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There is no punishment for Blasphemy in Islam, however, somewhere in the history, the bootlickers wrote the blasphemy laws to please the dictators and monarchs, and the ordinary men and women in the market today rely on those made up books... instead of Quran.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Islam do you subscribe to?

Evil exists in a given society because good people do nothing about it.

Obviously everyone is scared of speaking up and as long as you are scared, those few will establish that Islam is their religion and a religion of punishment, oppression and coercion.  Sadly, that is their understanding, one of the many ways to change that perception is to speak up, they need to know that there is a different view and most Muslims do not subscribe to their view.

The least you can do, particularly the Pakistani Americans is to speak up and show the support to those gutsy men and women like Sherry Rahman and Prof. Hoodbhoy who are not scared. As he alludes, Zardari has a choice to leave a legacy of goodness for his country and live in peace or run for his life.

Please visit the site www.BlasphemyLaws.com a variety of articles are being posted to increase our own understanding of it.  

To Save Pakistan, what Miracles need to happen?

Pakistan’s defiant leader

Arab News
Qadri and Muslim Majority.  

To Save Pakistan, What Miracles Shall We Ask of Allah?

January 21, 2011
Pervez Hoodbhoy

In a society dominated by traditional religious values, heroism often means committing some violent and self-destructive act for preserving honor. Although Governor Taseer was not accused of blasphemy, his crime was to seek presidential pardon for an illiterate peasant Christian woman accused of blasphemy by some Muslim neighbours. Taseer’s intervention clearly crossed the current limits of toleration. With no party support, he went at it alone.

Malik Mumtaz Qadri – the official security guard who pumped 22 bullets into the man he was deputed to protect – is not the first such hero. The 19-year old illiterate who killed the author of the book “Rangeela Rasool” in the 1920’s, and was then executed by the British, was held in the highest esteem by the founders of Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It is reported that Iqbal, regarded as Islam’s pre-eminent 20th century philosopher, placed the body in the grave with tears in his eyes and said: "This young man left us, the educated men, behind." Ghazi Ilm-e-Deen is venerated by a mausoleum over his grave in Lahore.

In his court testimony, Taseer’s assassin proudly declared that he was executing Allah’s will. Hundreds of lawyers – made famous by the Black Coat Revolution that restored Pakistan’s Chief Justice – showered him with rose petals while he was in police custody. Two hundred lawyers signed a pledge vowing to defend him for free. Significantly, Qadri is a Barelvi Muslim belonging to the Dawat-e-Islami, and 500 clerics of this faith supported his action in a joint declaration. They said that those who sympathized with Taseer deserved similar punishment.

Significantly most of these mullahs are part of the Sunni Tehreek and are supposedly anti-Taliban moderates. Indeed, one of their leaders, Maulana Sarfaraz Naeemi, was blown up by a Taliban suicide bomber in June 2009 after he spoke out against suicide bombings. But now these “moderates” have joined hands with their attackers. Jointly they rule Pakistan’s streets today, while a cowardly and morally bankrupt government cringes and caves in to their every demand.

Those who claim that Pakistan’s silent majority is fundamentally secular and tolerant may be clutching at straws. They argue that the religious parties don’t get the popular vote and so cannot really be popular. But this is wishful thinking. The mullah parties are unsuccessful only because they are geared for street politics, not electoral politics. They also lack charismatic leadership and have bitter internal rivalries. However the victory of the MMA after 911 shows that they are capable of closing ranks. It is also perfectly possible that a natural leader will emerge and cause an electoral landslide in the not too distant future.

But even without winning elections, the mullah parties are immensely more powerful in determining how you and I live than election-winning parties like the PPP and ANP. For a long time the religious right has dictated what we can or cannot teach in our public and private schools. No government ever had the guts to dilute the hate materials being forced down young throats. They also dictate what you and I can wear, eat, or drink. Their unchallenged power has led to Pakistan’s cultural desertification because they violently oppose music, dance, theatre, art, and intellectual inquiry.

To be sure there are scattered islands of normality in urban Pakistan. But these are shrinking. Yes, the Baluch nationalists are secular, and so is the ethnically-driven MQM in Karachi. But these constitute a tiny fraction of the population.

It is indeed a complete abdication. When the bearded ones brought out 50,000 charged people onto the streets of Karachi, a terrified government instantly sought negotiations with them. Even before that happened, the current interior minister – Rahman Malik, a venal hack and as crooked as they come – promptly declared that he’d personally gun down a blasphemer.

The government’s pants are soaking wet. In fact, so wet that the ruling party dumped Taseer – who was their own high-ranking member – after the murder. There’s talk now of getting American guards for Zardari since his own guards may be untrustworthy. Sherry Rahman, the brave parliamentarian who dared to table a bill to reform the blasphemy law, is now bunkered down. She is said to be receiving two death threats an hour. Significantly, the Army high command has made no public statement on the assassination, although it is vocal on much else.

The media’s so-called independence and vibrancy is reserved for attacking a manifestly corrupt, but nominally secular, government. On other issues – such as a rational discussion of religion and the army’s role in society – it is conspicuously silent. Few sane people are brought on to shows, or are too scared to speak.

Let me recount some personal experiences. The day after Taseer’s assassination, FM-99 (Urdu) called me for an interview. The producer tearfully told me (offline) that she could not find a single religious scholar ready to condemn his murder. She said even ordinary people like me are in short supply.

The next day a TV program on blasphemy (Samaa TV, hosted by Asma Shirazi) was broadcast. Asma had pleaded that I participate. So I did – knowing full well
what was up ahead. My opponents were Farid Paracha (spokesman, Jamaat-e-Islami) and Maulana Sialvi (Sunni Tehreek, a Barelvi and supposed moderate). There were around 100 students in the audience, drawn from colleges across Pindi and Islamabad.

Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed around me (and at me), I managed to say the obvious: that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan; that the self-appointed “thaikaydars” of Islam in Pakistan were deliberately ignoring the case of other Muslim countries like Indonesia which do not have the death penalty for blasphemy; that debating the details of Blasphemy Law 295-C did not constitute blasphemy; that American Muslims were very far from being the objects of persecution; that harping on drone attacks was an irrelevancy to the present discussion on blasphemy.

The response? Not a single clap for me. Thunderous applause whenever my opponents called for death for blasphemers. And loud cheers for Qadri. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said he had Salman Taseer's blood on his hand, he exclaimed “How I wish I had done it!” (kaash ke main nay khud kiya hota!). You can find all this on YouTube if you like.

One can debate whether this particular episode (and probably many similar ones) should be blamed on the media, whether it genuinely reflects the public mood, and whether those students fairly represented the general Pakistani youth. But there is little doubt which side the Pakistani media took. This was apparent from the unwillingness of anchors to condemn the assassination, as well as from images of the smiling murderer being feted all around. Mullah guests filled the screens of most channels. Some journalists and TV-show participants favorably compared Qadri with Ilm-e-Deen. Others sought to prove that Taseer somehow brought his death upon himself.

 If the US had never come to Afghanistan, Pakistan would not be the violent mess that it is today. So there is an element of truth in this claim, but no more than an element. Let me give you an analogy: imagine lots of dry wood and a lighted match. The US-led anti-Soviet war was that match. But the combustible material is that dangerous conservatism which accumulated over time. The strength of the Islamist parties vastly increased after Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto kow-towed to them after 1973-4. This was 5-6 years before the Soviet invasion so one can scarcely blame America for that.

