Palestinian Authority creates new social media blasphemy law
Barnabas Fund 27/07/2017
President Abbas of Palestine has enacted a new Cyber Crime Law on his own initiative with penalties harsher than those for thieves and sex offenders. Why? The answer is almost certainly that it is part of an attempt to introduce a global Islamic blasphemy law for social media posts.
In 2016, Barnabas Fund reported concerns that Facebook were already censoring posts critical of Islam, particularly by those who had left Islam. Then on 31 May last year an agreement was signed between the EU and major social media sites. It committed IT websites to remove, within 24 hours, content deemed “offensive” by “civil society organisations.” The National Secular Society warned that “far from tackling online ‘cyber jihad,’ the agreement risks entrapping any critical discussion of religion under vague ‘hate speech’ rules.”
The Pakistan government called a meeting of 27 Muslim ambassadors, including that of the Palestinian Authority, at the end of March to try to create a global Islamic blasphemy law for social media. Pakistan’s interior minister has subsequently met with Facebook’s Vice President to discuss the way forward on this.