Extreme is the new moderate

Published: September 8, 2012
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The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co 
in Lahore 
saroop.ijaz@tribune.com.pk

The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co in Lahore saroop.ijaz@tribune.com.pk

In a “Monty Python” episode, a young soldier approaches his Colonel and expresses the desire to quit the army because he signed up for water-skiing and travelling and not for the fighting or killing. Upon which the Colonel inquires, “Watkins, are you a pacifist?” The young soldier, Watkins, replies with a sincere straight face, “No, sir. I’m not a pacifist, sir. I’m a coward.

This might seem as an oblique and insensitive way of approaching the blasphemy law debate in Pakistan. Yet, this is the feeling that one sometimes get about the liberals and moderates in Pakistan when they engage in this debate and perhaps they could benefit from young Watkins’s humiliating candour. However, a recent incident requires revisiting this impression and allows for the possibility that perhaps not all of the silence and fuzziness can be explained by cowardice. The cleric that framed the child, Rimsha Masih, in the shameful episode, has now been arrested and charged with blasphemy law also. There was some expression of jubilation on this perceived victory. Never mind, that the charges on Rimsha still remain; there is also a broader implication of this. The irony of those who oppose the blasphemy law and yet rejoice when a cleric is given “a taste of his own medicine” is obvious. Similarly, when Governor Salmaan Taseer was assassinated, there were calls by well-intentioned liberals that a “fatwa” be obtained from “moderate” clerics against those who incited Mumtaz Qadri to commit the murder. The fact that they are strengthening and lending credence to the very institution that caused the murder in the first place did not occur to them. The upshot of these examples is that now all of us (liberals, conservatives, moderately religious, etc) think in the language of the religious fanatic.

HL Mencken’s writings about the “Scopes Trial” (also known as the “Monkey Trial”) where the right of teaching  “evolution” to high school children was under attack by Catholic laws of the State of Tennessee and the religious community, who felt offended, might have value. Describing the community of the town of Dayton, where the Trial was going on and the jury selection, he wrote: “In brief, this is a strictly Christian Community, and such is its notion of fairness, justice and due process of law… Its people are simply unable to imagine a man who rejects the literal authority of the Bible. The most they can conjure up, straining until they are red in the face, is a man who is in error about the meaning of this or that text. Thus one accused of heresy among them is like one accused of boiling his grandmother to make soap in Maryland…. Such a jury, in the legal sense, may be fair. That is, it may be willing to hear the evidence against him before bumping him off. But it would certainly be spitting into the eye of reason to call it impartial.” Replace a couple of words to Islamise the passage and this is about Aasia Bibi (who it seems has been forgotten already), and Rimsha now. Feel free to be depressed by the fact that this was written in 1925. We, today, have no notion of fairness and justice outside of religion it seems. Returning to Mencken again on the mindset of the jury, “…Fundamentalist mind, running in a single rut for fifty years, is now quite unable to comprehend dissent from its basic superstitions, or to grant any common honesty, or even decency, to those who reject them.”

This tendency of using religious thought and rhetoric is not restricted to the blasphemy law debate. The Supreme Court feels the need to refer to religious injunctions in almost all important matters and to affirm its integrity and independence, the Army chief cannot address the troops without referring to “Jihad”. On a separate note, the fascination with what Mr Jinnah would have wanted or said on an issue is clearly religious in form, even if not in substance.

A persuasive reason given by some for deliberately using religious justifications against religious extremism is that in the given circumstances, it is the only language that anyone is prepared to listen. It is perfectly understandable and makes some practical sense. However, when a “moderate” religious cleric or view is adopted by the liberals as a model of tolerance, then we have already conceded an “extreme” as a starting point. To silkily enter the debate under the pretense of agreeing with religious point of views and then attempt to steer it towards moderation is perhaps well-intentioned, however, it is apologetic and more importantly, it will not work. The faithful ally, the moderate cleric might turn out to be not-so-moderate on a different issue and hence, the liberal might find himself/herself doing constant cleric-hopping and very soon run out of clerics. So, the liberal or moderate would not only eventually lose but also in the process would have enhanced the credibility of the clerical positions.

