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Islamic Society (04 Sep 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Blasphemy Law Practiced In Pakistan Is Evil, Obsolete and A Way of Victimizing Its Minority Communities

By Raheel Raza

September 3, 2018

I never thought that far-right, Dutch firebrand politician Geert Wilders would cave in to pressure or that I would have to write a defense of blasphemy.

Wilders initiated a cartoon drawing contest of the Prophet Mohammad slated for November in the Dutch Parliament. After the news leaked, there were huge protests in Pakistan with 10,000 opponents calling for canceling diplomatic ties with the Netherlands and the expulsion of the Dutch ambassador.

Imran Khan, the new prime minister of Pakistan, vowed to raise the issue at the U.N. with the cooperation of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation).

Social media is rife with Muslims calling for the deaths of Wilders and the cartoonists.

Wilders eventually cancelled the contest “to avoid risk of victims of Islamic violence.”

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi called this “a great moral victory for the Muslim Ummah.”

But is it a victory?

As an observant Muslim, I am offended by the mockery of any faith or religious figure including my Prophet. In addition, 1.6 billion Muslims are also offended and being offended is our right. I respect their freedom to be offended.

However, taking the liberty of drawing offensive cartoons is also the right of those who reside in the free world. I respect this freedom to offend.

We know that blasphemy laws exist in many Muslim countries, so if there is an issue in Iran, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, one can see from where that is coming. By the way, the law against blasphemy is not Quranic but was instituted by Muslim rulers after the death of the Prophet Mohammad to control the tribes and ensure compliance.

The blasphemy law as practiced in Pakistan with impunity is evil, obsolete and a way of victimizing its minority communities.

The Pakistani flag has a white stripe which signifies the representation of 23% of its non-Muslim population, which existed at the time of Pakistan’s creation. Today this population has been reduced to approximately 3%. Major victims of the blasphemy laws are Christians and Ahmadiyyas.

In recent years in Pakistan, many Christian women have been forced to convert to Islam. Churches have been burned down. Ahmaddiyas are not allowed to call themselves Muslims and are constantly persecuted.

In 2010, a Christian woman named Asia Bibi was jailed and sentenced to death for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammad. Facts of the story have always been in dispute, and she still languishes in jail.

When Salman Taseer was governor of Punjab state in Pakistan and spoke out in support of Asia Bibi, he was gunned down by his own bodyguard and accused of blasphemy. The killer that shot him now has the status of a saint and his grave has been turned into a holy pilgrimage site.

Whether one draws a cartoon of the Prophet or not is beside the point. The Prophet, whom Muslims are trying to protect, was — in his lifetime — cursed, abused and ridiculed. However, there is no historical tradition of him ever subjecting to death the people who abused him. On personal attacks, he just looked the other way and, in fact, forgave his persecutors.

Ironically the so-called “protectors of the faith” will kill in the name of the very faith they call the religion of peace!

So we have to weigh the freedoms that exist in democratic countries with the laws that oppress and silence in parts of the Muslim world.

When the influence of blasphemy laws shows itself in the West, we have much to worry about.

Source: clarionproject.org/in-defense-of-blasphemy/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/raheel-raza/blasphemy-law-practiced-in-pakistan-is-evil,-obsolete-and-a-way-of-victimizing-its-minority-communities/d/116278


  • RS,
    Earlier people thought that there were racial (genetic) differences between people and some races were inherently superior to other races. This debate has been put to rest and the biologists have established that there are no genetic differences of any significance that gives superiority to one race above another. Genetically, all races are equal in their intelligence and cognitive skills.
    The differences are cultural, and these differences can make a lot of difference between people and their achievements. Culture of a people refers to their common beliefs, values, practices and behaviours that bind a people together and give them their identity as a distinctive group. Humans first began to build cultures based on religious beliefs. Civilization also refers to the society, culture, and way of life of a region or people and to their stage of human social development and organization. The maximum development possible, or level of civilization, is constrained by culture and therefore several civilizations stagnated for centuries after having peaked, and even regressed, such as the Muslim civilization and the Chinese. The Europeans, the Chinese, the Japanese and the Koreans reinvented their culture, and made tremendous strides in only a couple of decades. As proved by Europe, Japan, Korea and China, a single generation is enough to bring unbelievable changes, but this is contingent on making necessary cultural adjustments.
    The tremendous progress made by the Muslims in the first three centuries of Islam, also owe to the cultural change brought about by Islam among its adherents. It is religion therefore, that has in the first place given us both culture and civilization and will continue to play a significant role in our lives, albeit with fresh insights and new beliefs replacing discredited ones. Muslim society is stuck in a rut and needs to make necessary adjustments.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/7/2018 2:39:19 AM