Yes, the West did set dry wood on fire. But the staggering quantity of wood comes from the rotting mass of Pakistan’s state and society. Ours is an apartheid society where the rich treat the poor like dirt, the justice system does not work, education is as rotten as it can be, and visible corruption goes unpunished. Add to all this a million mullahs in a million mosques who exploit people’s frustrations. You then have the explanation for today’s catastrophic situation.

Of course I would love to see the Americans out of Afghanistan. The sooner they can withdraw – without precipitating a 1996 style Taliban massacre – the better. But let’s realize that US withdrawal will not end Pakistan’s problems. Those fighting the Americans aren’t exactly Vietnamese-type socialists or nationalists. The Taliban-types want a full cultural revolution: beards, burqas, 5 daily prayers, no music, no art, no entertainment, and no contact with modernity except for getting its weapons.

 The grievances in Tunisia are similar in some ways to those in Pakistan: raging unemployment, grotesque corruption, and the opulent lifestyles of the elite. Like Zardari, who fills Pakistani cities with pictures of the Bhutto clan and renames streets and airports, Ben Ali also promoted his family. Both plundered national wealth, and both got the West’s support because they claimed to be bulwarks against extremism. Today Ben Ali is gone, and tomorrow Zardari will be gone.

But the differences are profound: Tunisia’s population of 10 million is miniscule compared to Pakistan’s 180 million. Young Tunisians do not suffer from a toxic overdose of hard-line religion. So they came out bravely into the streets to fight for real social change. One can therefore hope that Ben Ali’s departure will lead to a flowering of Arab democracy rather than invite the dark forces of religious extremism. Yet one can be absolutely sure that Zardari’s departure, which may happen sooner rather than later, is not likely to lead to a more secular or more peaceful Pakistan.

As for Bangladesh: let us recall that it emerged from the collapse of Jinnah’s Two-Nation theory. Nationalism triumphed over religion in 1971. Hence the positive new developments in Bangladesh are not difficult to understand.

If you want the truth: the answer is, nothing. Our goose is cooked. Sometimes there is no way to extinguish a forest fire until it burns itself out. Ultimately there will be nothing left to burn. But well before the last liberal is shot or silenced, the mullahs will be gunning for each other in a big way. Mullah-inspired bombers have already started blowing up shrines and mosques of the opposing sect. The internet is flooded with gory photographs of chopped-up body parts belonging to their rivals. Qadri, the assassin, admitted his inspiration to murder came from a cleric. So you can also expect that Muslim clerics will enthusiastically kill other Muslim clerics. Eventually we could have the situation that prevailed during Europe’s 30-Year War.

To save Pakistan, what miracles shall we ask of Allah? Here’s my personal list: First, that the Pakistan army stops seeing India as enemy number one and starts seeing extremism as a mortal threat. Second, that Zardari’s government is replaced by one that is less corrupt, more capable of governance, and equipped with both the will and legitimacy to challenge religious fascism. And, third, that peace somehow comes to Afghanistan.

In an interview with Viewpoint, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy discusses the situation in Pakistan. Hoodbhoy received his undergraduate and PhD degrees from MIT and has been teaching nuclear and high-energy physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in
Islamabad for 37 years. He also lectures at US universities and laboratories, and is a frequent commentator, on Pakistani TV channels as well as international media outlets, on various social and political issues

Pakistan's defiant prisoner of intolerance

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan's defiant prisoner of intolerance, vows to stay put

'These death threats won't make me flee', says Rehman, who supports reform of Pakistan's blasphemy laws
Declan Walsh in Karachi

Sherry Rehman, a liberal parliamentarian with the ruling Pakistan People's Party who proposed a bill to reform Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws, at her home home in Karachi. Photograph: Declan Walsh for the Observer
All Sherry Rehman wants is to go out – for a coffee, a stroll, lunch, anything. But that's not possible. Death threats flood her email inbox and mobile phone; armed police are squatted at the gate of her Karachi mansion; government ministers advise her to flee.

"I get two types of advice about leaving," says the steely politician. "One from concerned friends, the other from those who want me out so I'll stop making trouble. But I'm going nowhere." She pauses, then adds quietly: "At least for now."

It's been almost three weeks since Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was gunned down outside an Islamabad cafe. As the country plunged into crisis, Rehman became a prisoner in her own home. Having championed the same issue that caused Taseer's death – reform of Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws – she is, by popular consensus, next on the extremists' list.

Giant rallies against blasphemy reform have swelled the streets of Karachi, where clerics use her name. There are allegations that a cleric in a local mosque, barely five minutes' drive away, has branded her an "infidel" deserving of death. In the Punjabi city of Multan last week opponents tried to file blasphemy charges against her – raising the absurd possibility of Rehman, a national politician, facing a possible death sentence. "My inbox is inundated. The good news is that a lot of it is no longer hate mail," she says with a grim smile. "But a lot of it is."

Pakistani politicians have a long tradition of self-imposed exile but 50-year-old Rehman – a former confidante of Benazir Bhutto, and known for her glamour, principled politics and sharp tongue – is surely the first to undergo self-imposed house arrest. Hers is a luxury cell near the Karachi shore, filled with fine furniture and expensive art, but a stifling one. Government officials insist on 48 hours' notice before putting a foot outside. Plots are afoot, they warn.
She welcomes a stream of visitors – well-educated, English-speaking people from the slim elite. But Pakistan's left is divided and outnumbered. Supporters squabble over whether they should call themselves "liberals", and while candle-lit vigils in upmarket shopping areas may attract 200 well-heeled protesters, the religious parties can turn out 40,000 people, all shouting support for Mumtaz Qadri, the fanatical policeman who shot Taseer. "Pakistan is one of the first examples of a fascist, faith-based dystopia," warns commentator Nadeem Farooq Paracha.

Is it really that bad? At Friday lunchtime worshippers streamed into the Aram Bagh mosque, a beautiful structure in central Karachi inscribed with poetry praising the prophet Muhammad. "He dispelled darkness with his beauty," read one line. At the gate a banner hung by the Jamaat-e-Islami religious party offered less inspiring verse: "Death to those who conspire against the blasphemy laws."

Qamar Ahmed, a 50-year-old jeweller, said he "saluted" Taseer's killer, Qadri. "Nobody should insult the glory of the prophet, who taught us Muslims to pray," he said.

A sense of siege is setting in among Pakistan's elite. Hours later, at an upscale drinks party in the city, businessmen and their wives sipped wine and gossiped about second homes in Dubai. One woman admitted she wasn't aware of Rehman's plight because she had stopped reading the papers. "Too much bad news," she said.

Yet Pakistan is not on the verge of becoming a totalitarian religious state. The fervour is being whipped up by the normally fractious religious parties, delighted at having found a uniting issue. Leading the protests is Jamaat-e-Islami, which made the mistake of boycotting the last election and now wants to trigger a fresh poll.

More significant is the lack of resistance from every other party. Rehman is polite when asked about the silence of her colleag ues in the ruling Pakistan Peoples party on the blasphemy issue. "They feel they want to address this issue at another time," she says. The truth is, they have abandoned her.

