#UNEXPECTEDLY Atheist beaten by religious fanatics…

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#UNEXPECTEDLY Atheist beaten by religious fanatics...

…work­ing for the Pales­tin­ian Government

I used to run a blog in Ara­bic called “Nour Alakl” and ran a satir­i­cal Face­book page under the pseu­do­nym “Allah.” But in Octo­ber 2010, Pales­tin­ian secu­rity forces stormed into an Inter­net café and arrested me.

This blog­ger has learned many things from this experience

Until then, I had been under the impres­sion that I had a right to free­dom of speech and to the free­dom of belief. But in jail, I was told that my online state­ments about reli­gion and Islam were ille­gal. I was told that soci­ety didn’t accept such criticisms.

The first thing he dis­cov­ered is that regard­less of what our friends in the media and the pub­lic claims of the Pales­tin­ian state free­dom of speech in Pales­tin­ian con­trolled areas means free­dom to say thing that don’t upset or offend Palestinians

I was beaten by prison guards who demanded to know who had made me write against Islam. In their minds, I could only say these things as the result of some plot, some con­spir­acy. The idea that I might sim­ply want to express my inde­pen­dent thoughts was alien to them.

The sec­ond thing he dis­cov­ered is that if you are doing some­thing to upset Pales­tini­ans it’s obvi­ous a west­ern plot, or a Jew­ish plot, or a West­ern Jew­ish plot or per­haps a plot by infi­del cru­saders aided and abet­ted by Jews and the west.

The 10 months I spent in Pales­tin­ian prison were the worse of my life. I faced con­stant pres­sure to retract my state­ments. I was told they had removed my blog and that I must apol­o­gize for pub­lish­ing it. Even once I was freed, I was told I should never again use the Inter­net, nor meet with the media.

The third thing he learned is the dif­fer­ence between being in a Pales­tin­ian in a Pales­tin­ian prison & a Pales­tin­ian. If only he had been arrested for throw­ing stones at Jews, he would have been a hero.

I even­tu­ally left the West Bank for Jor­dan with a visa I obtained from the French embassy. I am now in Paris, and have applied for asy­lum. After six months, I am still wait­ing for an answer, and it has become harder and harder as time goes on.

From here I have the chance to blog in Ara­bic and in Eng­lish as “Proud Athe­ist,” but I am now effec­tively in exile. I am liv­ing alone in a for­eign city, cut off from friends and fam­ily, all because of my words.

The fourth thing he learned is that for all the cri­tique of the west by Pales­tin­ian media, if he wants to be able to freely say ^ write what he thinks, the west is the place to be.

I still do not feel safe. If I can­not stay here, and if I am not pro­tected, then there’s a chance the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity will arrest me again. That is my fear. I want to be active, but safety is my priority.

I’d nor­mally advise him to come to Amer­ica, after all as an athe­ist he would have a lot of sup­port but I have a feel­ing that groups like CAIR might con­sider his cri­tiques of Islam “hate speech” which could get him Molly Nor­rised and frankly as a per­son who has actu­ally been per­se­cuted for his non-​religious beliefs I sus­pect he would not fit in well with Amer­i­can athe­ists who have a case of the vapors when­ever a nativ­ity scene goes up at Christmas.

As a fel­low blog­ger I am out­raged by this story, as an Amer­i­can I think he would be an excel­lent can­di­date for asy­lum here, and as a Catholic I’ll pray for him and ask my fel­low Catholics to do the same as he learns one final lesson

The inter­na­tional com­mu­nity should do more to pro­tect the plight of these peo­ple. There are many of us who need to talk and be reached out to, even if we use fake Face­book accounts for our safety. We must express our thoughts and our­selves. We sim­ply must be allowed this basic freedom.

If he wants the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity to back him, he had bet­ter get him­self per­se­cuted by Jews or Chris­tians, not by Mus­lims and cer­tainly not Palestinians.

Let me end by giv­ing credit to the Daily Beast, not at all a con­ser­v­a­tive web­site for report­ing on this story.

Update: Cor­rected the sec­ond to last sen­tence that some­how came out dif­fer­ent that what I was try­ing to type.

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…working for the Palestinian Government

I used to run a blog in Arabic called “Nour Alakl” and ran a satirical Facebook page under the pseudonym “Allah.” But in October 2010, Palestinian security forces stormed into an Internet cafe and arrested me.

This blogger has learned many things from this experience

Until then, I had been under the impression that I had a right to freedom of speech and to the freedom of belief. But in jail, I was told that my online statements about religion and Islam were illegal. I was told that society didn’t accept such criticisms.

The first thing he discovered is that regardless of what our friends in the media and the public claims of the Palestinian state freedom of speech in Palestinian controlled areas means freedom to say thing that don’t upset or offend Palestinians

I was beaten by prison guards who demanded to know who had made me write against Islam. In their minds, I could only say these things as the result of some plot, some conspiracy. The idea that I might simply want to express my independent thoughts was alien to them.

The second thing he discovered is that if you are doing something to upset Palestinians it’s obvious a western plot, or a Jewish plot, or a Western Jewish plot or perhaps a plot by infidel crusaders aided and abetted by Jews and the west.

The 10 months I spent in Palestinian prison were the worse of my life. I faced constant pressure to retract my statements. I was told they had removed my blog and that I must apologize for publishing it. Even once I was freed, I was told I should never again use the Internet, nor meet with the media.

The third thing he learned is the difference between being in a Palestinian in a Palestinian prison & a Palestinian.  If only he had been arrested for throwing stones at Jews, he would have been a hero.

I eventually left the West Bank for Jordan with a visa I obtained from the French embassy. I am now in Paris, and have applied for asylum. After six months, I am still waiting for an answer, and it has become harder and harder as time goes on.

From here I have the chance to blog in Arabic and in English as “Proud Atheist,” but I am now effectively in exile. I am living alone in a foreign city, cut off from friends and family, all because of my words.

The fourth thing he learned is that for all the critique of the west by Palestinian media, if he wants to be able to freely say ^ write what he thinks, the west is the place to be.

I still do not feel safe. If I cannot stay here, and if I am not protected, then there’s a chance the Palestinian Authority will arrest me again. That is my fear. I want to be active, but safety is my priority.

I’d normally advise him to come to America, after all as an atheist he would have a lot of support  but I have a feeling that groups like CAIR might consider his critiques of Islam “hate speech” which could get him Molly Norrised and frankly as a person who has actually been persecuted for his non-religious beliefs I suspect he would not fit in well with American atheists who have a case of the vapors whenever a nativity scene goes up at Christmas.

As a fellow blogger I am outraged by this story, as an American I think he would be an excellent candidate for asylum here, and as a Catholic I’ll pray for him and ask my fellow Catholics to do the same as he learns one final lesson

The international community should do more to protect the plight of these people. There are many of us who need to talk and be reached out to, even if we use fake Facebook accounts for our safety. We must express our thoughts and ourselves. We simply must be allowed this basic freedom.

If he wants the international community to back him, he had better get himself persecuted by Jews or Christians, not by Muslims and certainly not Palestinians.

Let me  end by giving credit to the Daily Beast, not at all a conservative website for reporting on this story.

Update:  Corrected the second to last sentence that somehow came out different that what I was trying to type.

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