  • Decent civilized people may be religious or atheists. Evil brutish people too may be religious or atheists.
    Religion as well as  secular humanism have the power to civilize people but they can civilize only those who want to be civilized.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/6/2018 1:15:26 PM

  • N A, you say “Without religion, there would not have been any culture or civilization.” What I say is “Without civilization there would not have been any culture, arts and especially enlightenment”.

    The ad-deen, universal Islamic civilisation propagated by ALL Messenger, named and not named in Quran, through the ages attempted to add steps to the one and the same stair case for human progress up words but no-thanks to the confronting brigades of priesthood always succeeded in converting it to slippery slide of religions; the retrogressive “Church” I believe, which is not supposed to be there in Islam.

    Therefore Islam is not a “Religion” which needs to be defined in its present day construct:-

    Mother Church, Dogma, Scripture, Priesthood, its Hierarchy, distinctive Houses of Worship, modes of Worship, its Liturgy, god to be Feared, his Rewards and Punishments etc etc!

    Hope to read yours and others interesting articles on this.

    By Rashid Samnakay - 9/6/2018 5:44:30 AM

  • Without religion, there would not have been any culture or civilization. Once you have culture and civilization, to say that 'the civilized need no religion', is like saying 'the cured need no medicines' or the well-fed need no food without realizing, that the well-fed will also need food in a few hours and the cured will need medicines when they fall sick again or even to stay healthy for chronic incurable conditions.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/6/2018 1:17:39 AM

  • GM, for once I saw in 'hats off!'s comment which (perhaps) approximated with my concept of Religion. 

    We need to define “Religion” – which to me is NOT ad-deen, an Arabic word in Quran!

    Thankfully 'hats off!' spared the Messenger by saying “after the prophet's death” and that suited me.

    By Rashid Samnakay - 9/6/2018 12:59:31 AM

  • Hats Off says, " those who are civilized need no religion." A foolish and senseless comment! Civilized people do not invade the space of religious deliberations and spew their hatred in such a way as to be maximally offensive to participants.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/6/2018 12:02:47 AM

  • - "but a bloodbath did happen after the prophet's death."
    - "those who are civilized need no religion."

    By Rashid Samnakay - 9/5/2018 7:09:03 PM

  • but a bloodbath did happen after the prophet's death. those who were coerced into the newfangled religion opted out of it and the bloodbath followed.

    the ridda wars did what they missed doing earlier. those who are civilized need no religion.

    By hats off! - 9/5/2018 4:00:55 PM

  • If blasphemy was punishable in Islam there would have been a bloodbath in Makkah in the 9th Hijri when it was subjugated by the Messenger of Islam who was vilified by its citizens, along with the God whose message the Messenger was commissioned to propagate.

    So this law is a blasphemy in itself particularly in Muslim countries!

    2-79: Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say “ This is from God...”

    Those people who are Civilised respect each others faiths.

    By Rashid Samnakay - 9/5/2018 1:51:10 AM

  • Actually, this is targeting a minority community and calling it freedom of expression etc. It would be believable if simultaneously a cartoon contest featuring a revered religious figure of the majority was also announced.
    By Asif Merchant - 9/4/2018 11:50:49 PM

  • Blasphemy cases are about nil in India, a Hindu majority community becasue there is no blasphemy law here. Once a law comes into force, cases are also registered under it. People start abusing the law for their personal or communal gains or sor settling scores with opponents. 
    By arshad - 9/4/2018 10:35:59 PM

  • Blasphemy laws are a curse of intolerant nations. They should be abolished.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/4/2018 1:05:34 PM

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