The party played with fire over the blasphemy issue last November when President Asif Ali Zardari floated the idea of a pardon for Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death on dubious blasphemy charges. According to Rehman, he also agreed to reform the law. But then conservative elements in the party objected, a conservative judge blocked the pardon and, even before Taseer had been killed, the party had vowed not to touch a law that has become the virtual sacred writ of Pakistani politics.

The opposition has also been quiet. "The greater the failure of the ruling class, the louder the voice of the cleric," says politician and journalist Ayaz Amir.
The mess is also the product of dangerous spy games by the powerful army, which propped up jihadi groups for decades to fight in Afghanistan and India. Some of those militants have now "gone rogue" and allied with al-Qaida; others, according to US assessments in the WikiLeaks files, are still quietly supported by the military. "Our establishment, especially the army, is in league with these people," says Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a moderate cleric. "And until they stop supporting them they will never be weakened."

The furore has exposed the fallacy of western ideas about "moderate" Islam. Qadri is a member of the mainstream Barelvi sect, whose leaders previously condemned the Taliban. But after Taseer's death, Barelvi clerics were the first to declare that anyone who even mourned with his grieving family was guilty of blasphemy.

Progressives demonstrate loudly in the English press and on Twitter but lack political support, having largely spurned corruption-ridden politics. Politicians say now is the time to come back. "They will be contemptuous of the politician, but they will not actually soil their hands with politics. But none of them has a constituency from which to stand," says Amir.

And there are signs that extremists do back down when confronted. Qari Munir Shakir, the cleric accused of calling Rehman an "infidel", denied his comments after Rehman supporters filed a police case against him. "It's all been blown out of proportion," he said. "All I did was ask her to take the law back. I can't imagine calling her a non-Muslim or declare her Wajib ul Qatil [deserving of death]."

Rehman is unlikely to attend Pakistan's parliament when it resumes this week. Her progressive credentials are strong, having previously introduced legislation that blunted anti-women laws and criminalised sexual harassment. But critics, including senior human rights officials, say she made a tactical mistake in prematurely introducing last November's blasphemy bill without the requisite political support.

"There's never a right time," she retorts. "Blasphemy cases are continually popping up, more horror stories from the ground. How do you ignore them?" At any rate the bill is a dead letter: clerics are demanding its immediate withdrawal from parliament and the government is likely to comply.
Amid the gloom there is some hope, from unlikely quarters. On a popular talk show last Friday night Veena Malik, an actress who faced conservative censure for appearing on the Indian version of Big Brother, gave an unforgettable tongue-lashing to a cleric who had been criticising her. "You are attacking me because I am a soft target," she railed into the camera, wagging her finger.

"But there's a lot more you can fix in the name of Islam… What about those mullahs who rape the same boys that they teach in mosques?" As the mullah replied, she started to barrack him again.

Hope also springs inside the silent majority. "The blasphemy law should be changed," declared Muhammad Usman after Friday prayers. Clutching his motorbike helmet, the 30-year-old pharmaceutical company representative said he was unafraid of speaking his mind. "It's just the illiterate ones who are supporting Mumtaz Qadri. They don't have any real religious knowledge," he said.

Some analysts downplay the worst predictions, saying blasphemy is exceptionally sensitive in a country obsessed by religion. They are right. Pakistan will soon return to more concrete worries: Taliban insurgents, economic collapse, the rise of extremism. Yet there is no doubt the aftermath of Taseer's death points to a country headed down a dangerous path.
"We know from history that appeasement doesn't pay. It only emboldens them," said Rehman.

She has no idea how long her self-imposed house arrest will last, but the precedents are ominous. In 1997 a judge who acquitted two Christians accused of blasphemy was gunned down – three years after the judgment.

"It makes me realise that life is pretty fragile," she says. "But we don't want to leave. I see no meaning to a life away from my country. It's my identity, it's everything."

Quraan on Blasphemy

The most consistent theme in Quraan is - no aggression. You shall not mess things and get caught in the whole ball of wax,  but you have a right to defend yourselves. God's wisdom surfaces consistently through a variety of messengers including Jesus and Muhammad - do not aggravate the conflict, i.e., turn the other cheek to sustain the peace. 

Those of you who do not believe in the fire, hell, brimstone etc, take is as the anguish and turmoil within the soul.

Muhammad Irtaza has compiled several verses below and I have added Asad's translation where needed to ensure checks and balances.  

I urge you to do your own versification, finding the truth is your own responsibility. 

The Messenger of God Muhammad delivered the following messages on the Blasphemy Laws:

4:140 (Asad) And, indeed, He has enjoined upon you in this divine writ that whenever you hear people deny the truth of God's messages and mock at them, you shall avoid their company until they begin to talk of other things   [ Lit., "you shall not sit with them until they immerse themselves in talk other than this".]  - or else, verily, you will become like them. Behold, together with those who deny the truth God will gather in hell the hypocrites.

5:57 (Asad) O you who have attained to faith! Do not take for your friends such as mock at your, faith and make a jest of it-be they from among those who have been vouchsafed revelation before your time, or [from among] those who deny the truth [of revelation as such] -but remain conscious of God, if you are [truly] believers:

[6:68] If you see those who mock our revelations, you shall avoid them until they delve into another subject. If the devil causes you to forget, then, as soon as you remember, do not sit with such evil people.

[18:106] Their just requital is Hell, in return for their disbelief, and for mocking My revelations and My messengers.

[39:48] The sinful works they had earned will be shown to them, and the very things they used to mock will come back to haunt them.

[45:33] The evils of their works will become evident to them, and the very things they mocked will come back and haunt them.

Why the Muslim masses ignore the Messenger Muhammad?  Who they want to please?

The punishment is delivered by God, not by you or me.

The killing is justified only if  people wage  war against you. You may kill them, in that case:

[5:33] (Asad) It is but a just recompense for those who make war on God and His apostle, [43] and endeavour to spread corruption on earth, that they are being slain in great' numbers, or crucified in great numbers, or have, in l' result of their perverseness, their hands and feet cut off in great numbers, [44] or are being [entirely] banished from [the face of] the earth: such is their ignominy in this world . [45] But in the life to come [yet more] awesome suffering awaits them

43- The term "apostle" is evidently generic in this context. By "making war on God and His apostle" is meant a hostile opposition to, and wilful disregard of, the ethical precepts ordained by God and explained by all His apostles, combined with the conscious endeavour to destroy or undermine other people's belief in God as well

44- In classical Arabic idiom, the "cutting off of one's hands and feet" is often synonymous with "destroying one's power", and it is possibly in this sense that the expression has been used here. Alternatively, it might denote "being mutilated", both physically and metaphorically -similar to the (metonymical) use of the expression "being crucified" in the sense of "being tortured". The phrase min khilaf-usually rendered as "from opposite sides"-is derived from the verb khalafahu, "he disagreed with him", or "opposed him", or "acted contrarily to him": consequently, the primary meaning of min khilaf is "in result of contrariness" or "of perverseness"

The killing is not justified if people evict you. You may only evict them:

[2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.

The killing is not justified if people insult the Prophet. God will take care of it. 

