Iranian Heavy Metal Band Arrested for Blasphemy
Two musicians from heavy metal band Confess were arrested in Iran for blasphemy and could face execution.
Band members Nikan “Siyanor” Khosravi and Arash “Chemical” Ilkhani were arrested on November 10, 2015 and held in solitary confinement in Iran. The charges against the musicians include blasphemy; advertising against the system; forming and running an illegal band and record label in the satanic metal & rock music style (Opposite Records); writing anti-religious, atheist, political and anarchistic lyrics; and conducting interviews with forbidden foreign radio stations.
In twenty five Islamic countries, blasphemy and apostasy are illegal. Punishments range from imprisonment, stoning and flogging, to execution. In 2014, eight people, including an Iranian-born British woman, were jailed in Iran on charges of blasphemy and insulting the country’s supreme leader on Facebook. Other recent blasphemy sentences include five years imprisonment for a singer who ridiculed the Qur’an in a song, three years for a Shi’a history professor and Iran-Iraq War veteran who called for political reforms, and a death sentence—later commuted to 11 years imprisonment—for a senior Shi’a cleric who advocates greater separation of religion and the state.
The next time someone calls you xenophobic for not respecting Islamic culture, remind them that in Iran, you can be put to death just for being a heavy metal musician.
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National Laws on Blasphemy: Iran
Iran equally holds expressions of unsanctioned religious views and expressions of political dissent to be acts of blasphemy. There is no set penalty for such a wide-ranging crime, and punishments can run the gamut from a few months in jail to execution, with any prison sentence often supplemented by torture.
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