Saturday, 26 March 2011

Blasphemy laws

One of the countries with the most draconian blasphemy laws is Pakistan. The law there allows the most excessive punishments for blasphemy, including the death penalty. It is also the case that when those charged with blasphemy are either acquitted, or escape death, there is often a violent backlash from the public demanding death to the transgressor, not only in Pakistan, but in other moslem countries too. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Even those who have campaigned legally for a relaxation of these medieval laws put themselves at risk as these two men have found to their cost.

The vile murders of these two men in the name of the “religion of peace” has likely had a major effect, but not what the assassins would have hoped for.

For almost ten years a number of countries, mainly those of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have tried to get the UN to endorse the view that religions should be protected from criticism, and to adopt the concept of “defamation of religion”, as part of the UN resolution on religious intolerance.

The UN have now rejected this concept and have cited the deaths of the two men as a factor in coming to their decision. They have also stated “What is needed now is for countries, such as Pakistan, that have blasphemy laws to eliminate them.” 
The two murders were vile, unjustified and unnecessary. It is some small comfort that the assassins have seen their act backfire on them.


  1. So much misery throughout history in the name of religion of whatever flavour.

  2. Perhaps the most Kafka-esque part of the trial of the Christian woman accused of blasphemy, Aasia Bibi is that the supposed statement that she made couldn't be repeated in "court" as it would be blasphemous, so no-one knows what she is supposed to have said. It would be funny if it was not so serious.

    Even a banal statement by a Christian such as "Mohammad was not a prophet" would be sufficient to get a death sentence in Pakistan.

    But all is not lost; see Veena Malik at work!