Palestinian atheist blogger arrested

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Doug
Palestinian atheist blogger arrested
VanGoghs Ear

It's ridiculously tragic - a life sentence. Ironically with all the time he'll now have to contemplate his existence and the combination of isolation and pychological/emotionall suffering he'll experience over the years, he likely will sincerely come to believe in God.  Either that or committing suicide seem the only options for finding any kind of inner peace in that situation.

VanGoghs Ear

Atheists on Babble need to show some solidarity with this guy !

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

It's sickening that someone could face life inprisonment for not believing in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy.

Devine essence,eh?

Usually people who talk to imaginary people are prescribed an anti-psychotic or fitted with a straight jacket.

It's time to sentence religious zealots to life in prison.....If anyone is a threat to the general public,it's a delusional mad man...Not a reasonable critical thinking individual who doesn't believe in ghosts.

VanGoghs Ear

I guess no one can think of a way to blame this on Israel - hence the lack of posts

 

When I was young I always thought "progressives" would be the first people to stick up for anyone anywhere who was jailed for not believing in God. Growing up and reading and observing soon shattered any illusions I once had about differences between "progressives" and any other partisans of all political stripes when it came to things like integrity, hypocrisy, simplifying complex subjects or avoiding critical analysis of friends and allies, ect.

VanGoghs Ear

call me naive but it took me a while to realize that in any discussion among politicos about for example people being killed - what makes the killings worth discussing is based solely on who did the killing (if the deaths can't be used to attack political enemies then they aren't worth discussing and should be dismissed by quickly changing the subject - this seems to be common to all political partisans of any stripe)

End of rant 

Unionist

I support the right of the Palestinian people to exercise their sovereignty and run their own affairs. Those who love western imperialism and the Israeli murderers, and who despise the Palestinian people for never abandoning their cause in the face of immense obstacles, would like to lecture these inferior creatures as to the superior merits of civilization. There are only two sides here. There is no "grey".

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

To be fair, I hate religious zealots of any faith.

VanGoghs Ear

It's not about that Unionist, what Alan said above.

VanGoghs Ear

There is no universal belief or at least empathy for freedom of conscience with you or on babble?  I'm not talking about any kind of interference in their affairs.

Geoff OB

It was wrong for a judge in Iran to sentence a woman to death by stoning, regardless of Iranian sovereignty.  It was wrong for a judge in Israel to sentence anti-nuclear whistle blower, Mordechai Vanunu, to a lengthy prison sentence in the name of Israeli sovereignty.  Anyone who values human rights should be appalled by these decisions. 

So when a Palestinian judge sentences a man to prison for questioning "divine essence", we should be equally appalled.  Either we respect human rights or we don't.  We do Palestinians no favours by making excuses for unjust decisions made by their courts.  We also make ourselves look foolish in the eyes of those who do respect human rights.

Unionist

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

There is no universal belief or at least empathy for freedom of conscience with you or on babble?  I'm not talking about any kind of interference in their affairs.

Yes there is. But I feel no more empathy for persecuted atheists than for persecuted Muslims, Jews, women, the disabled, Palestinians, queers, or others. And I am quite prepared to dedicate my life to ensuring that my community and my society give the right example, by never practising such persecution. When it comes to lecturing others, however... I try to be very cautious and ensure that I am not just expressing my imaginary "superiority", and I am not preparing the groundwork for another kind of oppression and persecution.

That's why when Harper and his hired swine celebrate their role in excluding Iran from the U.N. human rights council on the grounds of the treatment of women, I have to reach for my nausea pills.

It was likewise when I used to hear white westerners tut-tutting the use of violence by black South Africans in their struggle for emancipation.

And so it is when I read this thread.

 

VanGoghs Ear

I understand perfectly what you are saying, the difference is that I believe personal bias plays more of a part than many will admit. 

Obviously everyone who posts here, I would hope agrees that people anywhere should not be forced to believe something that they don't by penalty of life imprisonment. 

my first thought on post 1 is what made me think and write about this story and not to tut tut anybody as a white westerner( the thought that he and I have different skin colours never cross my mind to be honest, actually I thought of Dostoyevsky.  I suspect Doug posted it for a rather more similar reason than anything you've written about Harper or South Africa.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

Obviously everyone who posts here, I would hope agrees that people anywhere should not be forced to believe something that they don't by penalty of life imprisonment.

