Islam is Algeria’s religion of state

No deviation allowed.

An author of Islamic books in Algeria has been sentenced to three years in prison for offending the religion.

You can’t offend a religion – it doesn’t have a mind.

Said Djabelkhir said he was surprised by the severity of the sentence he had been given and would appeal.

He was tried after seven lawyers and a fellow academic lodged complaints against him for disrespecting Islam.

Mr Djabelkhir had said the animal sacrifice during the Muslim festival of Eid was based on a pre-Islamic pagan ritual.

He also suggested that parts of the Quran, such as the story of Noah’s Ark, might not be literally true and criticised practices including the marriage of young girls in some Muslim societies.

The kind of thing people ought to be free to say and write.

Islam is Algeria’s religion of state. The law imposes a fine or prison sentence on “anyone who offends the Prophet or denigrates the dogmatic precepts of Islam, whether it be by writings, drawings, a statement or another means”.

Doesn’t make you want to rush there to see the sights, does it.

Rights group Amnesty International’s deputy regional director Amna Guellali described the three-year sentence as “outrageous” and a “chilling setback for freedom of expression” in Algeria.

“Punishing someone for their analysis of religious doctrines is a flagrant violation of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of belief – even if the comments are deemed offensive by others,” Ms Guellali added.

Amnesty still gets some things right.

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