Blasphemy Laws are Anti-God

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Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian, was sentenced to death in November of 2010 for violating Section 295(c) of the Pakistani Penal Code, which provides for as follows:

Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

In a ruling in 1990, the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan ruled that death is the only punishment for violation of the above offense.

Asia Bibi is a mother of five. The events that led to her eventual conviction are murky at best. With all of the evidence based on testimony of the accusers , it seems most likely that Bibi got into an heated argument with others and somewhere along the timeline, hate of someone who was not Muslim led to a ludicrous death sentence.

The court heard she had been working as a farmhand in fields with other women, when she was asked to fetch drinking water.

Some of the other women – all Muslims – refused to drink the water as it had been brought by a Christian and was therefore “unclean”, according to Mrs Bibi’s evidence, sparking a row.

The incident was forgotten until a few days later when Mrs Bibi said she was set upon by a mob.

The police were called and took her to a police station for her own safety.

Shahzad Kamran, of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, said: “The police were under pressure from this Muslim mob, including clerics, asking for Asia to be killed because she had spoken ill of the Prophet Mohammed.

The blasphemy laws of Pakistan are a codification of evil, of persecution on account of religion. That said, a challenge to such insidious forces is bound to encounter fierce resistance, which is exactly what happened very recently in Pakistan. The then-Governor of Punjab Province, Salman Taseer, was a powerful individual in efforts to repeal the blasphemy laws. After Bibi’s conviction, Taseer said publicly: “I hope the president will pardon Asia in a day or two.” It was not to be.

Earlier this month, Salman Taseer was shot dead by a member of his own bodyguard, Muhammad Mumtaz Qadri. Qadri has stated that he murdered Taseer because of the governor’s opposition to the blasphemy laws. Rather than be roundly condemned as the murderous villain that he is, many in Pakistan are embracing him as a heroic  defender of Islam. Thousands of demonstrators from across the country have rallied in Qadri’s support, exclaiming that he did what was necessary to defend the sanctity of the Holy Prophet.

How can one support a person that killed another person because that person was purportedly going to tarnish the sanctity of the Holy Prophet? The answer to the question is steeped in the deeply flawed structure of human nature; we are able to convince ourselves that imaginary threats justify real world killing of our fellow beings. Ironically, the real threat is not the defamation of a religious figure, but the death of real innocent people.

 

 

 

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One Response to “Blasphemy Laws are Anti-God”

  1. Tweets that mention Blasphemy Laws are Anti-God « El Gringo Gigante -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bryan Johnson. Bryan Johnson said: Blasphemy Laws are Anti-God http://bit.ly/g44djn #Pakistan #Religion #Humanrights […]

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