 

How about being banned from attending panel discussions att Ryerson University, because of your alleged role in anarchist organizing activities?

VanGoghs Ear

Well that's not exactly the same thing(that's an understatement) but using allegations against a person definitely feels unfair to me.

Cueball Cueball's picture

So where do you stand on that anyway? Do you think that the state should have a right to take a persons right of free speech away because the state alleges that he may have dones something? You don't think that might undermine his ability to raise support for his cause with the public?

VanGoghs Ear

I thought I stated pretty clearly that I don't think allegations should be used against people but I don't follow on Ryerson in post #13 to The State in post #15

To be honest - I was really only interested in this on a human level - what it would feel like to be imprisoned for life for doubting god's existence and how that would that would affect a person's views on fate, faith, among other things like regret vs determination.

Adieu

Cueball Cueball's picture

That really isn't clear at all. Allegations are used against people all the time. That is what law and courts are all about.

What I asked you was if you thought that "allegations" (allegations being the charges brought against someone by the state as charges against them) should be used to curtail a persons right to freedom of speech, even before any charges are proved in a court against them? In other words, should a court rule that someones appearance on a panel presentation at a university be prohibited because that person has been charged with a crime?

VanGoghs Ear

No. I would usually always say that people should be allowed to speak but I'm not an expert in the law so if it has something to do with speaking about the ongoing case, and publication, tainted jury pool, ect - I don't know anything about that to really say anything.

I very much dislike the state stopping anyone from speaking either as an accused or as an ex-con.

That's all I have to say on this drift. (Politely)

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

Atheists on Babble need to show some solidarity with this guy !

 

Sorry for the silence. I thought about posting when I first read the OP, but what's to say? The IHEU and Amnesty International are the organisations best to speak to this I guess. Not sure whether they have said anything. Anyone checked?

al-Qa'bong

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

I guess no one can think of a way to blame this on Israel - hence the lack of posts

 

 

I can't speak for anyone else, but I just came across this thread, and I disagree with jailing anyone for his or her religious beliefs.

As for your comment about those of us who support the human rights of Palestinians in their struggle with the Zionist entity, why don't you go piss up a rope.

Cueball Cueball's picture

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

No. I would usually always say that people should be allowed to speak but I'm not an expert in the law so if it has something to do with speaking about the ongoing case, and publication, tainted jury pool, ect - I don't know anything about that to really say anything.

I very much dislike the state stopping anyone from speaking either as an accused or as an ex-con.

That's all I have to say on this drift. (Politely)

Really! You think that a case involving "conspiracy to assault a peace officer and conspiracy to obstruct justice" might be the kind of criminal offense that would warrant preventing someone from going on to a panel discussion at a university. Frankly I have never heard of a gag order being made against people being accussed of common criminal behaviour in this country, only in cases which are political.

I certainly don't remember anyone suggesting the Michael Bryant should not speak to the press or attend any Liberal party activities, when he was up on criminal negligence charges in a case where he caused someone to die with his motor vehicle. There were no concerns about "speaking about the ongoing case, and publication, tainted jury pool", in that matter.

 

VanGoghs Ear

Cueball - I don't know the details of that case yr speaking of so I don't know how I can answer any better than to say - what I said before - I don't belive that people should be stopped from speaking by the courts.

Al-Qa'bong - I made a cheap shot - I was wrong in doing that

Jingles

Quote:
I guess no one can think of a way to blame this on Israel - hence the lack of posts

Actually, we can blame Israel for this. It is their support for the PA that allows them to exist.

Cueball Cueball's picture

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

Cueball - I don't know the details of that case yr speaking of so I don't know how I can answer any better than to say - what I said before - I don't belive that people should be stopped from speaking by the courts.

That is interesting because you know a lot about something going on in a far away country. Indeed, you are deeply concerned about it.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I am just pointing out that I am not engaging in thread drift. In fact the thread is drift. It is in the category of news of the weird about those opressive muslims and their terrarist sympathizer that allows us to rub our chests and talk about how much better we are over here, and how necessary it is to crack down on dissent here by charging people with vast amorphous conspiracy charges in order to shut them up.