The argument against the blasphemy law has to be made outside of religion and is quite simple. All of us have a right to be offended by things and even free to consider it a “sin” and wish for someone to burn in eternal hell fire, as long as we do not act to expedite the process. The state has no business or moral justification for prioritising one person’s sensibilities over another’s freedom and criminalising it. Hence, blasphemy laws should be repealed. This seems incredibly naïve and does not have enough strategy behind it. Both these objections are true. However, the alternative is much worse. Even if the moderate forces lose in both cases, a distinct possibility, there is honesty in only one position. The desire for avoiding a confrontation although a quaint one is fairly meaningless, there already is a confrontation and we don’t get a say in the matter. A middle point or a compromise is just a face-saving term for surrender and to add insult, a surrender that does not guarantee mercy. No recourse to religious scholars and precedent is required for fighting for a child with Down syndrome persecuted for blasphemy, common human decency should be sufficient.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (61)

  • Meera Ghani
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:36PM

    Wish it worked like that, how I wish common human decency was enough. But in today’s Pakistan it isn’t.

    Recommend

  • Xcaret
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:42PM

    Well said sir, humanity and respect of other religions is all that is required.

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  • sabi
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:50PM

    A secular state need blasphemy law to some extant in order to give protection to minorities religious sentiments where as present Pakistan with a hostile majority doesn’t need it because only a mad person will hurt the religiuos sentiments of widely intollerant majority.The present blasphemy law of pakistan doesn’t prohibts majaorty muslims to insults the religious feelings of minorities.This shows clearly the motives behind this law and that is, exploitation of religion for personel intrests of some powerfull groups.

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  • sabi
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:04PM

    Constitution is a code of conduct for a nation if a nation fails to apply the code of conducts then wisdomd says something is seriously wrong with code of conducts as it appears in the case of Pakistan Where constitution has badly failed to unite much pluralistic society. There is a serious need for change in constitution barbaric ammenments mainly intoduced by a dictaor for hhis personel vendeta.

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  • observer
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:14PM

    Sir,

    Once you concede that a group of people are a race apart in one way, you will have to go on conceding the same in many other ways.

    Germination will lead to fruition, via other stages.

    Recommend

  • Tahir
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:14PM

    This dude talks of a lot of sense. But majority of the people really don’t want this sanity. They are not even ready to buy such sense.

    What we fail to realize is that whatever is happening today, it is supposed to happen. The seeds of hatred are nourished and groomed now, which were planted back in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Now we have a whole new generation full of hate that was indoctrinated and fed with this hatred in the textbooks.

    Repealing blasphemy laws is quite far away. When one sees this attitude that you are innocent and somehow the whole world conspires against you always, then there’s very little hope.

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  • Amit
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:16PM

    amazing article! you have finally said what the others were shying away from

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  • BlackJack
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:30PM

    @sabi:
    A secular state need blasphemy law to some extant (sic) in order to give protection to minorities religious sentiments.
    First, with all respect, that makes no sense – the whole concept of a secular state is to do away with the idea of majority and minority by placing them on equal footing. Second, most states (including Pakistan) have laws against hurting the religious beliefs of any community through malicious intent. Section 295 and section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code deal specifically with this.
    Section 295: Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class.
    Section 295A: Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
    Both these are more than sufficient to maintain respect for other faiths, you don’t need a blasphemy law.

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  • mateen
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:31PM

    Quite true, liberals instead of playing at the pitch set by fundamentalists, must have clear stand on blasphemy laws, human decency, common sense etc are sufficient grounds to repeal such draconian laws. Wish we have amongst us politicians like Salman Taseer.

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  • zero
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:41PM

    “Similarly, when Governor Salmaan Taseer was assassinated, there were calls by well-intentioned liberals that a “fatwa” be obtained from “moderate” clerics against those who incited Mumtaz Qadri to commit the murder.”: If at all you are a lawyer and understand the rationale of justice, should you acknowledge that demanding punishment for a criminal is not a crime. we all want robbers, looters and murderers to be punished and that’s the basis of justice.

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  • Sayyed Mehdi
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:47PM

    The state has no business or moral justification for prioritising one person’s sensibilities over another’s freedom

    Brilliantly put.

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  • Raw is War
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:56PM
  • Z.Khan
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:58PM

    “common human decency should be sufficient”. Though just six words but worth millions. However million dollar question is, given the current atmosphere in country, how to ensure common human decency. It stems from common sense and other day one narrated joke a Pakistani delivering a test lecture when hinted by his mentor to use common sense said in front of all, “sir that I do not have”

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  • Salman Arshad
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:08AM

    You sir deserve a standing ovation!

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  • sabi
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:12AM

    Blak jack
    I agree with you infact word blasphemy looks a little inapproperiate.What i mean to say is a secular govt can only defend the religiuos sentiments of all group with special refference to weaks.
    Regards.

