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    Words can bring death sentence in Pakistan?

    Is this true?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/21/op...68548&ei=1&en=

    Dr. Younus Shaikh, a teacher at a medical college, sits in a brick prison here, after being sentenced to death for blasphemy last year. I couldn't interview him because the warden caught me trying to slip into the prison as a visitor (I didn't look like a family member). But the issues are clear.

    During a lecture, Dr. Shaikh digressed and allegedly speculated that Muhammad's parents may not have been Muslims, and that before receiving God's revelations at the age of 40, Muhammad might not have shaved his pubic hair.

    That was a scandalous charge: pious Pakistani men shave their armpits and pubic hair but not their faces. As for the speculation about Muhammad's parents, that was held to be blasphemous because of Koranic verses suggesting that prophets like Abraham (and thus why not others?) could be considered Muslims, in the literal Arabic meaning of the word, which is people who submit to God.

    Dr. Shaikh is one of several hundred people facing execution in Pakistan from this modern Islamic Inquisition. Many are religious minorities who sometimes are sentenced to death simply for using the standard greeting of the Islamic world, "as-salaam aleikum." That means "peace be with you," but militants say the phrase is reserved for Muslims.

    The West is full of irresponsible vituperations about Islam being no more than a religion of violence and hatred. The vitriol amounts to an unrecognizable caricature to anyone who has lived in the Islamic world, enjoyed its hospitality and admired the dignity it confers on its humblest believers. Yet the bottom line is that nobody so distorts, denigrates and defames Islam as radical Muslims themselves, particularly the mullahs who try to have people executed for saying "peace be with you."

    #2
    Let us discuss this State nonsense in Religion affairs.

    Comment


      #3
      Here is the remaining of the article. I am glad that Nick Kristoff is writing to bring this to the international attention, considering how many in Pakistan believe that the western media is biased.
      --------

      “Abdul Rashid Ghazi, a thoughtful, well-educated imam in Islamabad, asked me why the fuss over Dr. Shaikh, one man, when America has killed thousands in Afghanistan. I replied that blasphemy raises a larger concern for Islam itself: like Christianity in the Middle Ages, the Islamic world today suffers from a stultifying closed-mindedness and intellectual rigidity that impoverishes Muslim countries and in some cases endangers their neighbors.
      Fundamentally, Pakistan's biggest problem today is not India but this close-mindedness. Pakistan has an industrious and often entrepreneurial people, a well-educated elite, a modernizing leader who could be another Ataturk — and mullahs who try to block discussion about emerging from the Middle Ages.
      Most Pakistanis would like to see blasphemy laws repealed and seem aghast at the mullahs' effort to cripple the Pakistani economy by banning interest payments. But while the religious parties win less than 5 percent of the votes in elections, they command huge influence because few dare disagree with them publicly.
      One of the few public figures who took on the fanatics is Moinuddin Haider, the interior minister. The radicals responded by shooting his brother to death. So while there are many sensible Pakistanis, few pipe up to counter the weird lies, conspiracy theories and claptrap that ensnare Dr. Shaikh — and all of Pakistan.
      That leads me to how I heard about President Clinton executing the Christians. One of the mullahs I interviewed, Abdul Wahid Qasmi, asked: Since America executes blasphemers, why shouldn't Pakistan?
      After what happened to Daniel Pearl, journalists these days try not to be too impertinent when interviewing Pakistani clerics. But I politely suggested that he might search his belfry for bats.
      Mr. Qasmi still insisted that America burns heretics. As evidence, he plucked an Urdu book and began reading aloud about the Clinton administration burning scores of Americans after they blasphemed Jesus.
      "The leader of the heretics," he said, "was named David Koresh."

      Comment


        #4
        The West is full of irresponsible vituperations about Islam being no more
        than a religion of violence and hatred. The vitriol amounts to an
        unrecognizable caricature to anyone who has lived in the Islamic world,
        enjoyed its hospitality and admired the dignity it confers on its humblest
        believers. Yet the bottom line is that nobody so distorts, denigrates and
        defames Islam as radical Muslims themselves, particularly the mullahs who
        try to have people executed for saying "peace be with you."

        Comment


          #5
          Yes it is true, and it is shameful. I have written about Yunus on this forum before. There have been atleast 3 columns by A. Cowasjee in Dawn on this topic over the last 2 years. I have written to Pakistan Embassay and to the CE office a few times on this. The problem is the Blasphemy law. Musharaff first anonuced a change but then backed off when the 'religious parties' pressured.

