Monday, November 29, 2010

The Tyranny of Islamic Blasphemy Laws

Asia Bibi with her two children

Pakistan like other Islamic States have blasphemy laws which serve as a means to suppress and tyrannise Christians and Jews by the Islamic majority. Pakistan is one of the prime movers for the introduction of a blasphemy resolution  at the U.N.

Under Pakistan's blasphemy laws Asia Bibi an innocent Christian mother of two children, was sentenced to death and held in a Pakistani prison, since November 8 this year. So goes the fate of Christian minorities in Islamic States like Pakistan.

According to Reuters today a court barred President Asif Ali Zardari from pardoning Asia Bibi:
Last week, a government minister said an initial inquiry into the case of the Christian mother said she had not committed blasphemy but was falsely accused after a quarrel.
Blasphemy convictions are common although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal, but angry mobs have killed many people accused of blasphemy.
If you survive being killed by an Islamic mob, then the courts will try you and sentence you to death. That's how they intimidate and terrorise the Christian minority even if you are eventually given a "pardon" ( to receive a pardon you first have to be guilty; similarly for clemency).  

Here's the background of Asia Bibi's story from the Pakistan Christian Post
Lahore: November 9, 2010. (PCP) A Christian woman named Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by District and Session Courts after year long trial on accusation of blasphemy filed by Muslim villagers of Ittanwali, where she was residing from generations.
While working in farms with other Muslim women, Asia Bibi was dragged in religious dialogues on June 19, 2009, when Muslim women termed her an “Infidel” and Christianity a “Religion of infidels” and pressed her to embrace Islam. 
Asia Bibi who is married and have two children, defended Christianity with her little knowledge and told Muslim women that Christianity is only True religion on which Muslim women made a roar and accused her defiling Prophet Mohammad.
The Muslim men working in nearby fields also gathered and attacked Asia Bibi on which she fled to village in her home. The angry Muslims followed her and took her out of home and started beating her. They tortured her children also but meanwhile some one informed police.
The police took Asia Bibi to police Station and filed FIR against her under section 295-B and C of Pakistan Penal Code but showed it a protective custody to other Christians of Ittanwali village.
Section 295 B and C PPC are subject to life in prison or death sentence but it is first judgment in history of Pakistan when a woman is sentenced to death.
Release International an advocacy group for persecuted Christians around globe is pleading Asia Bibi case and have launched an online petition to ensure justice for her.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Christian Congress PCC have expressed concern on death sentence to Asia Bibi and have appealed to President of Pakistan to withdraw false case against Asia Bibi immediately.
PCC is pressing upon government of Pakistan to repeal blasphemy law and have organized multiple conferences in Pakistan and USA.
Will Pakistan repeal blasphemy laws? It was a promise of the President during the elections. Pray for Justice for Asia Bibi, her speedy release and the repeal of cruel and repressive blasphemy laws in Pakistan and throughout the Islamic world.

Pakistan is the country which is a prime movers for the introduction of a blasphemy resolution  at the U.N.This headline from the Canadian news service CANWEST from November 2008:

 "anti-blasphemy measures have sinister goals, observers say"
Islamic countries Monday won United Nations backing for an anti-blasphemy measure Canada and other Western critics say risks being used to limit freedom of speech.
It's a 10-year plan to spread Islam: 
Passage of the resolution is part of a 10-year action plan the 57-state Organization of Islamic Conference launched in 2005 to ensure “renaissance” of the “Muslim Ummah” or community.
But some good news (really!); support is actually diminishing: in 2008 it was defeated 85-42, a margin of 43.
Combating Defamation of Religions passed 85–50 with 42 abstentions in a key UN General Assembly committee, and will enter into the international record after an expected rubber stamp by the plenary later in the year.
According to a report from CNS News (November 23, 2010):
The text has passed every year since 2005, but the last three years have seen declining support, with the margin of votes dropping from 57 in 2007 to just 19 last year (2009).
Could sanity be breaking out?

Gurth Whitaker

Calgary, Alberta

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