[18:106] Their just requital is Hell, in return for their disbelief, and for mocking My revelations and My messengers

And, these are some of the Quranic wisdoms:

[42:37] They avoid gross sins and vice, and when angered they forgive

[42:40] Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by GOD. He does not love the unjust.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Punishment of Blasphemy in Quraan

We are pleased to present different points of view,  publication does not mean endorsement - Mike Ghouse,  Muslims together.
# # #
Quraan does not contain any verse for the Punishment of Blasphemy
By Irshad Mahmood

Forget about blasphemy against Allah, his Prophets (Peace-Be-Upon-Them) and Sahaba (Raiyul-Laahu-Anhu), even if someone says anything about Religious Scholars (Faqui, Peer, Molvi or Mufti etc.), we are just so ready to KILL, KILL and KILL again and destroy our own economy with our own hand and put Billions of Dollars of loss in just few hours, which might have taken ages to established. This could be Shaitaan’s another Trap to destroy Muslims economy.

Blasphemy and these types of slogan are not new and many times, Prophet Muhammad (Peace-Be-Upon-Him) was subjected to verbal and physical humiliation. He (Peace-Be-Upon-Him) was narrowly escaped assassination by migrating to Medina along with Hazrat Abu Bakar (Raiyul-Laahu-Anhu). He was accused of FORGERY (Ref: Al_Quraan_021.005), and MAD/CRAZY/POSSESSED (Ref: Al_Quraan_068.002). His personal reaction, as also the reaction of all his devoted Companions (Raiyul-Laahu-Anhu), while both in and out of power, was impeccable adherence to the Quraanic teachings.

Punishment for Physical Abuse/Crime in the Quraan:

The Quraan sets strict limits on punishment for any and every physical abuse/crime, i.e. tit for tat, e.g., eye for eye, teeth for teeth and wounds for similar wounds as its maximum punishment, while recommends to forgive to set a role model for others (Ref: Al_Quraan_002.178, 004.092-093, 005.032, 005.045, 062.040, 028.054). The honorable ministers and lawyers must have clear knowledge of the Quraanic directives on crime and its punishment.

And if you punished, let your punishment be proportionate to the wrong that has been done to you; but if you show patience, that is indeed the best course. (Al_Quraan_016.126)

There is no punishment mentioned in the Quraan regarding verbal abuse, however Allah has given limited authority to Islaamic Government to established peace for non-Physical Abuse in a balanced way (Ref: Al_Quraan_018.028, 004.059)

True peaceful rally in front of Parliament/Secretariat Buildings, Courts and Palaces etc. is necessary during the weekends, which do not hurt Peoples economy. True Islaamic Government must fines those doing these types of verbal abuses/crimes, in addition to put them into jail for limited time and teach them all the Quraanic (True Book of Guidance) Messages in their language during this jail time regardless of diplomats or high officials (Ref: Al_Quraan_009.006). Anyone entering into Muslims Country must be taught a Brief Quraanic Messages before issuing them visas including Diplomats and High Officials.

Be patient with what they say, celebrate (constantly) the praises of thy Lord and leave them with noble (dignity). (Ref: Al_Quran_020.130, 050:039, 073.010)

And withhold yourself with those who call on their Lord morning and evening desiring His goodwill, and let not your eyes pass from them (always yes sir, till they follow the Quraan and Really Authentic Sunnah), desiring the beauties of this world's life; and do not follow him whose heart We have made unmindful to Our remembrance, and he follows his low desires and his case is one in which due bounds are exceeded. (Al_Quraan_018.028)

If Quraan cannot convince you nothing will:
None argue concerning the revelations (Ayaat) of Allah BUT those who Disbelieve... (Al_Quraan_040.004)
The command is for none but Allah. (Al_Quraan_018:026)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blasphemy laws of Pakistan: Indian clerics are no less extremist and obscurantist – Part 2


 20 Jan 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com

In the second part of his article Maulana Nadeemul Wajidi expresses his horror at the fact that the assassinated Governor of Pakistani Punjab Salman Taseer “felt sympathy for a Christian woman who committed blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH) and even went to jail to meet her.” Of course, the Maulana has no use for any evidence against the lady who has simply been accused of some sort of blasphemy – exactly what blasphemy Asia Bibi committed no one knows as no one can ask the accuser, her sister-in-law with whom she had had a family quarrel earlier, to repeat the blasphemous statement.

Maulana’s advice and chilling warning to imaginary blasphemers against whom there may not be a shred of evidence that can stand in a civilised court of law: “People who have made it a habit to commit blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH) should take a lesson from this incident. I will reiterate my stand that Muslims can tolerate anything but insult to the Prophet (PBUH). If the law does not punish such culprits, Muslims will be compelled to punish them themselves. There have been a number of incidents in the past when the law did not do its job, the Muslims came forward and made the guilty realise that their crime was unpardonable.” I wonder if such threats attract any laws of the land.

But the Maulana is ecstatic that “today, Salman Taseer has come down to zero and is lying underground while his assassin Mumtaz Qadri is ruling the hearts of millions of Muslims. The proceedings of the case have been started in the Islamabad court. Three hundred advocates have offered to fight the case without any fee. The court may adjudicate against Mumtaz Qadri and pronounce death sentence against him but nobody can stop him from attaining martyrdom. Saluting the courage of Ghazi Aleemuddin, Allama Iqbal had said that he wished that he had done it. Today every aalim, rather ever Muslim of Pakistan has the same feeling.”

In a tone of competitive extremism, as the “honour” of killing Salman Taseer has gone to the Barelvi sect, which was supposed to be more inclusive, tolerant and broadminded, the Maulana says: “The ulema of Deoband too declare the blasphemer deserving to be killed. Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi says: ”Committing blasphemy against prophets is infidelity (kufr)” (Imdadul fatawa 393/5). Hadhrat Allama Syed Anwar Shah Kashmiri says: “Muslims have unanimity on the view that he who abuses Allah or the Prophet (PBUH) is a Kafir” (Akfarul mulhideen p 119). Hadhrat Maulana Kifayatullah Dehlvi’s fatwa is:” The person showing disrespect to the Prophet (PBUH) or Hadhrat Aysha (R.A.) is a blasphemer and the one not angry with the blasphemer is a Kafir.”(Kifayatul mufti 31/1).The principal mufti of Pakistan Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi Usmani says: “The open pronouncement of the Islamic Sharia is that the punishment for apostasy is death.”

The Maulana goes on to pronounce his considered fatwa of death to the alleged blasphemer who can virtually be any one: “The ulema agree on the fact that those committing blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH) deserve the most severe punishment. The verses of the Quran, the hadiths and numerous incidents in the Islamic history prove that the blasphemer cannot be left alive. It is not an issue of mere emotions but of beliefs. In his book Al Sarim al mas-ool fi hukm-e-Shatimir Rasool, Imam Ibn Taimiyya has compiled all the logical and theoretical arguments in this regard. Even when Salman Rushdie had written a book committing blasphemy and a fatwa ordering his murder was issued against him the question was issued why Muslims consider blasphemers against the Prophet (PBUH) deserving to be killed. On that occasion a book titled ‘Sanctity of the Prophet (PBUB) and the punishment for blasphemy’ was published in Pakistan. The book consisting of about 800 pages sheds light on all the aspects of the issue. Those who are undecided on this issue should read this book.”

Maulana Wajidi in not alone in proffering these threats of death to anyone who is accused of blasphemy, without the accuser even asked to repeat what he claims has been said. Urdu Press in India, as its counterpart in Pakistan, is coming out daily with new write-ups in a similar vein. It’s time for a reality check for those who nurse the illusion that living in a multicultural society under a secular constitution has impacted our Mullahs and made them somewhat civilised. Far from that. Indeed even our Press keeps providing generous space to these Juhala. Editorial space in Urdu dailies is practically reserved for such fulminations. Conspiracy theorists and other enemies of civilisation rule the roost.

