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Pakistan tells the world

Via Paul Fidalgo’s Morning Heresy – the Prime Minister of Pakistan says the UN “should frame laws to stop blasphemous acts.”

Oh, yes, absolutely, because that kind of thing is working out so well in Pakistan. Asia Bibi for instance, accused of “blasphemy” by a petulant neighbor. Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, murdered for attempting to help Asia Bibi. A homeless man beaten to death by a mob after he was accused of “blasphemy” and arrested. A Christian girl arrested for “blasphemy” and a few days later an imam arrested and charged with framing the girl for a “blasphemy” that never happened, and a whole neighborhood full of Christians in Islamabad is emptied as a result.

And Raja Pervez Ashraf wants that kind of thing all over the world. Brilliant.

The Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has called upon the world community to declare blasphemy despicable and a criminal act.

Addressing Ishq-e-Mustafa Conference held at the Prime Minister House, he said denial of holocaust is met with punishment but Muslims’ sentiments are absolutely disregarded, adding it is incumbent upon all as a Muslim to protest against any insult to the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

No, it isn’t. An insult to the prophet is not comparable to Holocaust denial.

Non-Muslims are not required to be polite to the prophet.

He said if denying Holocaust is a crime then demonizing holiest personalities is not less a crime. Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf said an attack on the Prophet Hazrat Mohammad [Peace Be upon Him] is an attack on the core belief of 1.5 billion Muslims.

This is something that is unacceptable. Our faith remains incomplete without total devotion and reverence to the holy Prophet (PBUH).

No. That’s wrong. The Holocaust has nothing to do with “holiest personalities”; it’s a matter of human body counts. [Expressing skepticism about an evidence-laden]* genocide is not equivalent to an attack on the core belief of no matter how many people. It is not unacceptable to dispute or contradict or mock a core belief. You are free to give total devotion and reverence to the prophet if you want to, but nobody else is required to. (You shouldn’t be required to yourselves. It should be an option, not a mandate. It’s slavish to make it a mandate. If your religion makes it a mandate then it’s a slavish religion. Sorry, but it is.)

The PM Raja demanded disrespect to the prophet hood be declared as an international offence, adding Pakistan seeks resolution of this issue in concert with the international community.

But, again, that’s your religion, it’s not everyone’s religion. It’s not legitimate to attempt to force all people to obey the rules of your religion. And as I hinted at the beginning…your country doesn’t present a very attractive model of this. We don’t look at Pakistan and envy its way with people accused of “blasphemy.” So, in short -

No.

*Amended in response to comment.

Comments

  1. says

    If only these Pakistani Muslims showed the same or greater outrage over the more than 300 Pakistanis who died in the textile factory fire because they were working in criminally negligent conditions.

    But I guess ruffled religious sensibilities take precedence over actual flesh and blood human beings.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    I do not oppose blasphemy laws per se. I just think they shouldn’t allow third party filings. Any deity who thinks He/She/It/They have been blasphemed can show up in court for themselves to file charges and give testimony.

  3. Trebuchet says

    I’m sure Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, et al will be anxious to lead the way by outlawing blasphemy directed against Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and the like first.

    No? Didn’t think so.

  4. says

    If we are to object to blasphemy, then we would have to count that fatwa against Rushdie as blasphemy against his beliefs.

    I think we would all have to just shut up and never say anything.

  5. says

    I’m all in favor of being reasonably tactful in criticizing religious beliefs, and not causing unnecessary offense; but if those bigots want to enshrine their chaotic, tribalistic, testerical bronze-age authoritarianism on the rest of the world, they can go fuck themselves. Oh wait, they’re already fucking themselves — all the more reason not to follow their example…

  6. smrnda says

    The problem is that anything you can say or do can be counted as ‘blasphemy’ by some religious fanatic, and given how different religious clash, you have a problem where their different beliefs are blasphemous by definition. Polytheists just existing is blasphemy for monotheists. The belief that Jesus was divine is blasphemy for Muslims and the belief that he’s not is blasphemy for Christians. Everybody is committed blasphemy against someone’s religious sensibilities.

  7. eric says

    The PM Raja demanded disrespect to the prophet hood be declared as an international offence

    Okay Mr. Ashraf, in the time-honored tradition of ‘you cut the cake and I choose the piece,’ why don’t you decide what sort of penalties there will be for blasphemy, and I will decide what statements count as blasphemous. What, you don’t like the results? Okay, no problem, we can switch roles. Oh, you want to do both? No, then the game isn’t fair to all the players. See?

  8. rubin10101 says

    “Genocide is not equivalent to an attack on the core belief of no matter how many people.”

    Of course not. Nobody is asserting that.

    “Expressing skepticism about a certain genocide is not equivalent to an attack on the core belief of no matter how many people.”

    That might be a better way to frame it. I’m NOT A HOLOCAUST DENIER, btw, but it seemed that in your rush to deny a false equivalence, you got the wrong one.

    Seeing as how this subject is a bit of a sacred cow, untouched by most skeptics, even, it will be interesting to see the hoops people will jump through to get around this one, I think.

  9. johnthedrunkard says

    It is a reminder of western cluelessness regarding Islam.

    Remember? The Koran states that Jesus was not crucified and did not rise again (not to mention that his mother was Moses’ sister). If Ashraf gets his wish, the Koran will be banned.

