Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide Paperback – Jul 2 2012
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"Islamists, claiming they want only respect for their religion, are imposing brutal punishments for apostasy and blasphemy in the non-Muslim as well as the Muslim world. In this eloquent and definitive work Marshall and Shea make a powerful case that for us to accommodate this, anywhere, would be disastrous--weakening truly moderate Muslims and those of us who support them, and seriously crippling our own freedoms of speech and religion."-- R. James Woolsey, Chairman, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Former Director of Central Intelligence
"The book offers an extensive survey of blasphemy and its effects on Muslim societies and individuals, with a consideration of analogous developments in the contemporary West. The ad hoc way of enforcing blasphemy laws is placed in the framework of classical Islamic discussion where blasphemy is a function of state jurisdiction rather than simply of vigilante activism. As the book makes clear, evidence of arbitrary use of blasphemy is evidence also of contested state jurisdiction. This is a most valuable study."
-- Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity, Yale University
"Paul Marshall and Nina Shea have performed an important service with this account of laws and customs against "apostasy" and "blasphemy" in Muslim countries."--The Weekly Standard
"Exhaustive, courageous research is on brilliant display in Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide. Marshall and Shea compile a thorough dossier of existing Islamic blasphemy restrictions, show how they operate to bludgeon dissent, and chronicle a concerted campaign to export them around the globe. That alone would be a worthy achievement. But in addition, Silenced provides a ringing defense of free expression, upbraiding those who would acquiesce--out of craven fear, or flaccid political correctness--to a climate of self-censorship."--Books and Culture
About the Author
Paul Marshall is Senior Fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute. Nina Shea is Director of the Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In short: The book is essentially a compilation of news clippings followed by more news clippings organized by country. These are sandwiched between recent Western concessions to Islamic demands for limits on personal freedoms. If you read the news, you know half the stories in this book. Google the keywords and you'll come up with a nice wiki article of recent cases and major players in the Sharia debates.
Details: While this book endeavors to deliver an important message to naïve Westerners (e.g., Ben Affleck), it unfortunately falls really short:
1) It reads like an extended op. ed. - Marshall provides no data to support his claims that millions of Muslims and non-Muslims are killed/ tortured/ imprisoned/ forced to flee their countries due to violent mobs of sharia-enforcing vigilantes.
2) The dated news stories suggest Marshall had trouble finding cases to fit his narrative. His argument, however, indicates he should have had a plethora of recent cases from which to choose. I understand this book was published in 2011, but the examples are from the 90's up to 2006.
3) Redundancy renders the book about twice as long as it needs to be.
I am terribly bummed, as this is such an important issue. Silenced just does not deliver the information Westerners will heed.