Thankfully, there are still some Muslims who believe Islam is a religion of civilisation. Islam had brought order in unruly Arabia and other parts of the world at one time. It stood for and established the rule of law. Let us hope such people take the threats from Maulanas seriously and get together to think a way of saving Islam from these marauders and even surviving themselves from this onslaught that is coming as much in India as it has come in Pakistan. Let us also hope that these Juhala do not further inspire Hindu right wingers too who have been dreaming for decades of Muslimising Hinduism. For, while Maulanas have only one person , Mohammad (PBUH), – that too not a god, just a messenger of God - the Hindus have 330 million gods and there are myriad ways in which these Maulanas keep expressing contempt for them or at least for their images.

Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, wanted India to be a Hindu state as he wanted Pakistan to be a Muslim state. He was clear that Hindus in India should be free to treat Muslims the same ignominious way as Muslims of Pakistan treat the Hindus. His vision has come true in Pakistan. Let us hope he does not succeed in India. -- Sultan Shahin, Editor New Age Islam

Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

A Dissenting Voice onPakistan’s Blasphemy Law, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan 

 Yoginder Sikand

In the wake of the dastardly killing of Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, for having dared to question Pakistan’s draconian anti-blasphemy law, scores of Pakistani ‘Islamic’ outfits celebrated the crime by showering encomiums on the man’s murderer, insisting that his action was perfectly in consonance with (their understanding of) Islam. They feted him as an intrepid Islamic hero, a ghazi or warrior of the faith. Across the border, not a single Indian Muslim religious organization condemned the attack. This might well suggest that they shared the enthusiasm of their Pakistani counterparts, although, for obvious reasons, they were unable to openly express their delight at the deadly event. Probably the only Islamic scholar of note on either side of the border to have condemned the brutal murder in no uncertain terms, and to have insisted that it had no sanction whatsoever in Islam, was the New Delhi-based Maulana Wahiduddin Khan. He immediately responded to the murder in an article published in the Times of India, insisting that the punishment of death for blasphemy, as prescribed in Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law, had no sanction in Islam at all.
Khan’s views on the appropriate Islamic punishment for blasphemy, particularly for defaming the Prophet Muhammad, are diametrically opposed to those of the mullahs and doctrinaire Islamists, which is one reason why the latter so passionately detest him. He does not condone blasphemy, even in the name of free speech, of course, but nor does he agree with those Muslims who insist that Islam prescribes the death penalty for those guilty of it. He first articulated his position on the subject in a book titled Shatim-e Rasul Ka Masla: Quran wa Hadith aur Fiqh wa Tarikh ki Raushni Mai (‘Defaming the Prophet: In the Light of the Quran, Hadith, Fiqh and History’). The book, consisting of a number of articles penned in the wake of the massive controversy that shook the world over the publication of Salman Rushdie’s infamous Satanic Verses, was published in 1997. It is a powerful critique, using Islamic arguments, of the strident anti-Rushdie agitation and of the argument that the Islamic punishment for blasphemy is death. Although Khan condemned the Satanic Verses as blasphemous, he argued that stirring up Muslim passions and baying for Rushdie’s blood was neither the rational nor the properly Islamic way of countering the book and its author. Death for blasphemy, he contended, using references from the Quran and the corpus of Hadith to back his stance, was not prescribed in Islam, in contrast to what Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, and, echoing him, millions of Muslims worldwide, ardently believed.
Khan was possibly one of the only Islamic scholars to forcefully condemn the death sentence on Rushdie that Khomeini had announced and that vast numbers of Muslims, Shias and Sunnis, imagined was their religious duty to fulfill. Although his book deals specifically with the issue of blaspheming the Prophet in the context of the anti-Rushdie agitation, it is of immediate relevance to the ongoing debate about the anti-blasphemy laws and the violence it engenders in Pakistan today. What is particularly fascinating about the book is that it uses Islamic arguments to counter the widespread belief among Muslims that death is the punishment laid down in Islam for blasphemy as well as for those who, like the late Salman Taseer, oppose such punishment. Addressing the issue from within an Islamic paradigm, with the help of copious quotes from the Quran and Hadith, Khan’s case against death for blasphemers would, one supposes, appear more convincing to Muslims than secular human rights arguments against Pakistan’s deadly anti-blasphemy law that has unleashed such havoc in that country. 
Like most Muslims, Khan believes that Islam is the only true religion. Muslims, he says, are commanded by God to communicate Islam to the rest of humanity. This work of dawah or ‘invitation’ to the faith is, he says, the hallmark of a true Muslim. Yet, he laments, ‘the Muslims of today are totally bereft of dawah consciousness’. This lack, he contends, is at the very root of the manifold conflicts that Muslims are presently embroiled in with others in large parts of the world. This almost total absence of ‘dawah consciousness’ has made Muslims, so he argues, victims of a peculiar superiority complex (that has no warrant in Islam) that drives them on to engage in endless conflict with others. Muslims, he writes, imagine themselves as ‘the soldiers of God, the censors of the morals of the whole of creation, and the deputies of God on earth’, which, he contends, is ‘absurdly un-Islamic’. He insists that this attitude of presumed superiority and the drive for confronting and dominating others that it instigates have absolutely no sanction in the Quran. He quotes the Quran as referring to the Prophet as simply as a warner and guide, and not as a ruler over the people he addressed, and rues that Muslims behave in a totally contrary manner in their relations with non-Muslims. ‘They want to rule over others’, Khan laments. And that, he adds, is ‘their biggest psychological problem.’
The Quran, Khan says, exhorts Muslims to be bearers of glad tidings to others and to invite them to God’s path. The work of dawah is not a simple verbal calling. Rather, for dawah to be effective, he says, Muslims must themselves be righteous, including in their dealings with people of other faiths. They must see themselves as dais or missionaries inviting others to God’s path, and regard others as madus or addressees of the divine invitation. Dawah, Khan says, ‘must form the basis of the believer’s personality and must shape his relations with others.’ These relations must be fundamentally shaped by the dawah imperative, which means that Muslims must always seek to relate kindly and compassionately with others. A true dai, committed to this principal Islamic duty of dawah, must relate to people of other communities with love and concern for their welfare. They should ‘keep the needs of dawah above all other considerations,’ Khan says. They might face all sorts of loss and damage at the hands of others, but at no cost should they allow the cause of dawah to be hampered. This means, Khan insists, that ‘they must not resort to such activities that are opposed to the demands of dawah or that undermine its prospects.’ Principally, they must desist from conflicts with people of other faiths, even in the face of grave provocation, for this would certainly further reinforce their prejudices against Islam and Muslims and only sabotage prospects for dawah. Even when confronted with extremely hurtful and provocative situations, such as blasphemy, they must not resort to violent agitation and demand the death of the culprit. There are other, rational and more meaningful, ways to react, Khan says, but to react violently and to call for the death of blasphemers would only further magnify anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiments, harden borders between Muslims and others, and, thereby, place additional barriers in the path of dawah.
Khan is convinced that the Muslims of today have abandoned their divine duty of dawah. This is why, he writes, instead of seeking to relate kindly with people of other faiths, as addressees of the ‘invitation’ to God’s path, they consider the latter as their ‘communal enemies’ and are constantly engaged in seeking to confront them. Muslims, he contends, wrongly imagine that they are ‘God’s deputies on earth’, completely forgetting that the Quran speaks about true believers as being His witnesses to humanity. Because the drive for dawah no longer enthuses them, he goes on, their relations with people of other faiths are conflict-ridden and they ‘engage in such acts as have no sanction at all in Islam’. Their hatred for others, which promotes constant conflict with them, he says, ‘is tantamount to murder of dawah.’  Treating others as their ‘political foes’, instead of as ‘potential addressees of God’s message’, they lose no opportunity to drum up opposition and instigate conflicts and agitations directed against them. Such Muslims, Khan minces no words in saying, ‘are murderers of dawah and divine guidance’. They are completely unmindful, he says, that ‘by engaging in such activities that sabotage dawah, they are inviting God’s wrath on themselves.’
Khan then turns to the issue of blasphemy and the violent agitations unleashed across the globe in the wake of Khomeini’s fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death. He insists that the fatwa and the agitation that it stirred are tantamount to ‘murdering dawah’, and bemoans that ‘it reflects a total lack of dawah consciousness.’ Such reactions, he warns, will only further reinforce deeply-rooted negative feelings among non-Muslims about Islam and Muslims, which would make the task of dawah even more difficult than it already is. He goes so far as to claim that those engaged in this agitation, whether as leaders or foot-soldiers, run the very real risk of ‘being treated as criminals in the eyes of God, notwithstanding the fact that they may label their dawah-murdering agitation as an agitation for the glory of Islam.’ Hence, he insists, the fatwa and the violent agitation that it spurred are ‘absurd and un-Islamic’.
Khan blames what he sees as the Muslims’ total lack of dawah consciousness for what he perceives as their wild emotionalism in the face of even the smallest provocation. If anyone dares says anything, no matter how minor, against their way of thinking, he contends, they immediately get provoked and resort to agitation and even violence. The most sensitive issue in this regard, Khan notes, is the image of the Prophet Muhammad. If anyone says or writes anything about the Prophet that does not correspond with how they themselves perceive him, Khan notes, Muslims turn ‘uncontrollably emotional’ and ‘lose all reason.’ Khan believes this is not at all the appropriate Islamic attitude, and traces it to what he perceives as the fact that ‘Muslims have abandoned dawah’. Because of this, he explains, they now ‘see others as their communal enemies’ and consider any such criticism as ‘an attack on their communal pride’, which forces them out on the streets in violent agitation and worse.
Had Muslims maintained their ‘dawah consciousness’, he remarks, they would have responded to the provocation differently: through patience and avoidance of conflict, as he says the Quran advises them to, so that prospects for dawah would not thereby be damaged. But since they have lost the commitment to dawah, he laments, they have fallen victim to what he terms ‘false emotionalism’ that drives them to respond violently to any and every provocation. This stance, he says, is completely un-Quranic, and is bound to reinforce anti-Islamic prejudices that underlie phenomenon such as blasphemy, instead of doing anything at all to resolve them.
In the face of provocations, such as negative statements or writings against Islam, Khan advises Muslims not to give in to the temptation to react with violent agitation. Instead, he advises, they should respond ‘with patience, wisdom, far-sightedness and clear-mindedness’, these being qualities which he identifies with ‘success in this world and in the next’.
[This article, in a very slightly edited form, appeared in the 21st January 2011 issue of the Daily Times, Pakistan, and can be accessed on

