderful denizens of 4chan b board.

  • Benjamin (Hazor) V.

    Todd: I second the motion.

  • Elis

    I feel sad for the decent people who happened to live there.

  • NewEnglandBob

    Islam is such a filthy religion that it causes this kind of nonsense.

  • I wonder what Queen Noor (formerly American, Lisa Halaby) thinks of this? I guess I won’t be going to Jordan anytime soon. Too bad, I love their almonds.

  • bigjohn756

    When I was in Jordan in 93 and 94 I found it to be a very liberal Muslim nation. Women in the armed services, women driving cars, alcohol served every where even during Ramadan, etc., etc.. I did not feel intimidated like I had in Saudi Arabia when I was there in 85. I wonder what happened? Is it the new king? I don’t know but I am very disappointed. Jordan was a very cool country with lots of great things to see.

  • I’ve only seen Jordan from the Israeli side the Dead Sea. With laws like this, that is probably all I will see of Jordan for some time to come.

  • Laramie

    We can’t lump the populace in with one bad law. Another similar example is Iran, where the people generally liberal (Westernized, really) and the ruling government is extremist.

    Elis, I agree.

    NewEnglandBob, “An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.” (Don Marquis)

  • Rev. Mastermind

    First though: Well, shit.

    It has definitely fallen very far in my “I should go here sometime” list. In my own humble opinion, one of the scariest things a government can do is try to prevent free opinions. It’s one of those things where NOTHING good can come from it.

    Also, from the way it’s worded- someone can post a “blasphemous” message on another person’s account and the innocent person can be punished? O.O

    SCARY

  • Ben

    NewEnglandBob: Tell that to the Irish. It’s not just Islam that wants to hide behind anti-blasphemy laws.

    On another note, Islamic states are only examples of what would happen should Christianity become theocracies again. If they (Christians, or at least the hierarchy) had it their way, they’d be just like Islamic states. Thankfully the western world has constitutions, courts, and democratic process to protect us.

  • Holy Jesus H Christ, I’m going to prison 1st and Hell later….!

  • WK

    And all this time I thought Jordan was one of the very few progressive islamic states.

    FWIW Queen Rania does maintain an online presence with twitter account, a facebook and a youtube channel.

  • qwertyuiop

    Is their going to be some kind of ‘list’ going out to the millions of people? Who’s job is it going to be to dictate what is and is not “blasphemous”?

    The mere fact that some people don’t believe is blasphemous. We know this from the reactions to the “Don’t believe in God?” billboards.

    @Ben: my thoughts exactly.

  • This makes me very frightened for my Jordanian atheist friend that I met on Twitter.

  • muggle

    All the blasphemy laws worldwide are freaking scary as hell. Not least of all because it is so arbitrary.

  • Donny said:

    Who’s job is it going to be to dictate what is and is not “blasphemous”? Furthermore, how do they ever expect to enforce such a vague and ridiculous law.

    Like all laws of this type, they won’t enforce it. The “average” person will still be able to say something like “God is not great!” and get away with it. No, what is going to happen is the law will be used to silence those who have a following.

    People who push for real change to bring liberty to the people, those who have a large enough group willing to follow them, will have their online correspondence thoroughly checked until the Jordanian government finds something, anything, that looks even the slightest bit blasphemous to use against the would be liberator.

    Charge them, prosecute them, lock them up, and you scare the rest of the movement into silence and inaction.

    Its a classic move used by repressive governments, and some progressive ones too, both past, present, and future.

    Pete…

  • cypressgreen

    "Some others said for example if you did not [log in] to your facebook account for about a week and someone commented in your fan page or profile and the comment contained [a] word that can be punished by the law you will be subject a fine or be prosecuted by the law. "

    These societies are threatened by "information." This is a very clever way of shutting the doors on technology. Disgusting, but clever.

  • Jordanian Ex-Muslim

    Who determines what is and isn’t blasphemous will be the mukhabarat, our secret police. The percentage of people in Jordan who even have a computer is very low, like 16%. The ones who have internet is even lower, the ones who blog or tweet even lower than that. In Jordan, the people who blog or do Twitter and all this are a small group, mostly elite. It’s very easy to keep track of.

    This isn’t new, they have monitored our blogs and emails for a long time, it’s just a new instrument for them to go after political enemies of the regime – this isn’t about religion, people. Yes our queen wears designer clothes and has a Twitter account, and anyone in Jordan who makes fun of her for this risks imprisonment. How “liberal” do you guys think the regimes your tax dollars support are?

    Is someone brave enough to do something online in Jordan? No, we’re not. Even the more liberal Jordanian bloggers will never say anything against allah and his wonderful “religion of peace” – even if they don’t practice it, they will defend it as their Arab heritage. Many of them see Islam as what holds them together as an ethnically diverse people in a troubled region, even though that idea is total bullshit propaganda.

    It’s not like the Irish law where someone will be fined or something. You will be put in prison. You will be beaten – by guards and probably by other prisoners. Torture happens in our prisons.

    If the shariah court declares you an apostate they will revoke your custody of your children, and seize your assets & property – all of them. Your marriage will probably be annulled. Your religious identification will be removed from your hawiyah, which means everyone will know you are a heretic when you go for a job or to rent a place or many other things you need hawiyah for. Atheists are despised by the Christians and Muslims alike in Jordan, and the 2006 cartoon nonsense now has their backs up more than ever.

    This is why I left Jordan, so I can be an atheist and say so online. I have been thinking of cutting up my passport and mailing it into them.