To radical Islamist groups, Islam is not a religion which all are free to pursue; it is a weapon. It is the most powerful tool that can be wielded with manipulative skill to control entire populations. Beneath their fierce rule, every aspect of daily life is dictated. What is worn, what is eaten, what you say and what you write are all scrutinized; violations of these stringent laws are met with extreme punishments. Can you imagine making a joke and facing death as a result? Can you imagine the constant fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, when you have seen people beaten, stoned, or killed in the street for nothing more than a mild transgression?
Freedom of speech and press are the Islamists’ top enemies. They are targeted on a regular basis, making it difficult or impossible for the truth to be revealed to the world. While others may take their privacy for granted, the people living under this kind of tyranny must think about everything they say and do. Sometimes even the bravest of souls turn away in the face of such intimidation. Can it really be as restrictive as described? Yes, and far worse than you can imagine.
Sina Dehghan, 21, for example, was arrested by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) when he was 19 for “insulting Islam”. Charges were brought against him for insulting the Prophet Muhammad on the messaging app LINE.
According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI):
“During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a confession and repented, he would be pardoned and let go,” said the source in an interview with CHRI on March 21, 2017. “Unfortunately, he made a childish decision and accepted the charges. Then they sentenced him to death.” “Later he admitted that he signed the confession hoping to get freed,” said the source. “Apparently the authorities also got him to confess in front of a camera as well.”
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