Islamic scholar attacks Pakistan's blasphemy laws

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, reformist scholar and popular television preacher. Photograph: Declan walsh

A prominent Islamic scholar has launched a blistering attack on Pakistan's blasphemy laws, warning that failure to repeal them will only strengthen religious extremists and their violent followers.

"The blasphemy laws have no justification in Islam. These ulema [council of clerics] are just telling lies to the people," said Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a reformist scholar and popular television preacher.

"But they have become stronger, because they have street power behind them, and the liberal forces are weak and divided. If it continues like this it could result in the destruction of Pakistan."

Ghamidi, 59, is the only religious scholar to publicly oppose the blasphemy laws since the assassination of the Punjab governor, Salmaan Taseer, on 4 January. He speaks out at considerable personal risk.

Ghamidi spoke to the Guardian from Malaysia, where he fled with his wife and daughters last year after police foiled a plot to bomb their Lahore home. "It became impossible to live there," he said.

Their fears were well founded: within months Taliban gunmen assassinated Dr Farooq Khan, a Ghamidi ally also famous for speaking out, at his clinic in the north-western city of Mardan.

The scholar's troubles highlight the shrinking space for debate in Pakistan, where Taseer's death has emboldened the religious right, prompting mass street rallies in favour of his killer, Mumtaz Qadri.

Liberal voices have been marginalised; many fear to speak out. Mainstream political parties have crumbled, led by the ruling Pakistan People's party, which declared it will never amend the blasphemy law.

Sherry Rehman, a PPP parliamentarian who proposed changes to the legislation, was herself charged with blasphemy this week. Since Taseer's death she has been confined to her Karachi home after numerous death threats, some issued publicly by clerics.
Although other Islamic scholars share Ghamidi's views on blasphemy, none dared air them so forcefully. "Ghamidi is a voice of reason in a babble of noises seemingly dedicated to irrationality," said Ayaz Amir, an opposition politician and opinion columnist.

Ghamidi's voice stands out because he attacks the blasphemy law on religious grounds. While secular critics say it is abused to persecute minorities and settle scores, Ghamidi says it has no foundation in either the Qur'an or the Hadith – the sayings of the prophet Muhammad. "Nothing in Islam supports this law," he said.
Ghamidi deserted the country's largest religious political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, to set up his own school of religious teaching. He came to public attention through a series of television shows on major channels. They were cancelled due to opposition from the mullahs, he said. "They told the channels there would be demonstrations if I wasn't taken off air."

Three years ago gunmen fired a pistol into the mouth of the editor of Ghamidi's magazine; last year the police foiled a plot to bomb his home and school. Now the school is closed.

The core problem, Ghamidi said, was the alliance between Pakistan's "establishment" – code for the military – and Islamist extremists it uses to fight in Kashmir and Afghanistan. "They are closely allied," he said.

The blasphemy debate has exposed painful rifts in Pakistani society. One Ghamidi follower said his father, a British-educated engineer, called him an infidel for attacking the controversial law. "Our society is tearing itself apart," he said.

Tariq Dhamial, a lawyer representing Mumtaz Qadri, said more than 800 lawyers had offered to represent the self-confessed killer. "Everyone is behind Qadri. Doctors, teachers, labourers, even police – they believe he did the right thing," Dhamial said.Dhamial said the police intended to hold Qadri's trial in jail but the lawyers wanted it heard in open court. The latest hearing is due next Tuesday.

Even when out of Pakistan, Ghamidi features on television shows by phone, often outwitting extremist clerics with his deep knowledge of the Qur'an. But he eschews terms such as "liberal".

"I am neither Islamist nor secular. I am a Muslim and a democrat," he said. But even allies question whether religious argument alone can win the sulphurous blasphemy debate.

"When you talk about religion, you only provoke the forces of reaction who become more intolerant. Then governments become frightened and retreat,"
said Amir. "Ghamidi's is a voice for the converted. But that won't solve our problem."

