Pakistan: court orders government not to change blasphemy law

Asia Bibi

The Lahore High Court has ordered the Pakistani government not to change the nation’s blasphemy law before the court hears the appeal of Asia Bibi, the Christian mother who was sentenced to death for blasphemy after she refused to convert to Islam.

Terrorist organizations associated with the Taliban have issued a fatwa against Shabhaz Bhatti, the Catholic layman and cabinet minister who is leading a commission that will consider changes to the nation’s blasphemy law.

Shaheryar Gill, a Pakistani Christian who serves as associate counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, shed light on the effects of the blasphemy law.

“You see, 20 years or more of the blasphemy law in Pakistan has instilled in people that punishment for insulting Islam is death,” Gill said in a recent interview. So, rather than going to the court, people have taken the law into their own hands.”

via Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Pakistan: court orders government not to change blasphemy law.

Shahbaz Bhatti

I want you to read two interviews, with the Minister of Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, who speaks about his hope of changing the blasphemy law, the death threats against him and asks the Pope and the faithful to pray for him:

Threats and intimidation follow one after the other. I take them all seriously, however, my life mission is to protect religious freedom, minority rights, justice and equality. I will continue to do so without hesitation.

…I am deeply religious, and the Pope’s words are very important in my life. I thank him for his closeness and solidarity with the Christians in Pakistan. His solace encourages me to witness to the faith in my life, despite the difficulties. I ask the Holy Father and all the faithful of the world to pray for me.

Asia Bibi's husband with two of their daughters

Fides.org also interviewed Asia Bibi’s husband:

Today we are leading a threatened life: we are being targeted by extremist groups, and we fear for our lives. We are ready to leave for Italy or for America, as soon as Asia is freed.

…Thanks to the Masihi Foundation we are going through all the necessary legal steps for Asia’s case and for our protection. The President and the Government are interested in our case, realizing that Asia is innocent and they have expressed concern, but they are under pressure from extremist Islamic groups.

It’s interesting that this family have to hide from violent gangsters but those guys who threaten them don’t have to.

Background:

  1. Pakistan: Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.
  2. Pakistan: your signature to save Asia Bibi.
  3. Asia Bibi: Pope appeals for “full freedom“.
  4. Pakistan: Asia Bibi NOT pardoned, protests are announced in case she is.
  5. Pakistan: Both Minister of Minorities and Punjab Governor threatened by Islamists over Asia Bibi’s release.
  6. Pakistan: Taliban-linked cleric offers $5,800 reward for anyone who kills Asia Bibi.
  7. Pakistan: Taliban-linked cleric offers $5,800 reward for anyone who kills Asia Bibi (II)

5 comments on “Pakistan: court orders government not to change blasphemy law

    • Claudia says:

      Hello, Annie, I have read your post, a great one, I must say.

      I don’t receive normally comments from Muslims who actually try to reason about their beliefs, but rather comments that actually call for my beheading or for the total extermination of non-Muslims. The most educated ones just demand my respect, something that with these examples, it’s somewhat difficult to have.

      Yes, you’re right that there are “blasphemy laws” in Western countries, though not in every country and certainly not including death penalties or involving long prison sentences (most only make you pay a fine). There are also several other differences: firstly, that, considering religious freedom in much wider terms, we can’t accuse of blasphemy someone from other religions and that certainly we have much less sensitivity against “insults to religion“. For example, I should name “The Da Vinci Code” novels, that were fiction and appeared to be blowing Catholic (and Christian in general) tenets of faith such as Christ being killed in the cross. No one called for the author’s death, no one sued him, etc.

      About Mohammed cartoons, as you can see by my blog posts, the cartoons could hardly be insulting if it was an “obscure” newspaper, which wasn’t even important in Denmark. Can someone insult you if you don’t know about it? No. And the response was absolutely disproportionate, with a Catholic nun killed in Somalia, embassies torched, etc. Imagine what you would think if now we were burning Pakistani embassies and calling to kill Muslims because of Asia Bibi.

      Denmark didn’t consider that as an offence because it was a private newspaper: if someone wanted to fund it, buying it, it’s OK. Here we have had even photography exhibitions in which the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, the Apostles, etc. were actually pictured in pornographic scenes (masturbating, having oral sex…). The only problem was they were funded with public money: that is, even me, that I’m a Catholic (convinced one, but not the least trying to make others belief in the same God than me) was paying for it.

      May I also remind the difference between someone writing a book and someone actually being killed or sentenced to death? The first is just publishing ideas, the second is a human being: once he/she is killed, there is no turning back.

      Lastly, I think freedom of expression should be as great and wide as possible. If not, scandals such as the one of the pedophile priests, would have never been known, and no corrective measures would have been taken. If a blasphemy law, such as the Pakistani one, would have existed here, the priests would have said that it was all a blasphemy against the Church. That is to say I don’t like limits to the freedom of expression except in one case: if you’re calling to murder or to do any other measurable harm to other persons, individually considered. Groups don’t have rights, but people.

  1. […] Pakistan: court orders government not to change blasphemy law. […]

  2. […] Pakistan: court orders government not to change blasphemy law. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s