GA Judge Folds Under Medieval Blasphemy Charge

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The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., April 19, 2018 (Photo by Robert Alexander / Getty Images)
The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., April 19, 2018 (Photo by Robert Alexander / Getty Images)

Recently, Municipal Court Judge Sharon Dickson folded under a medieval blasphemy charge in Sandy Springs, Georgia. An African American, Dickson was accused of bigoted behavior when she verbally attacked Iranian-American Faizal Azizan. Azizan was charged with disorderly conduct after a crash in his Uber car last spring. Judge Dickson made unprofessional remarks that generalized the oppressive patriarchal views of his nationality with Azizan personally. We don’t know what prompted Dickson to speak so passionately on the issue of women’s rights when she told Azizan “I know where you come from, women don’t mean anything.”

CAIR, the Islamist attack group parading as a civil rights organization, was quick to smear Judge Dickson as an Islamophobe. The attacks against her character led Dickson to request Mayor Rusty Paul not to consider her for another four-year term on the bench.

Author Franz Kafka would often share through his stories that the mark of a successful totalitarian state is not when the state polices behavior, but when citizens police themselves. Of course, the idea of regulating behavior predates the 20th Century.

Primitive societies were marked by their zero tolerance for the free exchange of ideas, often closing the door on free thinkers with a medieval blasphemy charge. Blasphemy laws were first challenged in the 18th Century by Voltaire, who noted that “what has been blasphemy in one country has often been piety in another.”

The 21st Century’s medieval blasphemy is called “Islamophobia.” Instead of piety, it relies on the notion of tolerance. To be critical of a thought — or to use free speech to attack even the most suspect of ideas — is now considered intolerant if those ideas belong to a group of people who believe themselves to be followers of the Islamic faith. The modern day blasphemy charge is not only against the cornerstones of a free society, it is also highly discriminatory in that only the set of ideas belonging exclusively to one group of people cannot be ‘transgressed’ against.

Blasphemy surfaced to the attention of a Western audience when in 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini of the Iranian theocracy regime issued a fatwa calling for Salman Rushdie’s death over his book Satanic Verses. In 2016, 40 state-run Iranian media outlets united to offer a new $600,000 bounty for the death of Rushdie; this was in addition to the $3 million fixed by Khomeini in 1989.

It’s worth noting Rushdie is not Iranian. He’s a British-Indian author whose work was mildly entertaining, seasoned with fictional characters and a historically accurate reference to a verse in the Quran that Muslims themselves admit likely had demonic influences.

Rushdie did not blaspheme. He used a colorful narrative to draw attention to a fact. Since then, the burden of silencing free speech has shifted from theocratic regimes to multi-national Islamist organizations. Islamist organizations, particularly those falling under the umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood (such as CAIR) have manipulated language so deviously that even George Orwell’s 1984 and it’s dystopian future are dated in comparison to our reality today.

What was blasphemy to the Iranian regime in 1989 is now seen as the same crime in the United States in 2018 under a different cultural movement that has zero basis in law: Islamophobia. At this trajectory, how much longer before the punishment also catches up with the crime?

In 2038, will Islamophobia be punishable by death in the United States? It seems like a stretch but can be expected if we expand the trajectory of behavior forward by another 20 years.



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Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.

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