WE have received disturbing reports that founder of Faithless Hijabi, Zara Kay has been seized by the police and is currently in custody in Tanzania. It is alleged that she is being held for the offense of blasphemy.
We all know that Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian atheist and leader of the Nigerian Humanist Association was detained without charge for the offense of blasphemy.
Blasphemy laws seek to restrict speech that may be perceived as offensive to prophets and holy personages. Despite a global movement to abolish blasphemy laws, the laws remain in place. Some countries still hand down the death penalty for offences committed in contravention of blasphemy laws.
Blasphemy laws have no place in 21st-century. Tanzania, and African countries at large need to step up and protect basic principals of human rights and human dignity for everyone everywhere.
The right to freedom of religion or belief should be guaranteed for all.
We ask the international community not turn a blind eye to what is happening to Zara Kay. Protecting human rights, and especially, those of vulnerable individuals or communities is a shared responsibility.