Can’t we all get along? No. Not in Islamabad, for instance, after that 11-year-old was accused by her neighbours of burning a few pages of a Koran.
As communal tensions continued to rise, about 900 Christians living on the outskirts of Islamabad have been ordered to leave a neighbourhood where they have lived for almost two decades.
One of the senior members of the dominant Muslim community told the Christians to remove all their belongings from their houses by 1 September.
What an oddly respectful way of wording that – it makes him sound like a prime minister instead of a thug. If some male neighbor told me to get out of the neighborhood, I wouldn’t be thinking of him as one of senior members of the community. I do wish journalists would learn to stop dressing things up in that way. This isn’t some legitimate authority telling people what to do, it’s just criminal intimidation.
The other point of general agreement is that “the law should be followed”. Unfortunately, the law in question is Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which has a proven track record of ensnaring people on the flimsiest of evidence and being cynically used to intimidate communities or settle quarrels over money and property.
Even though no one has yet been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan, long prison terms are common – one Christian couple was sentenced to 25 years in 2010 after being accused of touching the Qur’an with unwashed hands.
There have also been cases of people killed by lynch mobs demanding instant punishment. Daring to criticise the law is incredibly risky and few do it.
In 2011, Salman Taseer, the former governor of Punjab province, was gunned down by his own bodyguard after he spoke out against the case of Aasia Bibi, another Christian woman accused of blasphemy.
Humans: finding absurd reasons to make each other miserable for 100,000 years.