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  • Parvez
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:27AM

    Good as always. You have eloquently explained how it is and how it should be. Love to hear your take on why it is not as it should be.

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  • suraj
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:02AM

    “…Fundamentalist mind, running in a single rut for fifty years, is now quite unable to comprehend dissent from its basic superstitions, or to grant any common honesty, or even decency, to those who reject them.”
    — well said…

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  • peace
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:17AM

    brilliant

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  • John B
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:27AM

    Repeal and repeal it now. Opportunities may not come again and Taseer and Bhatti will soon be forgotten.

    The cowardice and lack of decency of every member of NA in not introducing a bill for debateRecommend

  • Mirza
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:47AM

    You have said it what most were afraid to do. Thanks a lot for the brilliant Op Ed!
    In a civilized world of today there is no room for such dark laws imposed by a military usurper and the worst ruler of Pakistani history. Why these kind of “additions” and mutilations of constitution is acceptable to all the courts and institutions? Not a single law imposed by the dictators has been shot down in Pakistan.

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  • Amjad
    Sep 9, 2012 - 5:12AM

    blasphemy law is a disgrace to humanity, rather a crime against humanity & must be repealed.

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  • Selvam
    Sep 9, 2012 - 8:19AM

    Correct. All religion should be limited to the confines of one person’s being, not even to it household. It is a personal matter, and internal jihad for the passionate’s amongst us.
    It is actually real religious blasphemy to presume that Allah (or Jesus or Jehowah) cannot manage and needs assistance from any other person be it a civilian, a Taliban or a government appointed functionary. That is the ultimate Arrogance, and reveals a big Ego with little Surrender capacity. Those kind of people should not lead any group at all as they prove to be unfit.
    A secular society means that everybody only minds his/her own religious business, not others.

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  • sadhana
    Sep 9, 2012 - 8:21AM

    The blasphemy law gives the man on the street and man in the mosque power over those more powerful and rich than him. It protects the good name of the Prophet. So what are you talking about?

    The elite always wields power not reason to get the upper hand. So why apply reason now when it suits the elite? So again what are you talking about?Recommend

  • Sep 9, 2012 - 9:26AM

    Wonderful article.

    That guy who framed the Christian girl SHOULD NOT be tried under Blasphemy Laws. That defeats the purpose of opposing Blasphemy laws. He can be tried under normal attempt to Murder related laws.

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  • Babar
    Sep 9, 2012 - 9:31AM

    That is what was needed to be said. Brave words.

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  • Haris Chaudhry
    Sep 9, 2012 - 9:47AM

    Blasphemy Law MUST be repealed ! Unless we have the conviction and the strength to stand for what we believe is right, we will always be sidelined.

    Blasphemy law has no place in a civilised country.

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  • Sep 9, 2012 - 10:38AM

    Sir, I agree with most of your points in the article and it gives very nice starting points for seculars to start with. Instead of making secularism as a kind of blind-religious faiths, it should be based on the fundamental reasoning and humanity.
    **I personally disagree with this**: *The state has no business or moral justification for prioritising one person’s sensibilities over another’s freedom*
    Religion and religious people are facts and they are social phenomena and we can’t deny something by calling it a stupidity and ignorance and hope it will vanish. And it is not fair and proper way to see the reaction of any religious person to a blasphemous event as a hypocritical and based on some material or identity interests. I think these reactions and emotions are from the same place as those reactions and emotions in response of an insult of a beloved and respectful parent of someone else.
    What I want to say is that it is not ok to give people free hand to insult anyone and anything on name of freedom of speech. This is not done even in the most claimed secular western countries and we can observe hundreds of people suing each on other on daily basis. Recommend

  • wonderer
    Sep 9, 2012 - 10:50AM

    Liberals, moderates and cowards exist in every country and every society; they have been present in Pakistan all along. The reasons why such unthinkable horrors are taking place in the present day Pakistan are to be found in other factors. There were times in Pakistan when things were not as bad. It would be helpful to look at what is unique about Pakistan as compared to other countries, and other Muslim countries. I am too small a fry to venture into this process but I know religion, or the way it is practiced and propagated in Pakistan has something to do with it. Can you imagine a cleric doing what he did to Rimsha in any other country? Is it not shocking that a criminal like Qadri is showered with rose petals by, of all the people, Lawyers? Is it not surprising to see the Judiciary looking the other way when the nation suffers daily rape?

    Zarra Sochiye.

    It is sad indeed to see the writer reach the conclusion that “……..common human decency should be sufficient.” Isn’t that the most rare commodity in Pakistan today?