VanGoghs Ear

Wow. Yr a real jerk

What demonstrates in this thread that I know alot about it other than having read the attached story?

VanGoghs Ear

What bullshit.  You're so goddam condescending - you know everything -even other people's motives.  Just because you don't care about this you ascribe in your arrogant way the worst motives to anyone who might be touched by this man's story. 

Afterall anyone who disagrees with the all-knowing Cueball must think muslims are weird terrorists, it couldn't possibly be that someone could relate to this on a purely human level, the philisophical and spiritual questions it would create in the mind of person caught up in this kind of existential farce.

Go ahead and think of me as some cartoon stereotype who's so much lesser than you, who hasn't read hundreds of books, that can't relate to people from different cultures, maybe it's so ingrained in you that you don't realize that some people see people first, before religion or nationality or anything else.

Finally you're a bully and if your intention is to drive away from Babble anyone who doesn't think exactly like you then congratulations, doing a great job.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

I didn't say anything about your motives. I was talking about this anti-Palsestinian fluff piece, and its role in asserting the ideological hegemony.

VanGoghs Ear

ok then

Back to what I was thinking originally - ie Existential Farce

Say Walid, after a while in prison pretends that he has become a devout believer to try and get out of prison, he prays and follows all the customs but the authorities think he's lying to try and get out of prison but what if really did become a true believer and prayed and followed all the customs but the authorities still think he's lying to get out of prison... (by faking it for a long time could it actually lead to it becoming the real thing, I'd say the difference hardly matters because ... 

if he becomes a true believer and prays and follows all the customs and finds some inner peace when he dies if God exists, it can be said that going to prison saved him and God would be happy and Walid would spend the rest of eternity in heaven.  If God doesn't exist it won't matter because he'll be dead.

How does Atheism give him a reason tp keep on living and I say this as an agonostic myself?  If God does exist it's a cruel entity.

milo204

Ugh.  this post is a great example of why we are so fractured and ineffective.  We can't stop arguing with each other about anything and everything and, as usual, taking it very personally.

I'm not even sure what everyone here is arguing about.  Yes it is stupid to imprison someone for what they believe, especially when it comes to belief in the supernatural.  What else is there to discuss?

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

We don't actually know a lot about what Walid has been imprisoned for. There is a lot of extraneous context material floated into this, and not a lot of hard facts. It is asserted that the charge is heresy? Is that really the case. Even if it is, do we know that this is the only charge presented. Is it also possible that this dissident blogger was aslo councilling other illegal activities. Indeed, he was councelling people to smoke pot. That is illegal in most countries.

Did he for example, suggest that his "followers" decapitate the president of the PA? Indeed, such a threat comprised a part of an investigation into "terrorism" here. Other than some disjointed quotes from a variety of sources, and wide rangeing references to things such as the "Danish Cartoon" controversy, there isn't a whole lot in here. The way the article is put togther is very wishy-washy and short on facts.

I am reminded of the dire way the mainstream media handled the "Sex on the Beach" story about Michelle Palmer, and how huge holes were left in the story (such as that she and her companion were also accussed of assaulting a police officer) and the reporting focussed on the dire consequences, such as a "possible" 6 year prisons sentence for a mild crime, when in fact she ended up with a 3 month suspended sentence and a fine, not unlike the kind we might expect here for such an offense.

But the whole story was framed in such a way that it left a lot of room for prejudice and supposition to be inserted in the story. There may be a lot more here, and a lot less at the same time. However, when all is said and done, in the "sex on the beach" story, the public was left with the impression of a really hysterical nature, based on the reporting, because at the end of the journalistic fiasco, it turned out all the dire implications were way overblown, and that never really made it to the press.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Upon review I see that PA says: "Husayin has not been charged but remains in detention, said Palestinian security spokesman Adnan Damiri." So we don't actually know if this has anything at all to do with his religious views at all.

 

 

Doug

Cueball wrote:

We don't actually know a lot about what Walid has been imprisoned for. There is a lot of extraneous context material flowated into this, and not a lot of hard facts. It is asserted that the charge is heresy? Is that really the case. Even if it is, do we know that this is the only charge presented. Is it also possible that this dissident blogger was aslo councilling other illegal activities. Indeed, he was councelling people to smoke pot.

