hostilities are very high and rising within both Israel and the Palestinian
territories. According to a 2014 Pew Research study, social
hostilities involving religion (including mob or sectarian violence,
religion-related terrorism or conflict, organized attempts to dominate
public life with a particular perspective on religion, harassment over
attire for religious reasons, and other religion-related intimidation or
abuse) have reached 6-year highs in both areas.
Pew uses a tool called the Social Hostilities Index (SHI) to measure social hostilities by country. The tool measures the presence and intensity of various measures of social hostility on a scale from 0 (no social hostilities) to 10 (all-out civil anarchy). According to the report, Israel reached a high of 9.4 out of 10 on the Pew Social Hostilities Index in regards to religious violence in 2012. The Palestinian Territories reached a high of 9.0 out of 10. This is in comparison to the Middle East & North Africa, which rated at 5.7 out of 10 in 2012; and in comparison to the world, which rated at 2.9 on the Index.
BY JO STEPHANIE, AAI NEWS TEAM
In late November 2013 a woman from Kitwe, Zambia’s
second largest city, died from pneumonia after allegedly following the advice
of her pastor to stop taking her medication. Rather than advise the woman in
question to continue taking her medication he recommended that she instead pray
and fast. Faith healing was the solution he suggested, not medicine. The woman
obliged and four days later she was dead.
Abdel Aziz Mohamed Albaz, also known as "Ben Baz," has been released from prison in Kuwait where he was held (but never tried) on charges of blasphemy for over a year.
Albaz, a 27-year-old Egyptian atheist blogger, was arrested in early January 2013 by Kuwaiti authorities. While Albaz had been known for posting on his blog stories of the relationship between religion, the State and secularism. The Constitution of Kuwait makes Islam the state religion, and considers
Sharia a primary source of legislation. The Kuwaiti parliament passed a law in 2012 introducing the death
penalty for Muslims who blaspheme against Islam, while non-Muslims who
blaspheme faced ten years or more in prison. The law provides that any
Muslim(!) citizen may file a complaint against an author if the citizen
believes that the author has defamed Islam, the ruling family, or public
A hearing on Albaz' case had been scheduled for last February 28, but it's unclear what was decided at the hearing or even whether the hearing actually occurred. After a year, Kuwaiti authorities have apparently let him out on his own recognizance - of course, long after he would have lost his job and probably his residence, and without any due process