• This article was amended on 21 January 2011. The original referred to Jamaat-e-Islami as Pakistan's largest religious political party. This has been corrected.
# #

Proposed Amendments to Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan

The existing Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan are reproduced below together with the changes proposed by a private member's bill in Parliament (Sherry Rehman's bill).  Scroll down quickly to have an overview of our existing laws and the proposed changes. Proposed deletions are shown as strikethrough and proposed additions in (brackets).  This will give you a broad feel of what we are talking about.  I am sure most people have not seen the existing laws or the proposed changes in context of the existing laws.  (I have used Sherry Rehman's bill only as an example of changes that could be considered because it is the only one I know that is in the public domain.)

Then read the rest of my email which you will find after you have scrolled down.

National Assembly of Pakistan

Amendments in Offences Related to Religion
Amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code
Proposed by Sherry Rehman, MNA

Proposed deletions are shown as strikethrough and proposed additions in (brackets).

(ACT XLV OF1860)
Chapter 15
Offences Relating to Religion

295. Injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class: Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction damage or defilement as an insult to their religion shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

295-A. Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs: Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations insults the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten (two) years, or with fine, or with both.

295-B. Defiling, etc., of Holy Quran: Whoever wilfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life (shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine or with both).

295-C. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet: Whoever (maliciously, deliberately and intentionally) by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death (shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine or with both).

296. Disturbing religious assembly: Whoever voluntarily causes disturbance to any assembly lawfully engaged in the performance of religious worship, or religious ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

297. Trespassing on burial places, etc.: Whoever, with the intention of wounding the feelings of any person, or of insulting the religion of any person, or with the knowledge that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded, or that the religion of any person is likely to be insulted thereby, commits any trespass in any place of worship or on any place of sculpture, or any place set apart for the performance of funeral rites or as a, depository for the remains of the dead, or offers any indignity to any human corpse or causes disturbance to any persons assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

298. Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings: Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.

298-A. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of holy personages: Whoever (maliciously, deliberately and intentionally) by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), or any of the righteous Caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) or companions (Sahaaba) of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

298-B. Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc., reserved for certain holy personages or places: (1) Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves “Ahmadis” or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation (maliciously, deliberately and intentionally)

(a) refers to or addresses, any person, other than a Caliph or companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as “Ameer-ul-Mumineen”, “Khalifatul-Mumineen”, Khalifa-tul-Muslimeen”, “Sahaabi” or “Razi Allah Anho”;

(b) refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as “Ummul-Mumineen”;

(c) refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-bait) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as “Ahle-bait”; or

(d) refers to, or names, or calls, his place of worship a “Masjid”; shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

(2) Any person of the Qaudiani group or Lahori group (who call themselves “Ahmadis” or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation refers to the mode or form of call to prayers followed by his faith as “Azan”, or recites Azan as used by the Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

298-C. Person of Quadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith: Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves “Ahmadis” or by any other name), who directly or indirectly, poses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

(298-E. Any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination or violence shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine or with both.)

203. Giving false information respecting an offence committed: Whoever, knowing or having reason to believe that an offence has been committed, gives any information respecting that offence which he knows or believes to be false shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

(203-A. Anyone making a false or frivolous accusation under any of the sections 295A, 295B and 295C, of the Pakistan Penal Code shall be punished in accordance with similar punishments prescribed in the section under which the false or frivolous accusation was made.)


As amended by Act II of 1997

30. Offences not punishable with death. In the Punjab, the North-West Frontier, in Sind and in those parts of the Provinces in which there are Deputy Commissioners or Assistant Commissioners the Provincial Government may, notwithstanding anything contained in [sections 28 and 29. invest any Judicial] District Magistrate or any Magistrate of the first class with power to try as a Magistrate all offences not punishable with death (as well as offences falling under sections 295A, 295B and 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code).

190. Cognizance of offences by Magistrates. (1) Except as hereinafter provided, [any District Magistrate or a Sub-Divisional Magistrate or any other Magistrate specially empowered in this behalf] by the Provincial Government on the recommendation of High Court may take cognizance of any offence:

(a) upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitute such offence;

(b) upon a report in writing of such facts made by any police-officer;

(c) upon information received from any person other than a police-officer, or upon his own knowledge or suspicion that such offence has been committed.

[(2) The Provincial Government may empower any Magistrate to take cognizance under sub-section (1), clause (a) or clause (b), of offences for which he may try or send to the Court of Session for trial; provided that in case of Judicial Magistrate, the Provincial Government shall exercise this power on the recommendations of the High Court.]

[(3) A Magistrate taking cognizance under sub-section (1) of an offence triable exclusively by a Court of Session shall, without recording any evidence, send the case to Court of Session for trial.]

((3) All offences falling within sections 295A, 295B and 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code shall exclusively be taken cognizance of by the Court of Sessions and tried by the High Court).

193. Cognizance of offences by Courts of Sessions. (1) Except as otherwise expressly provided by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force, no Court of Session shall take cognizance of any offence as a Court of original jurisdiction [unless the case has been sent to it under section 190 sub-section (3) (and as expressly provided for under section 190 of the Code).

(2) Additional Sessions Judges and Assistant Sessions Judges shall try such cases only as the Provincial Government by general or special order may direct them to try, or as the Sessions Judge of the division, by general or special order, may make over to them for trial.

201. Procedure by Magistrate not competent to take cognizance of the case. (1) If the complaint has been made in writing to a Magistrate who is not competent to take cognizance of the case, he shall return the complaint for presentation to the proper Court with an endorsement to that effect.

(2) If the complaint has not been made in writing such Magistrate shall direct the complainant to the proper Court (provided that if a complaint is made in writing to a Magistrate under sections 295A, 295B or 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, he shall not take cognizance of it and forward it to the proper Sessions Court with an endorsement to that effect and in case the complaint has not made in writing, such Magistrate shall direct the complaint to the proper Sessions Court).

[202. Postponement of issue of process. (1) Any Court, on receipt of a complaint of an offence of which it is authorized to take cognizance, or which has been sent to it under Section 190, sub-section (3), or transferred to it under Section 191 or Section 192, may, if it thinks fit, for reasons to be recorded postpone the issue of process for compelling the attendance of the person complained against, and either inquire into the case itself or direct an inquiry or investigation to be made by [any Justice of the Peace or by] a police-officer or by such other person as it thinks fit, for the purpose of ascertaining the truth or falsehood of the complaint. Provided that, save where the complaint has been made by a Court, no such direction shall be made unless the complainant has been examined on oath under the provisions of Section 200.

(2) A Court of Session may, instead of directing an investigation under the provisions of sub-section (1), direct the investigation to be made by any Magistrate subordinate to it for the purpose of ascertaining the truth or falsehood of the complaint.

(3) If any inquiry or investigation under this section is made by a person not being a Magistrate [or Justice of the Peace] or a police-officer, such person shall exercise all the powers conferred by this Code on an officer-in-charge of a police-station, except that he shall not have power to arrest without warrant.

(4) Any Court inquiring into a case under this section may, if it thinks fit, take evidence of witnesses on oath.]

((5) Notwithstanding anything contained in the preceding subsections any complaint made under sections 295A, 295B and 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code shall be filed at and taken cognizance of by a Court of Sessions and tried by the High Court, whereas the procedure laid down in the preceding subsections shall be followed).

