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November 22nd, 2009

Muslim countries seek ban on blasphemy

Submitted by Ikram.


http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=ODQ3MDk2NzMz

Excerpt: “..reformists who reinterpret traditional Islamic texts have also become the target of blasphemy accusations.” … “Religions as such do not have rights _ it’s people who have rights,”

Personally, I believe Muhammad PBUH as a figure in history does not need any such laws. He did not need them during his lifetime or even now. Muhammad is not Islam, but he is a Muslim, though a very important one. For secularists and opponents of Islam, it is difficult to criticize a non-tangible Allah, but Muhammad as a human is an easy target whom they choose to vent upon. But such a criticism is a blessing for Islam as it opens up discussions about Muhammad, about Islam then and now, sets up Jesus of Bible for equal analyses and mythology of Christianity for review – all possible only under free speech.

In the end who benefits from such discussion under free speech? Only and only Islam and Muhammad. It is only Mullah mentality that is scared of blasphemy as they practice a life of polytheism where they worship their religion and religious relics whether human or non-human. Ideas and revival mean nothing to them.

Wikipedia: “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History” – 1. Muhammad – The central human figure of Islam, regarded by Muslims as the messenger and last prophet of God. Active as a social reformer, diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, and military leader.

Of course Muhammad was just not a “Holy man” but also as a social reformer, diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, and military leader. Such an active role and his performance will generate criticism. Muslims should welcome any such criticism. Any discussion about him only strengthens Muhammad and Islam.

9 Responses to “Muslim countries seek ban on blasphemy”

  1. Muslims have consistently failed to clinch the opportunity which arises when media attention is focused on the person of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. While Dr. ZA’s book (Islam, Peace and Tolerance) gives the Quranic position on the correct reaction to blasphemy; the question remains on the suitability of making a law prohibiting blasphemy. There are more dimensions to this than just religious.


  2. Ikram wrote:

    “In the end who benefits from such discussion under free speech? Only and only Islam and Muhammad. It is only Mullah mentality that is scared of blasphemy as they practice a life of polytheism where they worship their religion and religious relics whether human or non-human. Ideas and revival mean nothing to them”

    You have put it very well. This is indeed the difference between the thought process and outlook of the jama’at of the Mujaddid (the imam of the age) and the Muslims (unfortunately) who oppose him.

    I do recall that there were blasphemy laws under the colonial rule in India. So the need to have such laws has been felt by other civilizations as well. I don’t know what the impetus was for the laws in the British system.

    I believe that the same law (from the British Penal code promulgated in colonial India) also carried over into the Pakistani penal code after independence.

    I heard in a recent Pakistani talk-show that the original blasphemy law (which was carried over from earlier British law) was only invoked a handful of times through it’s history and the most prominent case was that of the Christian community brining a law suit against the Ahmadiyya community (I am not which of the two Ahmadi organizations was the defendant). I wonder if anyone has any details.

    Thanks.


  3. Speaking from memory, the blasphemy law in British India, which continued in Pakistan, covered insulting founders of all religions. The penalty, I believe, was fine or imprisonment. The blasphemy law introduced in Pakistan in the 1990s specified the Holy Prophet Muhammad and stipulated the death penalty.

    There is still, in theory, a blasphemy law in Britain in defence only of Jesus, but it has not been used against anyone for decades.

    Regarding the case in Pakistan by Christians against Ahmadis, could it be the one against the publication of “Jesus in Heaven on Earth”? The author writes in his Preface to the 1956 edition:

    “The Governor of Punjab, on 16th April, 1953, forfeited all copies of this book to Government of Pakistan as it tended “to insult the religious beliefs of one of the classes of subjects of Pakistan”.”


  4. The British law was abolished in June 2008:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_the_United_Kingdom
     


  5. “Speaking from memory, the blasphemy law in British India, which continued in Pakistan, covered insulting founders of all religions.”

    I think this is correct. If so, then because as per the law of Pakistan Ahmadiyya is a seperate religion, any person hurting the feelings of the Ahamdis by defaming/insulting HMGA are liable to be prosecuted under the blasphemy law. On the other hand if the Ahmadis take the better course of action i.e, launch a public defence of HMGA, then they are potentially liable to be prosecuted for propogating thier religion! So what should be the proper Ahmadi response (in Pakistan): agressively defend HMGA in a manner that solely responds to the allegations so it does not fall under a legal definition of propogation OR approach the courts under the blasphemy law to prosecute any one defaming HMGA OR do nothing. I am mentioning this as now a days the Khatm-i Nubuwat people are very active in the market place, distributing Anti-Ahmadi literrature (focuing on HMGA)and calling for boycott of “Qadiani” products.


  6. Probably pertinent to mention here that the blasphemy law in Pakistan has been grossly mis-used to persecute minorities; espcially where some monetary dispute has been involved. Instances of under trial prisoners being killed have also occurred. Legal and Pakistani human rights activist have been long campaigning to abolish the law or amend it; but the maulvis true to their characteristics have scared the ruling political parties to not do anything about it.


  7. This article may help in giving the background:

    http://www.chowk.com/articles/16247


  8. An inquiry commission into the Gojra Incident, where a Christians community was attacked after allegations of Blashemy and the attackers burned and looted the houses of the Christians (no doubt to protect the honour of the Holy Prophet PBHU), has been made public.

    Link to news item at Associated Press of Pakistan

    Among other things, it has pleaded for amendments to the Blasphemy law. This no doubt will be opposed tooth and nail by the Mullahs.

    The tone of the press statment by the inquiry commission is quite revealing and shows the desperation of some Muslims to reform thier practices. Unfortunately that can only be done effectively if the ideology of the Mullah is challenged; and the only Jamaat to do so based on the Quran has been shut out of public discourse on religious issues.

    Are the Muslims willing to take an ideological stand agianset the Mullahs. Incidentally some Ulemas that have tried to do so (such as Ghamdi) have been labelled American agents by the Mullahs and the customary death threats issued (a charge of being a Qadiani must surely be imminent).


  9. The news item about the Gojra inquiry says (bolding is mine):

    We will have to grid up our lion right now,”

    It should be gird up, not grid up. And it is loins, not the animal lion.


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