    Zarra Sochiye.

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  • Observer
    Sep 9, 2012 - 10:51AM

    @BlackJack:

    “Both these are more than sufficient to maintain respect for other faiths, you don’t need a blasphemy law.”

    That is a very disturbing statement. What you stated would be quite acceptable if you say “respect for the rights of people of other faiths” to have their beliefs”. No one must be forced to have respect for a faith, ideoolgy or belief.

    I hope you see the subtle yet very fundamental difference.

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  • Feroz
    Sep 9, 2012 - 11:13AM

    Sir, no matter how round about is your argument it says clearly that using Religion as a tool to homogenize and anchor a nation poses risks that it will be used as an umbrella by hostile, deviant and criminal forces to shelter under. Result shows that the result of that strategy is a lot worse than anticipated. Blasphemy Law as extended from British rule was not a discriminatory law, the amendments introduced by a Dictator was a payback to Jihadi forces for backing and extending his rule. Once a poison is injected into our veins it will break down the immunity system (secular democratic forces) and affect the nervous system(mindset). Subsequent treatment can only be very expensive and painful too.

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  • Toticalling
    Sep 9, 2012 - 11:23AM

    @Mirza: I read your post with great interest, but your emphasis on blaming it all on a military dictatorship does not stand with reason. Zia died nearly 30 years ago, Since then the country had democrats, a liberal dictator etc and the law still is around us. Say it the way it is: The society is going in the wrong direction. Rimsha will remain ‘protected’ in an undisclosed location. Is that also the fault of military dictator?

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  • Sindhu
    Sep 9, 2012 - 11:31AM

    Thankyou so much Saroop Ejaz for not mincing your words.This is EXACTLY what I feel.Mullahs and clerics should not be taken seriously.Recommend

  • Qasim
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:01PM

    While noble and worthy, don’t believe complete repeal is an option in the current sentimental environment. It would be best to ease the process with immediate amendments enforcing strict checks/balances e.g. impartial investigation into the accuser’s background, political/mafia affiliations before the FIR is registered or someone is taken into custody. Most of the accusations are fabricated with malafide intents such as land grab and/or personal disputes.

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  • Sep 9, 2012 - 12:15PM

    A brave act of reflecting his mind on the cruel law .
    If it can sensitize some minds the purpose will be be partially served.
    If such article is published in Urdu/ Sindhi / local language also the publisher shall be doing the contribution for inviting the debate and introspection.

    A great article.

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  • Abu Shaheer
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:08PM

    Blasphemy law should not be repealed. The state has every right and business to intervene for the safety and well-being of its citizens. The blasphemy law should be compared with the laws against denying holocaust in France and Germany and the laws against burning cross in the US. Burning cross in the US is considered a hate crime and comes under the Federal jurisdiction. I would suggest that the author should go to France and Germany and try to write a column denying Holocaust and see what happens. His arguments about every one has right to be offended will not hold much weight. Dishonoring Quran, Islam, and the Prophet should be considered as a crime in Pakistan which has been founded on the name of Islam. All of its citizens, Muslim or Non-Muslim should be aware of this law and not try to violate it. However, this law should not be abused as was the case in many instances. T

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  • abhi
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:31PM

    i can see one positivity here. The mulla who actually put the pages in to the bag of christian girl did it knowingly, it means he himself doesn’t believe it to be any sin or wrong in the eyes of God, he was just trying to take advantage of a croocked law.

    Good that at least mullahs are not as stupid as they want everybody to be. May be after some time general public will also understand this.

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  • ahmed41
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:58PM

    “——. However, when a “moderate” religious cleric or view is adopted by the liberals as a model of tolerance, then we have already conceded an “extreme” as a starting point. To silkily enter the debate under the pretense of agreeing with religious point of views and then attempt to steer it towards moderation is perhaps well-intentioned, however, it is apologetic and more importantly, it will not work. The faithful ally, the moderate cleric might turn out to be not-so-moderate on a different issue and hence, the liberal might find himself/herself doing constant cleric-hopping and very soon run out of clerics. So, the liberal or moderate would not only eventually lose but also in the process would have enhanced the credibility of the clerical positions._

    Mark the words :”—-it will not work—”
    Therefore, the clerics of all hues, from extremist to moderate, should simply and bluntly be told : ” Please shut up, you do not know the social and political impact of your
    views ; get off the back of the nation ”

    Recommend

  • Khalq e Khuda
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:27PM

    Exactly! I have been advocating the very same thing to fanatics who support blasphemy law. If someone abuses my parents, I can punch them in the face but is it alright to kill that person?
    Most parts of the world have overcome this by introducing laws against hate speech which incur fines and imprisonments but people here fail to understand the concept..