So? It still seems a poor excuse for arresting someone - and I am not saying we're any better here at not arresting people for dumb reasons.

 

 

Noah_Scape

"Actually Atheists" - a term referring to people who are actually atheist, but don't want to admit it. Social pressure, more than religious pressure, is behind this hesitation to admit their true belief.

In those fundamentalist religious nations there are a lot of atheists who are afraid to admit it, for fear of persecution.

 

------ Here is an interview with an atheist in Saudi Arabia:

http://oproject.wordpress.com/2007/06/16/interview-with-arab-atheist/

Q: Yes Bahrain is the same way. There are many atheists and agnostics here, in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait, and the Iranians I meet are almost never attached to religion. Many do describe themselves as atheists too as they are strongly against all forms of religion especially if it's enforced upon them. This is what drives people away from Islam - nobody likes to be forced to believe anything.

A: You will be surprised as to how many people are like me here and feel the way I do but don't feel comfortable enough sharing these ideas.

And you share them quite comfortably, you even quickly agreed to do this interview, why?

A: To show everyone that Arabs aren't really what most people say we are especially with regards to our youth. Atheism, converts, apostasy, these are all considered big taboos that's why we don't talk about it.

Arabs should never be defined as Muslims. We're all different and fellow Arabs need to learn how to respect this difference instead of trying to make everyone else think the way they do.

A lot of young Arabs like me don't follow the path of Islam.

 

-------------And one from Yemen:

I'm from a fanatic Arab Islamic country (Yemen).

I am irreligious, secular, unbeliever, naturalist, and humanist. I believe in humanity, equality, human rights, general & personal freedoms for males & females, religious freedom, democracy, opinion freedom, modernity, extra...

I live within a society [that] never possesses such concepts and practices, it neither believes in such things, nor deals with them, or understands them.

It is a society of groups of Islamists, extremists and backward tribes who are also fanatic Muslim and work hand in hand with the Islamists, extremists & fundamentalists. I belong to the secret, modern, civilized, educated, cultured, secular and irreligious or atheistic community in the country, which is very little and under persecution, oppression, domination, threat, and constant danger entirely as they are considered as atheists, infidels, the enemy of Allah (God) ,the enemy of faith and the enemy of Islam.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Doug wrote:

Cueball wrote:

We don't actually know a lot about what Walid has been imprisoned for. There is a lot of extraneous context material flowated into this, and not a lot of hard facts. It is asserted that the charge is heresy? Is that really the case. Even if it is, do we know that this is the only charge presented. Is it also possible that this dissident blogger was aslo councilling other illegal activities. Indeed, he was councelling people to smoke pot.

So? It still seems a poor excuse for arresting someone - and I am not saying we're any better here at not arresting people for dumb reasons.

You don't even know the "excuse", do you? Since he has not been charged. For all we know they will charge him with telling people to smoke pot.

All that has happened is that the guy has been detained for writing stuff on the internet. You don't know what it is that he was writing about that got him arrested. I could be anything. Because he is an "athiest blogger" who has incensed some muslims you assume that because it is the Palestinian authority that they arrested him for "Heresy". Why because you just assume that any people arrested by Muslim people must be being persectuted because they don't like Islam.

Then you have a bunch of quotes from some incensed Muslim people saying he should die. Then throw in some more fluff about the Danish Cartoons. And then say that if convicted of Heresy, something for which he has not been charge, he might be executed or face life in prison.

Gee, well if the convict him of murder he might get a life sentence. Same with peodophilia, and so on and so forth. The fact is that there is no charge according to the PA. For all you know they might be holding him to protect him from outraged Muslim vigilantes.

This is junk prejudiced reporting at its highest. Of course if it turns out that he was arrested for trying to get his followers to decapitate Mahmoud Abas, you will never hear about it, but this highly tendentious and hysterical "impression" of the PA will be firmly fixed in the minds of gullible public.

Wasn't it you who first posted that attrocious "sex on the beach" story, where Michelle Palmer was allegedly going down for 6 years for heavy petting on the beach in Dubai?

