Blasphemy law comes under discussion

Published: January 19, 2012

Blasphemy -‘the legislation of morality’, laws unanimously thought of as politically and legally empowering the clergy.

ISLAMABAD: 

Breaking the self-imposed month-long silence, Kuch Khaas’ Socrates Café held a bustling discussion on the blasphemy law on Tuesday evening.

As its name suggests, the café provides an open and friendly platform where anything can be discussed. This particular discussion was moderated by former FM89 quirky DJ Hassan Kilde Bajwa, notorious for diplomatically bringing up pertinent issues on radio.

With the backdrop of Khaas’ relaxed atmosphere and Bajwa’s charisma, the discussion provided an open forum to discuss controversial issues. Though no definitive answer or solution to the controversial law was provided, participants walked away from the discussion satisfied that they were given a chance to express their opinions.

The discussion opened with blasphemy being defined as ‘the legislation of morality’ before turning to the laws themselves which were unanimously thought of as politically and legally empowering the clergy. The law’s basis was also discussed as stemming from a hadith where a Jewish convert persecuted his daughter for speaking against the Prophet. The fundamental problem of conveying one’s religious beliefs as a Muslim without blaspheming was also discussed. The ‘Muslim’ identity was compared to capitalism that is sometimes so finely ingrained in society, that questioning someone’s beliefs becomes about questioning their own identity and perceiving it as blasphemy. The debate settled on the law’s of pitting two opposing sides and sets of beliefs against each other while siding with one party, resulting in unfair trials.

Previous sessions have discussed education, sovereignty and even singing in the shower. The sessions are normally held every two weeks at Kuch Khaas.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Hassan K Bajwa
    Feb 12, 2012 - 1:53PM

    It;s wonderful to be mentioned in such a positive manner in this report but i feel i must make a slight correction.
    The discussion was never about the blasphemy laws of Paksitan in particular. We have always endeavored to keep Socrates Cafe as apolitical as possible, focusing our discussion more on the concepts and principles behind the great issues faced by humanity today.
    In much the same way the discussion in this session of Socrates was focused on defining blasphemy, questioning where the line between faith and blasphemy lies, discussing whether any segment of any society even has the moral right to claim exclusivity in determining what is blasphemy.
    many societies through the age3s have sought to enact and implement laws against blasphemy and the discussion in Socrates was not so much about the current state of blasphemy laws in Pakistan as it was about the basic practicality and morality of enacting such laws in the first place regardless of which society and which religion such laws seek to protect.
    Ultimately (as in the wont with all Socrates Cafe discussions) we reached no conclusion save that all participants left questioning whether it is even a realistic expectation for blasphemy laws to ever
    fulfil their basic purpose.

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