Vexen Crabtree (vexen) wrote,
Vexen Crabtree

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Pakistans blasphemy laws

What causes this behaviour? Two recent examples below. In the religious world punishments for apostasy and heresy have been some of the gravest offences, and creation of blasphemy laws has been a thorn in the side of mature, tolerant society for some time. Largely secular countries such as much of Western Europe no longer enforce such laws, I'm not sure about Greece (it's normally the exception to such things on account of it's extreme Christianity), but what causes people to become so closed, arrogant, negative, that they resort to violence when they find things that disagree with their religion?

Pakistan blasphemy laws, death penalty for burning Koran, but not other books [2]
Pakistan. Two Muslims are arrested for allegedly trying to born copies of the Koran. The countries outrageous blasphemy laws make this an offence. Burning of other books, such as those by author Salmon Rushdie, are actively encouraged by the same country. "Hundreds of people gathered outside the home of one suspect where the incident allegedly happened, demanding that the men be publicly hanged, said Iqbal." Blasphemy carries a maximum penalty of death. One of the accused, Yousaf, is mentally ill. Police have said they have not questioned them yet, "Right now we are busy trying to control the public anger".

There is something wrong with Pakistan culture if "public anger" and mobs are shouting for a public execution because of book burning, when the same mobs are known to burn books by (say) Western fiction writers.

"Pakistan's blasphemy laws have been criticized by international human rights organizations as discriminatory and mostly directed against the minority Christian community. Last year Amnesty International urged Pakistan to amend or abolish the law."

Pakistan blasphemy laws, apartheid and jail for criticising Islam [2]
"In a separate case, two Pakistani Christians who had been sentenced to 35 years for blasphemy after a dispute over ice cream bowls have been acquitted by a High Court judge." In a scene reminiscent of apartheid, the Christians were not allowed to eat ice cream from the same bowls that Muslims used. "They were told by the vendor that they must provide their own bowls if they wanted ice cream. In the ensuing row, the ice cream man said that the brothers had made "bad remarks" against Islam and the Prophet."

Thankfully "bad remarks against Islam" only nearly got them into jail. But "the two men are unlikely to be celebrating their release. Muslim fanatics are already calling for revenge. The men's family has already had to flee its home because of intimidation."

[2] 2003 Mar 28 NSS newsline
Tags: blasphemy, islam, pakistan
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