Blasphemy: Intellectualising murder
A brilliant investigative reporter recently deduced that 94% of blasphemy cases have been filed against Muslims. Congratulations on your ability to do simple fractions. The blasphemy laws have indeed been used to target Muslims, Christians and Hindus. What is your point?
According to this gentleman, a paltry 130 people are languishing in jail under the blasphemy laws. Only 130? I mean, come on! More people die of hunger everyday in Palestine. Down with liberal America-lovers who don’t care about Palestine!
“Now, let’s have a look at the status of these eight Christians. Again the official data shows that only three are on death row, two have been sentenced to life imprisonment, while the remaining three are under trial.”
This just in! “Only” three Christians will be killed by the state this year folks! What is Asma Jahangir on about? Seriously? Three Christians? Think of the hundreds of innocent Muslim women and children killed in drone strikes. Why does no one talk about them? Down with Asma Jahangir who is on the payroll of the Pope!
We’re feeling awfully impotent these days, aren’t we? What with hating America and Israel but still really wanting the perks of globalization and all. Can’t we harass some ‘blasphemers’ please? Ok so it’s not in the Quran. But, there’s this one obscure tradition by Ibn Tahmiyya. So what if it’s not supported by Imam Malik, Imam Bukhari or Imam Muslim? Because clearly the other three didn’t come across that Hadith for a full century. Nonetheless, we can swear it is completely and totally undisputed the word of God!
This is the pinnacle of investigative reporting. A fraction. 122 divided by 130 equals 94 per cent. By George, I’ve got a story! Someone should write a book, ‘How to Intellectualize, Distract, Avoid and Completely Confuse an Issue.’
I’ve got an investigative report for the budding journalists out there. Go to this top-secret website called www.google.com. Search for ‘the Quran.’ A brilliant investigative journalist would be able find several translations of the Holy Book, in any language you would care to speak. Next, and this is the tricky part, find me a single Ayat where Allah says we must turn into murderers, and carry out His judgments without any instruction from Him whatsoever.
Incredibly, this top secret website will also give you copies of the Hadith of Imam Muslim, Imam Malik, and Imam Bukhari.
These three individuals are the most widely respected reporters and scholars of the Sunnah. Please, use your brilliant investigative skills to find us a single Hadith that supports killing poor, defenseless human beings (Muslim, Christian, or Hindu) for the crime of ‘blasphemy.’
For the mathematically-minded, I have a great statistic for you. An exclusive report from the top-secret police inspector of Punjab reveals that no less than 100 per cent of the 130 people currently in Punjab jails under blasphemy laws are… wait for it… poor. Most of them earn a couple of hundred rupees a month. Aasia Bibi was a brick-kiln worker. She probably made less in a month than what you spend on lunch every day. Comparing her to an MIT grad is ludicrous. Tahir Iqbal, a cripple who worked as a mechanic for the PAF spent three years in jail before being poisoned in his jail cell. In 2005 the police locked up five children and three old women under accusations of blasphemy. Another mentally challenged individual spent fourteen years in jail under the blasphemy laws before she was released earlier this year. Imran Latif, the Muslim who was shot in November this year after he was released on bail from prison, was the brother of a shopkeeper.
When you start filling the prisons with children and mentally disabled people, it matters little if they’re Christian or Muslim. Can any brilliant investigative reporter show us anyone who isn’t completely defenseless – in the economic, social, and political sense – in jail under charges of blasphemy? Or are people simply picking on those who can barely afford to send their children to school, let alone fight legal battles in court?
The reason the blasphemy laws are dangerous is because they are used by people with a gun - to justify bullying people who’re too poor to own a gun, or too decent to use one. The blasphemy laws are mighty useful, for going after people (Muslim, Christian, or Hindus) with whom you have a land dispute, or who showed you attitude in the market the other day, or who insulted your mother.
It’s like a little gift from the legislature and the Sunni Ittehad Council to all those poor people venting their frustration on people even poorer and weaker than them. Jobless? Poor? Frustrated? Why don’t you go accuse that neighbor of yours with blasphemy? We promise that no matter how ridiculous, transparent or baseless your allegation is, the courts of Pakistan will make their life a living Hell.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.