INVITATION: Seminar and book promotion

Freedom of Expression in Islam: Challenging Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws

Seminar and book promotion

Wednesday, 20 September 2023, 9:00-13:00
Faculty of Islamic Studies, Sarajevo

Working language: English

The Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief in cooperation with the Faculty of Islamic Studies invite you to a seminar that brings together Islamic studies and human rights experts to shed light on the hot topics of blasphemy, apostasy, and the relationship between Islam and the human rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief.


Lena Larsen and Christian Moe (Oslo Coalition), co-editors of Freedom of Expression in Islam

Mustafa Hasani, Dean, Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Sarajevo

Omaima Abou-Bakr, professor, Cairo University

Ahmet Shaheed, professor, University of Essex, former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Đermana Kurić,  independent researcher, former OSCE adviser on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims

Ahmet Alibašić, professor, Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo

Nedim Begović, professor, Faculty of Islamic Studies

The seminar is based around the book Freedom of Expression in Islam: Challenging Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws [Sloboda izražavanja u islamu: osporavanje zakona o apostaziji i blasfemiji], published in Bosnian translation by the Center for Advanced Studies.

This book with contributions by Muslim scholars, experts and activists critically and constructively addresses the theological, historical and legal aspects of the most restrictive legislations around the world. While blasphemy laws can seriously violate the freedoms of non-Muslim minorities, here we pay particular attention to how they affect Muslims: how these laws can serve powerful groups to silence dissent and stifle critical thought. The first part of the book gives a detailed and critical view of the past construction of apostasy and blasphemy as sin and crime in the scholarly Islamic tradition. The second part examines the present politics and practices of prosecuting alleged blasphemers or apostates in selected Muslim countries – Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia. The third part looks to the future, seeking to offer new perspectives and directions for the debate.