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  • Truth Detector
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:33PM

    There is an Urdu saying: “Jungle ma more nacha , kis nay dekha”. Translation : If a peacock dances in the jungle, no one notices it. This saying comes to mind when I read all these articles against extremism, bigotry etc on the Pakistan’s English news sites and in English media/newspapers etc. Vast majority of Pakistanis read Urdu only, they barely speak, understand and read very few words of English. So, unless these articles are published in Urdu media and newspapers, they are nothing more than an effort to satisfy intellectual impulse of someone or to project themselves as moderate and liberals outside the country. Most of us who read & understand English agree with the substance of such articles which is anti-bigotry and anti-extremism. So, unless this message is conveyed to vast majority of ordinary Urdu-reading audiences, it is mostly( not all) exercise in van.

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  • Raza Khan
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:43PM

    Zia ul Haq legacy of destruction is still ripe & nobody can undo it!

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  • Ali Wali
    Sep 9, 2012 - 5:04PM

    When Quran says, Your religion for you and mine for me, it doesn’t need a Mulla’s interpretation that God does gives everyone a choice to follow any religion they want. I think it is about the time we read Quran for ourselves, and shun people who need controversies for their very existence. Secondly can these Mullas tell us why Prophet SAWW didn’t punish the old lady who was regularly throwing rubbish on Him?

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  • Banday
    Sep 9, 2012 - 5:11PM

    Ijaz sb, despite all the efforts of religious right, multi-ethnic nature of the demographics has prevailed in the political orientation of electoral process in Pakistan. It means that popular elections based upon adult enfranchise will never be a preferred option for the guardians of our ideological frontiers. Liberals can create space for their point of view in a continuous electoral democracy only…

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  • Sep 9, 2012 - 6:24PM

    There is so much in this article that one needs to ponder over it for hours before attempting to say anything about it. Fascinating and brilliant is all one can say at first reading.

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  • Boss
    Sep 9, 2012 - 6:29PM

    Veena-ism is the most pluralistic you can get! =(

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  • Truth Detector
    Sep 9, 2012 - 7:31PM

    Even slightly critical comments on Saroop’s article are not posted. This is my last post on ET. I am stopping visit this website from now.

    I hope ET goes down the drain soon.

    Bye

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  • Anonymous
    Sep 9, 2012 - 7:46PM

    Sir,
    As always your article is best of week. Yes we are coward that we cannot say loud enough that religion has no role in state. In the beginning as appeasement to mullahs now due to fear.
    Thanks

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  • Anonymous
    Sep 9, 2012 - 7:58PM

    @Truth Detector:
    I agree. I have said this several times that this should be translated and at least printed in express Urdu. If copyright is waived many regional newspapers will be happy to publish that.

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  • derailedpakistan
    Sep 9, 2012 - 8:21PM

    Saroop,
    I left Pakistan in 1994 and have been there just once for a brief visit in 2009. The main reason I had left was the suffocation i felt with the way country was run and the majority of people behaved. I was disgusted by the Mullahs that were not only in the mosques but every where even when they were not bearded or uneducated. I used to get appalled by the way they will consider themselves to be superior than non muslims and how they would tell people that only Muslims are going to go to heaven. More recently I have heard interior minister saying on TV, right after his own party member Taseer was gunned down, that he will shoot also if anyone disrespects the prophet, and the so called Oxford educated former cricketer and now politician telling people that west should understand that we muslims should not be offended by them as we take our religion differently than they do, while at the same time saying that he “hates” salman rushdie. His party has even invited aamir liaquat to join them and he is the guy who has openly said that salman rushdie should be murdered. All this makes me suffocated even now when I live thousands of miles away from pakistan, but i guess deep down inside I still wish that pakistan was a more sophisticated country. However, i know that that is not going to happen anytime soon if ever. The more I read about what allama iqbal had done when the book rangeela rasul was published the more sad i felt that even our founding fathers were like those lawyers who praised the murderer of Taseer and blamed the victim. Muslims dont even realize how they are making a fool of themselves by refusing to give up this delusion that their faith is going to solve their problems, it is their obsession with the faith that is keeping them stuck in dark ages!

