In Saudi Arabia, under Islamic blasphemy laws, insulting Islam, Mohammad or anyone or thing associated with Islam will get you executed, since the Saudis consider blasphemy 'apostasy' (and Sharia imposes the death penalty for apostasy). Same thing goes for Pakistan. Insult Mohammad, say bye-bye to your head. Defile the Quran, you'll spend the rest of your life in jail.
Egypt, though not yet an Islamic state, still has blasphemy laws, although the sentences are tame in comparison to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Gamal Abdou Massoud, a 17-year-old Christian boy who apparently defamed Islam and Mohammad by posting some cartoons on his Facebook page, will spend three years in prison for his actions.
Gamal Abdou Massoud was also accused of distributing some of his cartoons to his school friends in a village in the southern city of Assiut, home to a large Christian population and the hometown of the late Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda.
“Assiut child’s court ordered the jailing of Gamal Abdou Massoud ... for three years after he insulted Islam and published and distributed pictures that insulted Islam and its Prophet,” the court said in a statement seen by Reuters.
The cartoons, published by Massoud in December, prompted some Muslims to attack Christians. Several Christian houses were burned and several Christians were injured in the violence.
Human rights lawyer Negad al-Borai said the jail sentence was the maximum penalty under Egyptian law for such a crime.
Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s 80 million population, have long had a difficult relationship with Egypt’s overwhelmingly Muslim majority.
Tension between Muslims and Christians has simmered for years but has got worse since the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Christians have become increasingly worried by a surge in attacks on churches, which they blame on hardline Islamists, though experts say local disputes are often also to blame.
The maximum penalty for such a "crime"? The crime is sentencing a child (or anyone else for that matter) to three years in jail for exercising his right to freedom of speech.
But Muslim-majority countries aren't the only ones with blasphemy laws. I was actually surprised to learn that many Western nations have them as well, though some don't implement the laws, and others just hand out hefty fines. Wales and the U.K. only recently abolished their blasphemy laws. But if the Organization of the Islamic Conference has its way, there will be a global "anti-blasphemy law", and we all better watch out.