    This soapy ‘ecumenical’ horseshit can’t survive even a moment’s reflection. Religions are different. Religions are based on blind acceptance of ‘facts’ that cannot be demonstrated or refuted. Every religion is itself ‘blasphemous’ in at lest some other religion’s eye.

    Indeed, probably, every religion is blasphemous in the eyes of every other.

  10. says

    But which subject and sacred cow do you mean? Are you claiming that skeptics ought to be skeptical about the Holocaust? If so, why? There’s abundant evidence for it.

  11. Shaker Srinivasan says

    While I agree that Holocaust denial cannot be equated with blasphemy, I disagree that the former [or the latter] should be criminalized. Just as I don’t think that the Ku Klux Klan should be denied their right to peaceful assembly, and demand whatever they wish to demand.

    Ahmadinejad’s words of denial of Holocaust could hurt many, some very deeply, but they do not change the facts. Those who recognize this wouldn’t, and shouldn’t react the way mindless fools, who cannot or will not tell the difference between fiction and reality, do. As I wrote here, “Let the idiots speak”.

  12. Rodney Nelson says

    Ashraf needs to define blasphemy and then explain why those who don’t agree with him should abide by his definitions.

  13. lorn says

    Sounds like he is offering a trade; outlaw blasphemy in return for less mass violence.

    Reword it as: If everyone gives up the right of free speech the good Muslim folk will, I promise you, riot less.

    A classic trade of a little freedom for a little security.

    Offer declined.

    The way you deal with a festering boil of hypocrisy is to lance it with harsh words and cutting humor.

  14. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    You are free to give total devotion and reverence to the prophet if you want to, but nobody else is required to. (You shouldn’t be required to yourselves. It should be an option, not a mandate. It’s slavish to make it a mandate. If your religion makes it a mandate then it’s a slavish religion. Sorry, but it is.)

    Muslims loudly announce that they are slaves of god already, so your argument won’t have much effect.

  15. Lyanna says

    Is there some performance-art way of fighting this?

    Like, for instance, every time some wannabe theocrat tries to get laws passed based on “respect” for religion, a troop of secularists should show up and claim that the law is disrespecting THEIR religion.

    “Oh, you say that cartoon is offending Islam? Well, our religion believes that all art is holy, and that includes all cartoons! You are offending us! BLASPHEMY!”

    I mean, at least it would highlight the ridiculousness, right?

  16. rubin10101 says

    Ophelia, I haven’t ever heard any any convincing evidence that calls the holocaust, as it happened, into doubt.. nor am I seeking any. I think it would be a monstrous crime to actually try to cover up evidence of any genocide, for that matter.

    But I don’t know any other genocides where there are laws against even questioning what exactly went down. Or similar laws against questioning… homeopathy, or psychic healing, etc. I’m sure there are, but not in the U.N.(!)of all places. Certainly questioning the valididy of homeopathy, genocide, and religious dogmas are all apples and oranges. And some histories(6million dead) are more real than others(the life of the Prophet). But where(and who) to draw these lines?

    If the Holocaust is in imminent danger of being wiped from the history books altogether, that’s one thing. Is it? Because as long as there are laws like like this in the U.N., then THEY HAVE A POINT. One that’s not very well reasoned out, but one that’s nonetheless very DEEPLY FELT. Perhaps reason will one day stand a chance. :)

  17. rubin10101 says

    ” The Turkish government denies the 1915-1918
    Armenian genocide happened.”

    Yes, and they imprison Turks who would say otherwise. It’s easy to see why their govt. would have an interest in covering up this genocide, which, anyway, was poorly documented in comparison to the Nazis’ crimes. Are they under U.N. sanction, for this denial?

    I was talking about a (U.N.?)law that prohibits publicly denying that the historical accounts describing the Holocaust are accurate. When it is already a very well-documented event. Why create ‘thought crimes’, especially in service of such a superfluous law?

    Few here would support a law that criminalized the challenging of any state’s “official version” of history. The very existence of such a law is a reason by itself for skepticism. A bad law, especially when you see what else it lets in the backdoor.

  18. Select says

    No. That’s wrong. The Holocaust has nothing to do with “holiest personalities”; it’s a matter of human body counts. [Expressing skepticism about an evidence-laden]* genocide is not equivalent to an attack on the core belief of no matter how many people.

    The OIC constantly invokes The Holocaust when attempting to muzzle free-speech.

    They appear to be of the opinion that The Holocaust confers some sort of special, magical power on the Jews, and they’re just itching to get a piece of the action.

    For year now many Muslim pundits have been attempting to appropriate the mantle of jewish suffering in order to use it to stiffle free inquiry into all things islamic.

    They want the denial of Mohammed’s “prophethood”, an absolutely risible concept, to become the muslim equivalent of holocaust denial.

    It’s like a weird form of penis envy, or something.

  19. julian says

    The very existence of such a law is a reason by itself for skepticism.

    No. No it isn’t.

    A government passing a poorly thought out law is not grounds to re-review historical records.

    Why would it be when it has nothing to do with what happened?

  20. rubin10101 says

    I was trying to say that a law forbidding further questions about a..consensus reality(?), might tend to encourage a few enquiring minds wantin to know.. in general. Sorry that was not too clear. Anyway, poorly thought out law, check, let’s not go re-review all of history on my account, eh?:) check..

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