Ahmadiyya Times

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Faith and common sense: Truth is never extremist

A mother of five, who belonged to a minority religion, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy this week, which is also the first such conviction of a woman. The womans case dates back to 2009, when she was asked to fetch water, while working in the fields.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: Trading Markets
Asia Pulse Data Source | November 12, 2010

The religion of Islam, as I understand it, lays great emphasis on all human beings being equal. Some of that teaching managed to get fudged because of living in the subcontinent where the Hindu faith does not consider the entire human race as equals and is divided in a caste system. Despite living in Pakistan, and for 63 years now, there continue to be Muslims here, who believe that allowing people belonging to minority faiths to touch their utensils and food items renders them impure. One has never heard a fatwa against such behaviour.

A mother of five, who belonged to a minority religion, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy this week, which is also the first such conviction of a woman. The womans case dates back to 2009, when she was asked to fetch water, while working in the fields. A group of Muslim women labourers objected saying that she could not touch the water bowl. A few days later, some women went to a local cleric and alleged that she had made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The cleric went to the local police and opened an investigation. She was arrested and prosecuted under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries the death penalty.

The blasphemy law, in my opinion, has been misused with a serious fallout both at home and abroad. It is the easiest way to take revenge. Both the founders of Islam and the country did not believe in persecution of minorities. The Prophet (SAW) forgave even those who were the most disrespectful to him. He has given us that role model to follow. Unfortunately, the blasphemy sometimes is used as a tool of persecution to settle other scores that have nothing to do with religion. There is an urgent need to review these laws. Even on occasions when there have been acquittals on blasphemy charges, those acquitted have been forced into hiding or exile for fear of attacks by extremists. Some have been killed while on trial.

Speaking out against injustice and demanding justice for all is what differentiates the courageous from the ordinary. Arundhathi Roy, in her own inimitable way, continues to seek out and speak the truth in our neighbouring India. In the face of intense criticism from Bharatiya Janata Party and Bajrang Dal, a militant Hindu group, Arundhati wrote about the Kashmir issue this week as it deserves, with objectivity and truthfulness. The once solid consensus on Kashmir suddenly seems a little fragile, she thinks. She admonishes President Barack Obama for not mentioning Kashmir during his recent visit to India, despite calling for its resolution just before he became President. Just in the last few months 111 people have been killed, more than 3,000 wounded and over 1,000 arrested. For three years in a row, the Kashmiri stone pelters, mostly teenagers, have been on the streets protesting what they see as Indias violent occupation.

According to Arundhati: They dont seem to have leaders or belong to a political party. They represent themselves. And suddenly, the second largest army in the world doesnt know what to do. The Indian government doesnt know who to negotiate with and many Indians are realising that they have been lied to for decades.

India and Pakistan, if they are to claim their positions in this world as emerging, economically viable and democratic countries, will have to put their houses in order. They can listen to Bulley Shah, who wrote this so many years ago:

You have learnt so much from reading thousands of books,
Have you ever read whats inside you?
You go sit in mosques and temples,
Have you ever visited your own souls?
You, who are always busy fighting Satan,
Have you ever fought your own evil intentions?

The writer is a freelance columnist.

Read original post here: Agent Provocateur – Truth is never extremist


Filed under: Blasphemy, Pakistan, persecution

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