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  • varuag
    Sep 9, 2012 - 9:22PM

    may your tribe grow

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  • Pradeep
    Sep 9, 2012 - 9:51PM

    Saroop Ijaz… you are one of the few people that I have read who argues directly about the inhumane nature of the law. Most people of ‘liberal’ bent talk about misuse of law and even talk about how Islam does not have any examples of Blasphemy laws. They never talk about how this law is fundamentally flawed from a human decency perspective and from a fundamental right perspective.

    You continue to impress with your articles. I wish we had 10 Saroop Ijazes in India to talk sense into the Indian people.

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  • Gul Bukhari
    Sep 10, 2012 - 7:26AM

    Saroop,
    Am at a loss for words to express my joy at your brilliantly argued piece. Amongst the ‘liberals’ there are indeed very few left willing not to argue within the framework or parameters set by religion..and that is a grave mistake. Indeed cleric hopping is a losing game – and the moderate forces should be able to see where such a strategy has led them over the past few decades. Essentially, one cannot argue with beliefs held to be absolute truths. A frontal assault of reason may not be the ‘pragmatic’ approach, but it’s at least the more honest, and to date, untried one. The ‘pragmatic’ approach of co-opting religious discourse is a proven disaster.

    Finally, thank you. Perhaps your voice will encourage more of us to try and reset the terms of debate.

    Gul

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  • Observer
    Sep 10, 2012 - 9:07AM

    @Ali Wali:

    I am afraid you have either not read the article or not understood Saroop Ijaz’s very important and critical observation: “The argument against the blasphemy law has to be made outside of religion”.

    You will not find answers by debating with the Islamists on “proper” interpretation. They will offer you very convincing counter-arguments to support their views.

    Let’s take some examples based on your comments:

    “When Quran says, Your religion for you and mine for me, it doesn’t need a Mulla’s interpretation that God does gives everyone a choice to follow any religion they want.”

    On the above, the Islamists will rightly tell you that the prophet said the above in disgust on not being able to convince the unbelievers to convert when they told him to convert to their faith instead.

    “Secondly can these Mullas tell us why Prophet SAWW didn’t punish the old lady who was regularly throwing rubbish on Him?””

    On the above, the Islamists will again rightly tell you that the above incident has no reliable basis in the sunnah or the hadiths and is thus folklore without proof.

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  • gp65
    Sep 10, 2012 - 11:06AM

    @Abu Shaheer: “I would suggest that the author should go to France and Germany and try to write a column denying Holocaust and see what happens”

    What will happen is that his column will not be printed. No unruly mobs will show up at his door and try to lynch him and his family. Please do not create false equivalence. Also do you see the irony? Germany is NOT a Jewish majority country. In fact it was responsible for holocaust and has taken ownership for its crime and prevents people from denying it happened. Thus the laws against holocaust denial are meant for protection of minority not majority. If Pakistan wants to institute laws against denying the genocide of BEngalis, I am sure no-one would object.

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  • gp65
    Sep 10, 2012 - 11:14AM

    @Raza Khan: “Zia ul Haq legacy of destruction is still ripe & nobody can undo it!”

    Is it Zia’s legacy or Jinnah’s? IT was he who called for a Direct Action Day because he believed Hindus and Muslims could not live together.

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  • Rashid Hasan
    Sep 10, 2012 - 12:37PM

    Mr. Saroop ijaz,

    Cannot commend you enough for having courage to write this in today’s Pakistan.
    What a fine fine piece of writing! Kudos to you.

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  • Rashid Hasan
    Sep 10, 2012 - 12:41PM

    @Salman Arshad:
    Very well said. One of the best articles I have read in years.
    Kudos Saroop sahb for writing it.

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  • I am Sam
    Sep 10, 2012 - 1:25PM

    Dear Mr. Ijaz

    Pakistan is in a time-machine with the dial stuck and pointing to 600 AD. Good luck trying to take Pakistan kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

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  • S Siddiqi
    Sep 11, 2012 - 12:49AM

    Common human decency precludes commiting acts of blasphemy. Period.

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  • Shauk@t
    Sep 11, 2012 - 1:07AM

    No, Sir. I know not decency. I’m a coward. We need socretes. You are the breed. Bravo! I’m not that innocent.

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  • Burhan Uddin
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:14PM

    Its very fascinating that we want respect for other religions(so called), but denying our religion which is a true religion, we demand the same from other sectors as well, let respect each other’s faith and beliefs, the trial should be fair for both either Rimsha OR Jadoon.

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  • Badu Ja
    Oct 2, 2012 - 5:45PM

    Great article, should be taught in schools

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