Iraqi courts seeking out atheists for prosecution

Apr 10, 2018

By Omar al-Jaffal

Arrest warrants have been issued for four Iraqis on atheism charges, according to Dhi Qar province’s Garraf district judiciary. The announcement garnered quite a reaction on media and social networks, as some say these hunts infringe on the rights of the Iraqi people, whose constitution guarantees them freedom of belief and expression. Other observers say the campaign has political aspects.

Dhidan al-Ekili, the chief Garraf judge, told local Iraqi newspapers March 11 that security forces had been able to arrest one of the four indicted, as the search for the remaining three continued. Ekili said they are being pursued for “holding seminars during social gatherings to promote the idea of the nonexistence of God and to spread and popularize atheism.”

According to Ekili, the local court administration has tasked intelligence agencies with cracking down on the “atheism phenomenon.” Ekili said the crackdown is in accordance with the Iraqi Penal Code.

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2 comments on “Iraqi courts seeking out atheists for prosecution

  • @OP – Arrest warrants have been issued for four Iraqis on atheism charges, according to Dhi Qar province’s Garraf district judiciary.

    When foreign powers make military interventions, destabilising national governments by playing off ethnic, social, political, and religious groups off against each other in civil wars and foreign invasions, we can expect extremist factions to feature prominently – particularly in the case of the more militant sectarian religions!



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  • This brings me back….. to an awful moment made more poignant by the setting.

    It was years ago and the “President” of Iran — A young-ish man in a $5,000 suit impeccably tailored with a well groomed beard and polished, manicured fingernails….. Well, he was appearing at Colombia University (I’m probably recalling this all wrong)…. Anyway, he was defending his country’s “homosexuality is punishable by death” laws.

    I remember an outraged student standing and directing a pointed question at him and his answer was something to the effect of “don’t worry about the human rights violations, we never have to kill anyone because THERE ARE NO HOMOSEXUALS IN IRAN”.

    I flashed a shameful thought (shameful because I was guilty of proliferating a stereotype — I wanted the student to be like — “Aren’t YOU a homosexual?”) — And I deliberately put my description of the man at the outset of my post — I’d like you all to know that I have evolved since this.

    Then, the horror set in. The realization that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of men and women had their lives in jeopardy at the hands of a governing body that could execute them on a whim and whose definition of human rights violations expressly did not include anything south of MURDER.

    So, I ask any Iraqi, do you really really think that there are no atheists in your country? I am confused. You’d rather occupy the mistaken perspective that is a product of bullying and force??? You really don’t want the truth, then, do you?

    Here’s the bombshell….. The “higher ups” in many many places of worship — whatever their label (priest, rabbi, imam) typically has a radically different construction of their “god” than the simple member of the congregation. So different as to be mutually unrecognizable. However, it is never articulated in any language that allows nuances of difference to emerge. They stick to “safe” phrases like “god is good” and everyone nods in approval…
    So here’s the final piece — many many of these higher ups are, themselves, atheistic.

    Oh, and what if you are simply having a crisis of faith that would resolve with you having stronger convictions on the other side of it??? This is why many of us call bullshit. And until people of faith start joining us, they are complicit in this atrocity.



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