There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Islamism, or political Islam, is inherently incompatible with freedom of conscience and expression. While in a number of countries (all of them Islamic) atheists can be killed, imprisoned, or denied rights, this only represents the tip of the iceberg. Many other Islamic countries have powerful political forces that believe in violence against anyone who dares question the orthodoxy. If these attitudes have not been enacted as laws just yet, it doesn’t mean that they are not enforced as if they were.
Case in point: Bangladesh. That country does not have the dubious distinction of being marked in the map above. Yet we have already seen massive Islamist protests against atheists NOT being put to death. And of course those riots are continuing and growing ever more violent.
Four people were killed and hundreds injured as a rally in the capital of Bangladesh turned violent. Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of Islamist protesters in the streets of Dhaka who demanded execution for “blasphemous” blogging.
The demonstrators gathered in the capital’s Motijheel commercial district, amounting to between 150,000 to 200,000 people according to AFP. On their way, they set shops and vehicles on fire, according to police accounts.
The protesters are reportedly the activists from the Hefajat-e-Islam group, which blames some Internet users for blasphemy; accusing people of using their blogs to spread atheism and apparent lies about Islam.
The members of the radical Islamist group demanded the death penalty for those who they think defame Islam. The 13-point list of demands also included a ban on the right of women to work outside the household and the prohibition for women to mix with men.
These mobs are so cuddly!
I would remind the anti-“Islamophobia” people who would claim that these are only fringe groups and don’t represent Islam in politics as a whole to remember that the rioters are not demanding anything not glorified by the founders of Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami, major Islamists organizations with tens of millions of followers (the former, for example, controlling both the presidency and the legislature in Egypt). And again, major European or North American Islamic organizations (including the Council for American Islamic Relations) will have zero credibility when they condemn “terrorism” but, rather than distancing themselves from Islamist organizations in Muslim-majority countries, continue to distribute their literature.