Mauritania has hardened its blasphemy and apostasy laws to ensure that anyone who breaks them will be put to death. Blasphemy includes anyone who insults or disrespects Mohammad, his book or the angels according to Justice Minister Brahim Ould Daddah of Mauritania. An apostate however is anyone who converts from Islam or an Islamic family to another religion, especially Christianity. This followed the release of a prisoner who had been arrested for blogging about the religious justification for discrimination in Mauritania. This is bad news for all Christians in Mauritania who are marginalized and persecuted because they live in an Islamic Country.
2017-11-21 Mauritania (WorldWatchMonitor) Mauritania announced on Friday (17 November) that showing repentance will no longer be a reason to repeal a death sentence handed out for blasphemy and apostasy.
The government of the West African nation said in a statement it would introduce a new bill to “harden up expected sentences for blasphemers”, as News24 reported.
“Every Muslim, man or woman, who mocks or insults Mohammed (peace be upon him), his angels, books … is liable to face the death penalty, without being asked to repent. They will incur the death penalty even if they repent,” Justice Minister Brahim Ould Daddah said.
Mauritania’s Constitution officially states that Islam is the religion of the people and the state, and nearly all are Sunni Muslims. There are a small number of non-Muslims and most are Christian expatriates. Muslims who convert to Christianity face pressure from their families, as they are seen as bringing shame on their tribal or ethnic group.
The Justice Minister’s announcement followed popular protests in the conservative Islamic Republic last week against the release of a blogger, who had previously been given the death penalty for alleged blasphemy.
Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir was freed on 9 November after an appeal court reduced that sentence to two years’ imprisonment. It was for an article in which he criticised “religious justification for discrimination in Mauritanian society”, News24 reported. Since he had been in jail since January 2014, he was then released.
Mkheitir, in his thirties, wrote, amongst other things, about “the mistreatment of Mauritania’s black population, blasting ‘an iniquitous social order’ with an underclass that was ‘marginalised and discriminated against from birth’”, according to News24.