Friday, October 12, 2012

Pakistan and the global blasphemy law

The miscreants who attacked a Hindu temple in Karachi to prove their religious bona fides have been charged under Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code. It is about time. Now let us also consider the state of that forced minority the faithful love to hate, i.e. the Ahmedis. Who is going to bell the cat and charge the passport offices of the country under Section 295-A for routinely abusing this community?

The state, with deliberate and malicious intent, through words written describes the founder of the Ahmaddiya Jamaat as an ‘imposter’ and a ‘liar’. The state must realise that it cannot have it both ways. It cannot declare an entire community non-Muslim and then deny them the protections that are granted to other religions. If Ahmedis constitute a religious minority, then its founder falls squarely within the ambit and scope of Section 295-A. Ahmedis may be considered non-Muslim, but does that mean they are to be considered non-citizens as well?

A new constitution needed

The fire in Mardan’s Church had not been doused when Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, our senior federal minister and a member of the ‘secular’ and ‘non-violent’ Awami National Party (ANP), put a bounty on the head of the filmmaker and called upon al Qaeda and the Taliban to carry out the act. In return, he has been indemnified by the Taliban against all future attacks. The ANP is making a lot of noise trying to distance itself from Bilour’s statement but the truth is that you cannot fool all the people, all the time.

US Constitution and the Anti-Islam film

(Since writing this I have changed my view regarding the legal position under the US Constitution)

Originally published in Daily Times on September 17, 2012

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

The film Innocence of Muslims has to rank as the most terribly imbecilic and ridiculous attempt to malign the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to date. It is a deeply offensive film, which has caused genuine anguish to not just religious Muslims all over the world but all reasonable people who have read a thing or two about the history of Islam.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) was a symbol of tolerance and one of the earliest advocates of human rights in our collective history. Long before the age of enlightenment, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) spoke of religious freedom and the rights of women. His charter of Medina was an unprecedented legal document for its time, practically giving the city of Yathrib and its tribes a semblance of civil government based on the rights and obligations of its dwellers who — regardless of their faith — were declared one ummah or community. It is therefore a travesty to malign such a historic personage whose contribution to not just the Muslims but the world is unparalleled.