For some reason the final posts for the day did not go live on time. Here they are now…

The guest post for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty is from Nobel Prize Winner and Professor of Chemistry, Harry Kroto:

Murder is the most heinous crime one can commit but within this evil there are degrees.  Murder by an individual is evil and the shooting of a small brave girl demanding her right to knowledge yesterday by cowardly men egged on by religious orders in Pakistan fills all decent people with deep revulsion and sorrow for the human race.

However the ultimate evil is murder by the state.  The state draws an arbitrary line based on some dogma or other and that line moves in the 8th Century in Persia it was anyone who remained Zoroastrian, during the Dark Ages the Inquisition was arbitrary in decision-making in Germany in 1940’s it was Jews,  Gypsies  and Homosexuals.  Murder by the State for whatever reason is the most heinous crime of all and must end.

Here is a second guest post from writer Tarek Fatah:

Here is my blasphemy 🙂

In two weeks time the Islamic world will erupt into a frenzy of bloodletting which in just one day will cost the lives of millions of goats, cows and camels. They will be slaughtered from Somalia to Surinam; Indonesia to Indiana as a way of Muslims re-enacting the pagan ritual of animal sacrfice to the gods, except Muslims will do it to commemorate the sacrifice patriarch Abraham was willing to offer to God when he put the blade to the neck of his son Ismail.

Kids as young as 5 years of age will be taken to witness this gory spectacle with blood gushing and heads decapitated. The entire day after Hajj this bloody exercise will unfold in the name of religiosity and piety with no Muslim daring to raise their voice and demand a stop to this ritual that has been discard by most of humanity, but has stuck to Islamdom and where little boys get desensitized to the sigh of throat slitting, blood letting and animals writhing in pain, unable to scream for their own rights as creatures of the divine who were here long before us.

Let me be the first to say, end this bloodshed. If you do feel the necessity to sacrifice something precious to God, why don;t you smash your iPhone or your Rolex wristwatch instead of a voiceless animal.

And if it is life that you need to offer to God, then why not your own? Go ahead make my day.


I’m blogging every hour on the hour (from 9am-6pm) for the Day of Agreement marking the International Day against the Death Penalty:

The first blog entry was dedicated to 14 year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for demanding that girls go to school. This day is for her and the many like her who refuse and resist despite charges of offence, apostasy and blasphemy.

The second blog entry was entitled It is possible not to cause offence.

The third was a guest post from Marieme Helie Lucas entitled Honour the dissenters.

The fourth was on Salman Rushdie and the need for blasphemy.

The fifth blog post is Calling all blasphemers to submit their own acts of blasphemy to the comments section.

The sixth blog post shows why open mike nights just don’t work under Sharia law.

The seventh post is a guest blog from Sue Cox entitled Enough!

The eighth post is Nothing can appease the Islamists.



  1. “creatures of the divine who were here long before us”

    At the risk of veering off-topic a little, I’m pretty sure that domesticated livestock animals
    a) are not creatures of the divine since the divine is imaginary, and
    b) were not here before us in anything like their modern form, since their modern form is the result of millenia of artificial selection by humans from wild ancestors that were often rather different, and such modern forms cannot therefore pre-date humans.

    Not that we should be laissez-faire about animal cruelty, but we should not make mystical and/or unevidenced claims about animals part of the argument.

  2. Here’s the thing that bugs me about the death penalty. I have never come across a secular argument in favour of it. Every supporter I have encountered thus far has been a religious fundamentalist.

    The most bizarre DP advocates are the Southern fundies. They have entirely failed to appreciate the significance of the parable of the adulterous woman, and their reaction to the many, many references to Pharisees with their slavish devotion to the letter of the law while ignoring its spirit is to stick their fingers in their ears and chant “laa laa laa I’m not listening”. They are, in fact, precisely the people that Jesus was warning against. But their hubris precludes their ever understanding this.

    The death penalty is indefensible in the absence of an infallible system of justice. No such system has ever existed. That is the end of the discussion.

    1. The fact that a justice system is not infallible doesn’t mean that all its decisions are suspect. All miscarriages of justice are deplorable, and if there remains a shadow of a doubt one should not make irreversible decisions. Of course, the risk of harming more innocent persons should be weighed against the risk of punishing one innocent person.

      Assuming there is no doubt about the guilt, there are rational arguments in favour of the death penalty.

      1. Locking away a person for the rest of their life is far more cruel than anaesthetising them to death. It is also a lot more expensive, and puts the prison guards at risk.

      2. People with deviant behaviour (paedophiles, psychopaths, etc) that cannot be cured, can for obvious reasons not be cured by detention and re-education, so #1 applies. Releasing them puts innocent people at risk.

      3. Appropriate punishment is necessary for social cohesion. Given that life imprisonment is cruel and wasteful, and releasing deviants puts society at risk, in a number of cases humanely killing them is the better solution.

      Mind you, I am not in favour of capital punishment, but the recent uproar over the release of Michele Martin in Belgium shows that many people have problems even with conditional early release. If the justice system is perceived to side with the criminals, social cohesion is threatened.

      There is a difference between stoning people for adultery after a sham process, and rationally deciding to end the life of a dangerous individual who has tortured and/or killed many innocent people (like Behring-Breivik).

      1. I think you maybe missed the point. No system of justice is infallible, and the death penalty is necessarily irrevocable. Someone who is the victim of a miscarriage of justice can be compensated, albeit that they may feel the recompense to be inadequate tot he loss suffered, but there is no way you can correct an execution.

        The Breiviks of this world are extremely unusual, and form no more than a tiny handful of those facing capital charges. It’s well known and well documented that political, racial and financial factors play a much greater role in determining your chance of being executed than the actual severity of the crime, or indeed the quality of the evidence. There is an old saying: “hard cases make bad law”.

        I am also entirely mystified by the strong intersection between support for the death penalty and fundamental Protestantism in the US, in particular. I don’t know enough about Islam to know what the Qur’an has to say about killing, but I know my Bible well enough to be very confident that the parable of the adulterous woman is absolutely relevant here. Retributive justice is profoundly un-Christian.

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