Sir, – Colum Kenny claims that “blasphemy is not a problem in Ireland” (“Blasphemy referendum a waste of time and money”, Opinion & Analysis, October 9th).
It may not be a problem now in Ireland but it is a problem for Ireland because our constitutional prohibition of blasphemy is used by Pakistan to help justify its own Sharia-based blasphemy laws.
Since 1986 more than 1,000 Pakistanis have been accused of blasphemy, with almost 50 per cent of the cases involving Christians, Hindus, the Ahmadi Muslim sect and other minorities. The most infamous case is that of Asia Bibi, a Catholic mother-of-five who has spent over eight years in horrific conditions awaiting execution after being convicted on trumped up charges of blasphemy. Another tragic case involves Shagufta Kauser and her wheelchair-using husband Shafqat Emmanuel.
Despite being illiterate, they are both awaiting execution for supposedly sending a blasphemous text to a Muslim cleric.
I would ask anyone with a shred of conscience to support the removal of blasphemy from the Constitution. – Yours, etc,