A few months ago, a young Saudi man, Hamza Kashgari, expressed his views on the prophet Mohammed in a Tweet: “I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you. I will not pray for you.” A Facebook group of 20,000 soon demanded his execution for apostasy under sharia law. He is imprisoned awaiting trial and possible execution.
Execution for religious blasphemy? How primitive. In Canada, we merely have blasphemers called up before human rights commissions, to be humiliated and occasionally bankrupted.
These commissions, in their speech-suppressive mode, are ugly things. But they seem benign by comparison with what’s going on in the U.K., where the system seems to hover somewhere between Canada and Saudi Arabia in its treatment of blasphemers.