In the name of national security, the U.S. government should renew efforts to persuade governments in Muslim majority countries -- including Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia -- to repeal blasphemy laws, which restrict freedom of religion and freedom of expression and which strengthen the ideologies of violent extremists, like ISIL.
The judge swings gently on his high-backed black chair and orders a recess. We eventually reconvene over an hour later and the issue is about what sort of conditions Bin Attash can expect if he defends himself: Will he have access to a law library and other material? Will he be able to call lawyers for advice? This all seems unlikely given his current lack of access to his attorneys.
Bahrain continues to be shaken by unrest that flared in early 2011 when peaceful protests were violently suppressed by the ruling dictatorship. Part of the repression continues through laws criminalizing online criticism of the ruling family, and a sustained social media attack against those who defend human rights.
President Obama's strong words in Nairobi about civil society haven't been matched during similar trips to Riyadh, despite the Saudi Arabian government's violent repression of human rights. This double standard does immense damage to the U.S. government's credibility in the world, stifling its international capacity to lead on human rights.