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Pakistan’s mad blasphemy law: clerics call for the death of Sherry Rehman

BRITISH-educated Sherry Rehman, a journalist and a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, is reportedly refusing to leave Pakistan, despite renewed calls by fanatical Muslim clerics to have her killed.

Sherry Rehman: Muslim fanatics want her dead.

Rehman incurred the wrath of Muslim fundamentalists when she called for changes in the blasphemy law. Last November, she submitted a private bill in Parliament that sought to drop the mandatory death sentence for blasphemy.

According to this report, Interior Minister Rehman Malik advised the former information minister to leave the country if she wanted to keep safe from religious extremists.

A source last week told Pakistan Today that Malik telephoned Sherry, telling her to leave the country at the earliest opportunity because:

Fanatics are hell bent to take her life due to her views on blasphemy laws.

Renewed threats against Rehman came days after a police guard gunned down Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for criticising the blasphemy law.

According to this report, several clerics issued fatwas against Rehman, declaring her an infidel. Media reports said the imam of Sultan Masjid, one of Karachi’s biggest mosques, declared Rehman a “kaafir” (infidel) and “wajib-ul-qatl” (fit to be killed) while delivering a sermon after last Friday’s prayers.

The mosque has close ties to the Saudi Arabian government.

Security has been enhanced at Rehman’s residence in Karachi, but she has told the media she will not leave Pakistan.

Meanwhile, according to this report, tens of thousands of people rallied yesterday in the Pakistani city of Karachi against any changes to the blasphemy law.

A large number of police officers guarded Sunday’s demonstration, which forced the closure of businesses and roads in the area. Participants chanted slogans and waved the flags of religious parties.

Qari Ahsaan, from the banned group Jamaat ud Dawa, addressed the crowd from a stage, saying:

We can’t compromise on the blasphemy law. It’s a divine law and nobody can change it. Our belief in the sanctity of our prophet is firm and uncompromising and we cannot tolerate anyone who blasphemes. Whoever blasphemes will face the same fate as Salman Taseer.

But speaking to Al Jazeera from Islamabad, Omar Waraich, Pakistan correspondent for the UK’s Independence newspaper, said:

The reality is that there are no moves afoot right now to amend this law in any way. The government and the ruling party [Pakistan People's Party, or PPP] have backed off that. It [the rally] certainly means that a more radical, more intolerant mood has become mainstream in Pakistan for the moment. For the moment the liberal voices have been silenced.

Hat tip: Roger F

26 Responses to “Pakistan’s mad blasphemy law: clerics call for the death of Sherry Rehman”

  1. Broga says:

    ==It’s a divine law and nobody can change it. Our belief in the sanctity of our prophet is firm and uncompromising and we cannot tolerate anyone who blasphemes.==

    The idea that a divine being needs what amounts to the protection of these demented clowns is amazing. They reveal ignorance and intolerance steeped in superstition. What they want is to preserve their power, keep women subjugated and to elevate men as a superior caste. Their so called divine law is so weak, so farcical, that the only hope they have of preserving it is by the denial of free speech. Their dictat is that they will decide what is to be believed and if you don’t conform to the instructions of these monstrous bigots you will be killed.

    With defenders such as these their divine being doesn’t need sceptics. Anyone with half a brain would be repelled by this nonsense. Here we have the law of the mob, feelings fed on blood lust and activities that sicken the rest of us.

  2. mikespeir says:

    Fifty years old. Too young to die. Alas.

  3. gsw says:

    They also believe that allah will always provide for them and that they are superior to the rest of the (non-muslim) world. The Pakistani clerics encourage this by not informing them just how much they really owe to the kufirs, or telling them it is their due.

    I do not believe that we (the western world) should be giving them billions of dollars of aid – while so many in the western world are homeless, hungry etc. I do not believe that western governments should be spending so much on foreign governments that spit on our values.

    Cut off all payment to theocracies – they can be civilized or they can cope alone.

    (p.s. to all those who say: “but what about the children”, just how much of our aid do you believe actually gets to the children? but ok, we provide baby food!)

