Introduction by Dan Getz, Blogger, Dance4One, June 29, 2011
As stated in a recent article (http://www.propagandistmag.com/2011/03/11/blasphemy-law-pakistan-real-blasphemy) which I posted yesterday on my blog (http://www.dance4one.blogspot.com/) and which was written by Raheel Raza, (a Pakistani Muslim woman who, among other things is a public speaker, human rights activist, documentary film maker and freelance journalist), the founder of Pakistan (Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah) stated the following in his presidential address to the constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947:
“What are we fighting for? What are we aiming at? It is not theocracy – not for a theocratic state. You are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the state….”
Unfortunately beginning with the country's 6th president, General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, (who captured power by a coup in 1977), this ideology of Pakistani's founder was quickly abandoned, and new additions to Pakistan law made, in Zia-ul-Haq's efforts to Islamize the country.
Over the last 30 or so years, the "Islamizing of the country" has prevailed and the blasphemy laws have quickly been accepted as the "norm" by the 97% Muslim, predominantly Sunni majority living in Pakistan today, even though (as Raheel Raza points out) they are "totally in conflict with the Quran, which clearly indicates 'there is no compulsion in religion'; and is contrary to every aspect of Universal Human Rights." Raza goes on to state, "Blasphemy laws are in violation of Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Declaration on the Elimination of all forms of intolerance and Discrimination based on Religion and Belief and also violates articles 2 and 4 of the Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National, Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities."
In even more recent developments, the Christian Bible is now on "trial" and in jeapordy of being banned in Pakistan if an influential political party in Pakistan gets it it's way. The following article was posted by The Christian Post on June 3, 2011 (http://www.christianpost.com/news/now-bible-faces-blasphemy-charges-in-pakistan-50789/)...
Now Bible Faces Blasphemy Charges in Pakistan
The Bible is the latest target of Islamists in Pakistan, where Christian and other minorities routinely face blasphemy charges followed by “religious” lynching. An influential political party has asked the Islamic country’s apex court to ban the Christian holy book alleging it denigrates prophets.A leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Samiul Haq) or JUI-S party on Tuesday demanded that the Supreme Court of Pakistan ban the Bible, saying “blasphemous” portions had been “added to the Bible,” Pakistan’s newspaper The News International reported.
Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi, a party leader, made the appeal at a press conference at a mosque, the Masjid-e-Khizra, in Lahore. He said if the court did not ban the Bible on its own, Islamic clerics would formally petition the court. A panel of lawyers is working on it, he added.
Farooqi and his associates alleged that several portions had been inserted into the Bible to charge some prophets with “a variety of moral crimes, which undermine the sanctity of the holy figures.”
“Farooqi cited a number of scriptures from the Bible, saying such ‘insertions’ strongly offend the Muslims, who hold all prophets and holy books in high esteem, as part of religious belief and never even think of committing any blasphemy against them,” according to the daily.
While Muslims also believe in the torah or the first five books of the Old Testament, the writings of David, the Psalms and the Gospel, they believe the Christian Bible is the “corruption” of the original text.
Farooqi added that his colleagues wanted to avenge the desecration of the Quran by Florida Pastor Terry Jones but they wouldn’t burn the Bible. But to prevent any such act of desecration in the future, he went on to say, at least some punishment was needed and that they would find a way to do so.
Lahore’s Anglican bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Alexander John Malik, said in a statement Wednesday that the call to ban the Bible was interference in the religious matters of the Christian community and violation of religious freedom guaranteed under the Pakistan’s constitution.
The bishop added that the JUI-S party was “sowing seeds of discord” among the two communities and pointed out that Christians all over the world, including the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, had condemned Pastor Terry Jones’ “heinous” act, the daily reported.
The JUI party, meaning an Assembly of Islamic Clergy, led by Samiul Haq is part of the lower House of Pakistan’s parliament. The party follows the “Deobandi” version of Islam taught by India’s Darul-Uloom Deoband seminary, which has a mass following among Muslims around the world.
Pakistan has a notorious blasphemy law, embedded in Sections 295 and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which provide for penalties ranging from a fine to death. The law is often misused to target religious minorities, including Christians, Shi’as, Ahmadiyyas and Hindus, as there is no provision to punish a false accuser or a false witness of blasphemy. It has been found that the law is used by some Muslims to falsely accuse members of minority communities to settle personal scores.
But extremists believe that killing a “blasphemous” person earns a heavenly reward and they have extra-judicially killed several Christians and persons from other minorities facing blasphemy charges.
Pakistan’s Punjab Province Governor Salman Taseer, a Muslim, and Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, were assassinated by Islamist extremists in recent months for demanding the repeal of the blasphemy law.
Pakistan’s Islamists have apparently become even more extremists following the recent killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by American troops in that country. Local Christians fear this may increase religious persecution, and the call for the banning of the Bible could be seen as a sign.
When Pakistan was formed in 1947, its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah wanted the country to have the rule of law and a system to protect all religious communities. But the country’s sixth president, General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, who captured power by a coup in 1977, Islamized the country.
An estimated 1.6 percent of Pakistan’s 17 million people are Christian, both Catholic and Protestant. Around 97 percent of the Pakistanis are Muslim, predominantly Sunni.
The majority of this article was a re-post by Dance4One of portions, or all of two articles (http://www.propagandistmag.com/2011/03/11/blasphemy-law-pakistan-real-blasphemy and http://www.christianpost.com/news/now-bible-faces-blasphemy-charges-in-pakistan-50789/). More Information on Dance4One can be obtained by visiting http://www.dance4one.com/, http://www.dance4one.blogspot.com/, or by Tweeting @Dance4One.