Islamic Clerics Fight to Keep Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws

Source: CP World

Islamic Clerics Fight to Keep Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws That Persecute Christians: ‘Those Who Insult Muhammad Deserve to Be Killed’

A girl holds a placard as she stands next to an image of the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer during a candlelight vigil in commemoration of Taseer, at the site where he was assassinated a day earlier, in Islamabad, Pakistan January 5, 2011. Five hundred Pakistani religious scholars have warned that anyone who expresses grief over the assassination of the senior ruling party official who opposed the country's blasphemy law could suffer the same fate. Taseer, a liberal politician close to President Asif Ali Zardari, had no day-to-day role in the central government. But his killing in broad daylight at a shopping centre in Islamabad reinforces the sense that the government is incapable of stabilising the Muslim country of 170 million.

A girl holds a placard as she stands next to an image of the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer during a candlelight vigil in commemoration of Taseer, at the site where he was assassinated a day earlier, in Islamabad, Pakistan January 5, 2011. Five hundred Pakistani religious scholars have warned that anyone who expresses grief over the assassination of the senior ruling party official who opposed the country’s blasphemy law could suffer the same fate. Taseer, a liberal politician close to President Asif Ali Zardari, had no day-to-day role in the central government. But his killing in broad daylight at a shopping centre in Islamabad reinforces the sense that the government is incapable of stabilising the Muslim country of 170 million.

As Pakistani lawmakers consider legislation to reform the nation’s corrupt blasphemy laws, Islamic clerics are bashing the government for even considering such an option, and are calling for the release of the murderer of the Punjab governor who advocated for blasphemy reform in 2011.

Asia News reports that 10 Muslim scholars and a former Pakistani judge gathered recently at a “seminar for protection of the prophet’s dignity” and expressed their concern over the proposed legislation that is attempting to add the word “intention” to the nation’s blasphemy law.

Speaking at the seminar was former Pakistani justice Mian Nazir Akhtar, who represents Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who killed Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for referring to Pakistan’s blasphemy law as a “black law.” Akhtar bashed the proposed legislation and asserted that those who insult the Muslim prophet Muhammad deserve to be killed and “sent to hell.”

“The new bill rejects all sayings by the ‘holy prophet,'” Akhtar stated. “When it comes to the sanctity of the prophet, the implementation of all man-made laws become different. Those who insult him have no rights, including no right to live. There is no need for trial or hearings.”

Pakistan’s blasphemy law is often used by Muslims, who consist of over 96 percent of the population, to attack Christians and other religious minorities whom they have a personal issue with.

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