203. Dismissal of complaint. [The Court] before whom a complaint is made or to whom it has been transferred or [sent] may dismiss the complaint, if, after considering the statement on oath (if any) of the complainant and the result of the investigation or inquiry if any under section 202 there is in his judgment no sufficient ground for proceeding. In such case he shall briefly record his reasons for so doing.


Member in Charge
Sherry Rehman, MNA

Amendments to the Blasphemy Laws are long overdue. These must include a rationalization of punishments under the offences relating to religion. Vague terminology in these laws has led to their wide mis-use for the persecution of others. The sentences must be reduced so that the incentive to use these laws to settle scores is taken away. Sentences that promote justice rather than open the doors to religious persecution will be respected and applied properly, and it is these that must be rationalized in pursuit of Constitutional guarantees for protection of all citizens under the law. The ascertainment of malicious intent must also be made when charges are brought against an accused person. The absence of demonstrating premeditation in all such charges has led to a widespread abuse of such laws, where innocent people have suffered trials and tribulations at the hands of their accusers who use these laws to pressure the accused for personal or material gain. The absence of such a clause does not take into account the concept of mens rea, which is central to procedures in all criminal offences.

It is equally important that those making false or frivolous allegations under section 295A, 295B and 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code must also be punished, as misuse of religion to harm others and put them through agony is a serious offence. The Pakistan Penal Code must also be amended to include a new section for making any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination or violence an offence.

The Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898 are the major statutes relating to criminal law in Pakistan. While the PPC deals in defining all the offences and mentions their punishments, the Criminal Procedure Code acts as a procedural law, providing machinery for the punishment of offenders against the substantive criminal law. The two codes are read together, and amendments to the CrPC are essential to ensure the effectiveness of amendments to the PPC. Any bill seeking to make amendments that work for justice delivery on the ground must amend these two statutory codes together.

Amendments must be made in the Criminal Procedure Code to ensure protection of Pakistan’s minorities and vulnerable citizens, who routinely face judgments and verdicts at the lower courts where mob pressure is often mobilized to obtain a conviction. It must be ensured that a court of Sessions take cognizance of an offence made under sections 295A, 295B and 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code on complaints filed before it, so that the complainant takes full responsibility of the consequences in case the accusations are false or frivolous. All complaints under sections 295 A, 295 B and 295 C should be made before a Court of Sessions and subsequently tried by the High Court, because trials by High Courts are likely to strengthen the possibility for justice. Given that the intent of this Bill is to avoid miscarriages of justice in the name of Blasphemy, it should be the aim of a just society, as enshrined in our Constitution and Islam, to try all such cases at the High Courts which are always under a higher degree of public scrutiny.

Given that one of the principle tenets of Islam is to ensure justice to all, it is incumbent to therefore amend these man-made laws introduced in Pakistan by a dictator’s Ordinance, without parliamentary consultation or public debate.


What is Mens rea?
Mens rea is Latin for "guilty mind".  In criminal law, it is viewed as one of the necessary elements of a crime. The standard common law test of criminal liability is usually expressed in the Latin phrase, actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, which means "the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind be also guilty".

Many serious crimes require the proof of mens rea before a person can be convicted.  In other words, the prosecution must prove not only that the accused committed the offence (actus reus) but that he did it knowing that it was prohibited; that his act was done with an intent to commit the crime.


Resuming my e-mail:

As you will have noticed, blasphemy is covered in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) in 4 sections, Sections 295 to 298. Section 295 pertains to injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class. Punishment: 2 years or fine or both.

Section 295-A was added in 1927 to cover deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class. Punishment: 10 years or fine or both.

Section 295-B was added in 1982 to cover defiling, damaging, or desecration of the Holy Quran. Punishment: life imprisonment.
Section 295-C was added in 1986 to cover use of derogatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet. Punishment: death or life imprisonment and also fine.  In 1992 life imprisonment was removed and death became the only punishment.

It is interesting to note that Sections 295, 295-A and 295-B require that an offence must be a consequence of the accused's intent, but in Section 295-C (derogatory remarks against the Holy Prophet) there is no condition of intent.

Now, how much of the above is Allah's law and how much is man-made law?

I believe everyone agrees that blasphemy is condemned by Allah and hence prohibition of blasphemy is Allah's law. But does everyone agree that Allah has decreed specific punishments for the various categories of blasphemy?

For instance, does everyone agree that punishment of 2 years or fine or both for defiling a place of worship is Allah's law?
Does everyone agree that punishment of 10 years or fine or both for outraging religious feelings is Allah's law?  Does everyone agree that punishment of life imprisonment for defiling, damaging or desecration of the Holy Quran is Allah's law?

And finally, does everyone agree that death penalty is the only punishment for derogatory remarks against the Holy Prophet?  Is there consensus among all ulema, fuqaha, and scholars not only in Pakistan but throughout the Islamic world?  It is worth remembering that life imprisonment was an alternate punishment during General Zia's time.

Has Allah decreed that intent to cause offence is a requirement for all categories of blasphemy except for derogatory remarks against the Holy Prophet?
I am surprised to find that blaspheming God is not covered specifically in Pakistan's blasphemy laws.  It seems to me this offence would come under Section 295-A with punishment of 10 years or fine or both.

Would it be contrary to Allah's law if intent is added to Section 295-C just as they are in Sections 295, 295-A and 295-B?  Would it be contrary to Allah's law if punishment for advocacy of religious hatred is added to the PPC?  Would it be contrary to Allah's law if punishment for false or frivolous accusation of blasphemy is added to the PPC?
Lets now turn to Pakistan's blasphemy laws covered under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).  Currently blasphemy under Sections 295, 295-B and 295-C is considered a cognizable offence in Pakistan which means the Police can directly register a FIR (First Information Report), initiate the investigation and arrest the accused without warrant or getting permission from the magistrate or judge.

It is proposed that all blasphemy offences be considered non-cognizable, i.e. the Police cannot register a FIR or start investigation or arrest the accused without the court's permission. If after a preliminary enquiry the court deems the complaint fit for further processing the Police is permitted by the magistrate to investigate and/or arrest the accused. This will ensure that the complainant takes full responsibility of the consequences in case the accusation are false or frivolous.

I don't believe any of the above CrPC details are part of Allah's law, they are clearly man-made laws. It is relevant to point out that blasphemy under Sections 295-A and 298 of the PPC are non-cognizable offences under our current laws and the Police cannot register a case or arrest the accused without the court's permission.
Lastly, blasphemy cases currently are heard by the Sessions Court where mob pressure is often brought to bear on the judge to obtain a conviction.  It is proposed that all blasphemy complaints should made before a Sessions Court but tried by the High Court because trials by the High Courts will strengthen the possibility for justice because cases at the High Court are always under a higher degree of scrutiny.

Again I don't believe treating a blasphemy complaint as a cognizable or non-cognizable offence is part of Allah's law and nor is hearing the case by the Sessions Court or the High Court anything to do with Allah's law. 
Conclusion:  I am at a loss why so many people claim the entire body of Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws are God-given laws and not a word can be changed.  I believe we need to have the facts of Pakistan's blasphemy laws before us so that a calm and reasoned discourse can begin among sincere people who want to do everything possible to ensure Adl and Insaaf.


Best regards,