January 2016 Church & State - January 2015

Around The World: Saudi Arabia Sentences Poet To Death For Blasphemy

  AU admin

A Saudi court has sentenced a poet accused of blasphemy to death.

Ashraf Fayadh, a writer of Palestinian origin, is accused specifically of insulting Muhammad, the founder of Islam, and the Quran as well as “spreading atheism.” CNN reports that Fayadh previously faced a charge for “inappropriate relations with the opposite sex.”

Fayadh’s sister condemned the verdict in statements to media.

“He wrote in words that stupid people misunderstood,” she said, claiming the charges had been brought by a man with a personal vendetta against her brother.

Human Rights Watch has also called for clemency. Its spokeswoman, Sarah Leah Whitson, told reporters that “regardless of what Fayadh said or didn’t say, Saudi Arabia should stop arresting people for their personal beliefs.”

The verdict inspired an international outcry. Fayadh’s legal team has not yet announced if they’ll appeal the sentence.     


Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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