          Here is another example of things that make no sense (Ayaz Amir column of June 21, 2002 in dawn)
          ****************************************** http://www.dawn.com/weekly/ayaz/ayaz.htm
          Back to the future
          By Ayaz Amir
          Even in a land renowned for silly edicts, the most recent addition to the statute book, Chief Executive's Order No 15, takes the prize for silliness.

          Even as separate electorates have been abolished and a single or joint electorate restored, this Order makes provision for mentioning voters belonging to the Ahmedi sect in a separate column.

          Anyone suspected or accused of being an Ahmedi can be called upon within the next few days by the concerned returning officer to sign a form affirming the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (upon whom be peace). Should the person so required refuse, he or she will be counted as a non-Muslim voter.

          To Believers inclined to have strong views on the subject, let me say this: this is not a question of Islam or its eternal glory but one of simple logic. One's religious denomination is relevant when there are separate voting lists for Muslims and non-Muslims. It is irrelevant in the case of common lists wherein the only relevant denominator is Pakistani citizenship.

          So why has the military government impaled itself on this stake? Only to oblige some religious parties which were making an issue of this thing. Islam gains nothing as a result, Islam not being so weak a faith as to stand in need of such gimmicks. Only we collectively are made to look silly.

          When in joint voting lists people of all faiths are lumped together (and a good thing that they are), what does it matter, and how does it subvert Islam, if voters of the Ahmedi sect also find themselves in the same category? Not that this is an earthshaking development. But it makes you wonder why we in Pakistan are so prone to tilt at windmills and so ready to make an issue of non-issues.
          .......

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Abdali:
            The West is full of irresponsible vituperations about Islam being no more
            than a religion of violence and hatred. The vitriol amounts to an
            unrecognizable caricature to anyone who has lived in the Islamic world,
            enjoyed its hospitality and admired the dignity it confers on its humblest
            believers. Yet the bottom line is that nobody so distorts, denigrates and
            defames Islam as radical Muslims themselves, particularly the mullahs who
            try to have people executed for saying "peace be with you."
            Well said! I could not have said it any better.

            [This message has been edited by OldLahori (edited June 21, 2002).]

            Comment


              #7
              Oldlahori…not him, it is Nick Kristoff who said that. It is from the article posted above. Just to clarify.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by NYAhmadi:
                Oldlahori…not him, it is Nick Kristoff who said that. It is from the article posted above. Just to clarify.
                Well from Abdali's posts in the pasts, it sounded like something he would have said. Anyway, my apologies Abdali if you meant it differently.

                Comment


                  #9
                  From my interactions with Pakistanis in America, I have yet to find one person who would support such punishment for exprssing one's views.

                  But, why are such ghastly things being allowed by Pakistani rulers?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by NYAhmadi:
                    Oldlahori…not him, it is Nick Kristoff who said that. It is from the article posted above. Just to clarify.
                    You couldn't keep your trap shut..

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by OldLahori:
                      Well from Abdali's posts in the pasts, it sounded like something he would have said. Anyway, my apologies Abdali if you meant it differently.
                      Actually the author was echoing my thoughts, the only good in this horror story is that so far no one has been executed and I hope no one does.

                      [This message has been edited by Abdali (edited June 21, 2002).]

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Abdali, I wouldn’t have noticed, the only thing that caught my eye was (#1) I read NYTimes every morning…and (#2) there were some words which you couldn’t possibly spell (let alone know the meanings of).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by NYAhmadi:
                          Abdali, I wouldn’t have noticed, the only thing that caught my eye was (#1) I read NYTimes every morning…and (#2) there were some words which you couldn’t possibly spell (let alone know the meanings of).
                          I suggest you stop seeing others through the wrong end of the scope. I have no intention of playing ABCD especially with the wrong complexion. Some desis overdo when they try to be gora amreekan unfortunately you fall in that category. When push comes to shove these same goras will stick one in you like they did to that pook sikh.

                          Anyway that’s beside the point, I can pull out some of your posts and make fun of your angreji but that would be wasting bandwidth especially on Friday.

                          FYI Without knowing I would not have posted the excerpt but then with your level of.... Oh well you get the picture.

                          P.S: There are other ways to vent your frustration try different approach next time.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Abcdefgali, you are getting very testy man. Try to be concise and clear and to the point. No need to feel so inferior. Gora Kala all the same.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hey me desi and you amerikan your angreji says it all. Hope this was straight to the point...


                              [This message has been edited by Abdali (edited June 21, 2002).]

                              Comment

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