Another blasphemy outrage in Pakistan

Pakistan is a country that one thought was on the way to becoming a modern state but it seems to be regressing into a medieval religious one. One of the symptoms is the incorporation into its judicial code of blasphemy laws. This has emboldened Muslim extremists to take the law into their own hands to defend the honor of their god by killing those accused of blasphemy, without even waiting for these laws to be used against offenders.

Jonathan Turley describes the latest in a string of mobs taking the law into their own hands.

The violence later on Sunday in the town of Gujranwala, began when a Muslim man accused an Ahmadi man of posting “objectionable material.” The picture showed the Kaaba – the cube-shaped structure in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, but also showed a naked woman. That was enough for Muslims to not only file a blasphemy charge with the police but a mob to attack and burn down the homes of innocent Ahmadis. They ended up killing the girls, the grandmother, and causing another woman to miscarry her baby. Yet, such violence is viewed by these extremists to be the act of truly faithful Muslims and pleasing to God. It is such a disconnect with any form of recognizable morality that makes this crime so hard to even fathom.

I do not just blame the mob, however. I blame Pakistan for its codification of the prejudice against this sect and treating them as heretics. The country’s incorporation of religious tenets into the criminal code legitimates these acts of hatred. It is also another example of how there is no common ground over blasphemy.

I agree. There is no excuse for such acts and they deserve to be punished severely for their crime.

Punishing people for blasphemy is just the most extreme manifestation of the idea that religious views have to be treated with respect and not mocked. It is a sign of the deep insecurity that religious people have about their beliefs, that they need the state to shield them from the possibility of facing up to their own doubts.


  1. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Yup. It ain’t the only Islamist state that’s regressing and going backwards either is it?

  2. DsylexicHippo says

    Nothing good can be expected from a nation that codifies medieval pastimes as the law of the land.

  3. Jockaira says

    The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (IRP) has never been more than a third-world state governed by a military dictatorship, and since the late 90’s the possessor of deliverable thermonuclear weapons, a dangerous combination.
    It should come as no surprise to find blasphemy laws codifed in IRP when the constitution of 1973 unequivocally states that no law shall be enacted or enforced that is in any way contradictory to the Qur’ân or the Sunnah of Muhammed. The blasphemy laws themselves were enacted opportunistically by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who took control of Pakistan after a bloody coup in the late 70’s.
    Many, perhaps most Pakistani liberals and progressives have emigrated to the UK, US, and other democratic nations, leaving few religiously tolerant in the country. In fact, tribalism and fundamental Islam usually win in most showdowns, enforced by numerical superiority, savagery, and the clear imprecations of the Qur’ân.
    The Ahmadis are reviled throughout the Islamic world for the simple reason that they proclaim a later prophet than Muhammed. Other than this, there is no significant difference between a Muslim and an Ahmadi, except for a slightly greater tolerance of others by the Ahmadis. The IRP has even enacted laws specifically naming Ahmadis as heretics and all their religious activities as haram to the highest degree.
    One should not expect a publically-exposed Ahmadi to have good prospects for a continued life.
    As long as the IRP continues its inequitable treatment of Infidels and other non-believers, it will not be a modern world state of which anyone can be proud.

  4. lpetrich says

    Pakistani Islamists’ hate-on of Ahmadis goes to the extreme of not honoring Pakistan’s first Nobel laureate, Abdus Salam. That is because he was an Ahmadi. One might expect him to be greatly honored in his home country, but he isn’t.

    He, Steven Weinberg, and Sheldon Glashow won it in 1979 for working out electroweak unification.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *