We don’t have to worry about it much in the West, but there are dozens of countries where criticizing religion, or even just saying that there is no God, is a hazardous affair that can land you in jail — or worse. If you’re an atheist and you sometimes feel under siege from the majority of theists in the U.S. or Europe, imagine what life is like for the folks listed below.
• Alex Aan, Indonesia: 30-year-old atheist, said on Facebook there is no god. Imprisoned.
• Abdul Aziz Mohammed Al-Baz (also known as Ben Baz), Kuwait: Blogger and atheist, jailed, charged with blasphemy (that’s him in the picture).
• Turki Al Hamad, Saudi Arabia: Novelist, in prison for tweets critical of Islam and Islamism.
• Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia: Charged with apostasy for setting up a website that “harms the public order and violates Islamic values”.
• Asia Bibi, Pakistan: 45-year-old Christian mother of five, sentenced to death for “insulting the Prophet Mohammad.”
• Hamza Kashgari, Saudi Arabia: 23-year-old Muslim, charged with blasphemy for Tweeting about Mohammad and women’s rights.
• Saeed Malekpour, Iran: Sentenced to death for “insulting and desecrating Islam.”
• Shahin Najafi, Germany: Lives under an Iranian death fatwa for writing a song critical of an imam.
• Ahmad Rajib, Bangladesh: Atheist blogger, killed last month in a machete attack by angry Muslims.
• Alber Saber, Egypt: Atheist blogger, sentenced to three years in prison for blasphemy.
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[image via Laughing in Purgatory]
Rogier is a Dutch-born, New-England-dwelling multi-media maven (OK, a writer and photographer) whose dead-tree publishing credits include the New York Times, Wired, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Reason.