American Shezanne Cassim, 29, has finally been released by the United Arab Emirates and should be arriving home in Minnesota this week. Mr. Cassim had been imprisoned in Dubai for the last nine months for violating the UAE’s cybercrimes law. The law requires fines or jail for anyone who uses certain technology to create content that might be “liable to endanger state security and its higher interests or infringe on public order.”
If you haven’t seen the video and are therefore unsure if the punishment fits the crime – here’s the satire that got Mr. Cassim into so much trouble.
As you can see the UAE’s cybercrime law must be incredibly broad and ridiculously vague. Per CNN, one of the men jailed for making the video can even figure out why they are in prison!
This, along with the jailing of Pastor Saeed in Iran, of Dr. Afridi in Pakistan (and so many other stories) should warn us of the capricious nature of Islamic law. As some of these nations want to be brought into the fold of Western Civilization they will use smoke and mirrors to make themselves seem more democratic. Sadly, democracy in the Islamic world is very different than democracy in the West. These changes to their political structures do not mean that they have changed culturally, and we will continue to witness these egregious attacks on human liberty and basic human decency as long as Islamic theocracies exist.
We are happy to see that Mr. Cassim has finally been released and is on his way home. We hope that his story serves as a fresh reminder of the dangers of Islamic governance. Dubai in the UAE is as Western an Islamic nation as you will find, and still their laws are as backwards as those practiced by nomads of the Arabian dessert.
Welcome home, Mr. Cassim.
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