free speech

World demands Bangladesh to stop jailing people for blasphemy

Blasphemy laws across the world are driving arrests and imprisonment of atheists and those who don’t adhere to the predominant religion of their region.

A planned protest, on Thursday against the country of Bangladesh, has been postponed in the wake of this week’s garment factory fire which has left at least 238 workers dead.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Ronald Lindsay, president of the Center for Inquiry, to discuss blasphemy laws across the world and the organization’s planned protest.


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Henry Rollins Exclusive: Americans Don’t Understand Second Amendment

From his days fronting the hardcore punk band, Black Flag, to his current public radio gig in California, Henry Rollins has always been someone to speak his mind and to talk about what he thinks could make this a better world.

Rollins spent an hour with Jamila Bey talking about the First Amendment, the state of journalism and speech today, and a topic near to his heart and part of the title of this program: religion.

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Gov’t. Censorship of Offensive Speech Doesn’t Work, Expert Says

If there’s one thing the past three weeks have revealed, it’s the difference in which the United States and countries across the world handle free speech and more specifically religious speech.

The anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” produced in the United States by a Coptic Christian set off a chain reaction of protests across the Muslim world and many nations’ leaders called for the arrest of the filmmaker. In the United States, leaders condemned the video for its attack on one of the major world religions but said that nothing could be done to punish the filmmaker, who was under the protection of the First Amendment.

The film and the subsequent call for his arrest have prompted many of those nations to begin discussing anti-blasphemy laws.

Coincidentally, this discussion began just in time for Sunday’s Blasphemy Rights Day, an annual day “to promote the rights to freedom of belief and expression and stand up in a show of solidarity for the liberty to challenge reigning religious beliefs without fear of murder, litigation, or reprisal,” according to its Facebook page.

To discuss the debated blasphemy laws, free religious speech and more, host Jamila Bey spoke with Dr. Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center.