George Victor

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

ok then

Back to what I was thinking originally - ie Existential Farce

Say Walid, after a while in prison pretends that he has become a devout believer to try and get out of prison, he prays and follows all the customs but the authorities think he's lying to try and get out of prison but what if really did become a true believer and prayed and followed all the customs but the authorities still think he's lying to get out of prison... (by faking it for a long time could it actually lead to it becoming the real thing, I'd say the difference hardly matters because ... 

if he becomes a true believer and prays and follows all the customs and finds some inner peace when he dies if God exists, it can be said that going to prison saved him and God would be happy and Walid would spend the rest of eternity in heaven.  If God doesn't exist it won't matter because he'll be dead.

How does Atheism give him a reason tp keep on living and I say this as an agonostic myself?  If God does exist it's a cruel entity.

You hung in there well, VGE.  Of course people hereabouts should be able to say they detest religion and the slaughter it creates. What you are experiencing here is a calculated obfuscation practised by experts, and butting up against it only leaves one with high blood pressure and indigestion.

Know that your point is well taken. 

VanGoghs Ear

just to finish my thought on the post #29 ( following)  the difference hardly matters because ... "

If a truly devout person is praying and god does not exist than they are not really speaking to god, they are faking it whether they know it or not. And the reverse is also true, if God exists then a person faking it actually really is praying and God is listening whether they know it or not.

VanGoghs Ear

thanks very much GV

Cueball Cueball's picture

What point? That a whole bunch of people are sucking up media story based on suppositions, rumours and some off hand rumours about a charge of heresy that has not even been laid?

VanGoghs Ear

Thank you Noah - I'm glad you mentioned the idea that all people from predomiantly muslim countries shouldn't be assumed to all belive the same things regarding religion or anything else even if they have to keep quiet or go along so as to not upset the powers that be.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Let me guess, by not immediately denouncing this alleged persecution of a Palestinian atheist, we are proving that we are participating in the New Anti-Semitism :-p

Cueball Cueball's picture

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

Thank you Noah - I'm glad you mentioned the idea that all people from predomiantly muslim countries shouldn't be assumed to all belive the same things regarding religion or anything else even if they have to keep quiet or go along so as to not upset the powers that be.

And what is the data we are examining in this case precisely? A story about something that hasn't actually happened.

VanGoghs Ear

laine lowe wrote:

Let me guess, by not immediately denouncing this alleged persecution of a Palestinian atheist, we are proving that we are participating in the New Anti-Semitism :-p

Paranoid much?

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

laine lowe wrote:

Let me guess, by not immediately denouncing this alleged persecution of a Palestinian atheist, we are proving that we are participating in the New Anti-Semitism :-p

Paranoid much?

Literal much?

Unionist

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

Thank you Noah - I'm glad you mentioned the idea that all people from predomiantly muslim countries shouldn't be assumed to all belive the same things regarding religion or anything else even if they have to keep quiet or go along so as to not upset the powers that be.

Gee, people who live in "predominantly muslim countries" have to tread pretty carefully, eh?

Nice to see you've got some supporters in this thread. And as a lifelong and committed atheist, I am so pleased to see you standing tall for freedom of conscience throughout the world - especially in predominantly muslim countries, and particularly in that radical Islamist stronghold, the West Bank.

Someone pinch me, please.

 

Snert Snert's picture

I'm just really glad to see that the Palestinian Authority has the necessary resources to follow people around to see how they feel about ghosts.  Life must be getting better when you've got that kind of time to waste.

remind remind's picture

Cueball wrote:
VanGoghs Ear wrote:
Thank you Noah - I'm glad you mentioned the idea that all people from predomiantly muslim countries shouldn't be assumed to all belive the same things regarding religion or anything else even if they have to keep quiet or go along so as to not upset the powers that be.

And what is the data we are examining in this case precisely? A story about something that hasn't actually happened*.

"

It seems some are overlooking this point in order to play to their agenda...so I thought I would again indicate what Cue has correctly pointed out.

* bolding mine

 

 

George Victor

What has happened is that he has been imprisoned for "insulting the divine essence," and while many in town say he should be killed,some family members are less vindictive, and only want him jailed for life.

Whew! Perhaps it will all turn out for the best.

Snert Snert's picture

And he's only being held without being charged.  That's good now, right?

remind remind's picture

wow, much like Canada then, when they held people during the G20 without charge.

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