Friday, September 08, 2006

Murder in Sudan, Revisited

This AP article provides additional background on the murder of Sudanese journalist Mohammed Taha Mohammed Ahmed:

In May 2005, scores of Sudanese gathered in front of the capital's courthouse demanding a death sentence for Ahmed for insulting Islam, by republishing an article from the Internet that questioned the parentage of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Al-Wifaq daily was fined $3,200, and was temporarily suspended by the government for the article, which angered Muslims of different sects.

Ahmed denied the blasphemy charges and apologized in a letter to the press, saying he did not intend to insult the prophet.

This piece of information from the AP is particularly chilling:

Blasphemy and insulting Islam are crimes that can carry a death penalty in Sudan, which has been governed by strict Islamic Shariah law since 1983.

The BBC analyzes the broader impact of this atrocity:

The BBC's Alfred Taban says the killing has shocked Sudan. Although Mr Taha had criticised many different groups, they are all united in mourning him.

Mr Taha's paper angered Islamists last year and some have been arrested.

Our correspondent says journalists in Sudan are scared, fearing they could be next if they do something to annoy the Islamic fundamentalists.

(Emphasis added-DD)

Sadly, the Sudanese journalists have ample reason to be afraid.


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