  4. sailor1031 says:

    “We can’t compromise on the blasphemy law. It’s a divine law and nobody can change it”

    What utter crap. This “divine” law was decreed by the military dictator and muslim-fundamentalist-wacko Zia ul Haq about 20 years ago…….WTF is “divine” about that??

  5. rog says:

    Jesus wept. Quietly one presumes.

    What worries me about this, is that when someone openly agitates [with a realistic prospect of success] for the death of a senior political figure, the powers that be are more concerned with not upsetting them further! This speaks volumes about the situation.

  6. Think or GTFO says:

    It’s a divine law and nobody can change it.

    I believe that is what we refer to as BULLSHIT.

    1. It’s a law written by humans. Fanatical, insane humans.

    2. We can change it. Several countries have managed to secularise themselves quite alright. And they are better off for it than your country is. Coincidence, I’m sure.

    3. Divine law or not is irrelevant. It’s a law that should be thrown in the trashbin. Divine or not, it’s a really bad law.

  7. Think or GTFO says:

    @gsw,

    We can still provide 3rd world aid to Pakistan, if they promise that we get to make sure the money is put to good use, and that they scrap their nuclear arsenal, and that they remove all blasphemy laws. I agree we have to make sure the money goes to those who need it.

    But, if they truly believe Allah will provide for them… maybe they don’t need our help?

  8. The Woggler says:

    “Pakistan’s mad blasphemy law: clerics call for the death of Sherry Rehman.”

    Pakistan’s made blasphemy law: British atheist calls for religious nutjobs to be locked away in order to keep the rest of us safe.

  9. Broga says:

    It really does seem strange that we continue shovelling aid on these nutters. They must think we are the ultimate suckers: they want us dead, they are enthusiastic murderers of those who do not share their views, they force the cruelest of practices on women, they torture animals, they hate dogs and yet we still give them loads of money. I think the ConDems decided when they were shafting so many others that, in a paroxysm of misplaced moral fervour, they would protect the aid budget.

  10. Neuseline says:

    @gsw. I feel so strongly about this that I will not in future donate to any disaster fund for Pakistan. It is said that 70% of the population support those who demonstrate against any changes to the blasphemy laws. It would be extremely difficult to isolate the 30% who don’t.
    @Think or GTFO. I think it is more likely that Christmas and Easter will one day merge into one than any Pakistani government give up their nukes or abolish blasphemy laws. Only this morning we heard that the prime minister assured those 40-50 000 who demonstrated in Karachi yesterday that he had no intention of changing the laws.

    Roll on Chreaster.

  11. Stonyground says:

    While there is no comparison between our society and the one inhabited by these nutters, we should remember that although rarely used and certainly not carrying the death penalty, the UK blasphemy law was only abolished a couple of years ago and there were some who stood up in parliament to defend it.

    Yet again I would suggest that these thugs are fully aware that their religion is incapable of standing up to critcism in the modern world. As a consequence threats and violence is all that they have to offer. I think that there may be a comparison to be made with creationists in the US. Fully aware that science is threatening to make their god redundant, they use lies and deceit to hold back the tide of reason.

  12. Har Davids says:

    Could someone please create a lethal virus that kills you within a couple of weeks unless you consume a Wiener Schnitzel with a big glass of beer in a strip club? Only this approach might help this planet to get rid of the über-religious. Of course, something else will have to be concocted for the overly Christian bunch or anyone else who doesn’t mind eating pork.

    Sorry for this tongue in cheek response, but WW III with halal nuclear weapons doesn’t seem like fun to me, just like killing people you don’t agree with.

  13. chrsbol says:

    She needs to get out pdq. Otherwise sometime soon there will be another post “Sherry Rehman assassinated, crowds rejoice” blah blah blah.We don’t need any more heroes just get out now while you can.

  14. Stonyground says:

    Sorry Har Davids but your plan won’t work. there are a tiny minority of religiots who watch their children die while praying but the rest are rather more pragmatic when the rubber hits the road. It goes all the way back to St. Paul who found that nobody much wanted to be a Christian if it meant having part of your dick lopped off and having to give up the full English Breakfast. So he came up with a convoluted rationalisation for abandoning the former, and had a convenient dream which desposed of the latter. The best that we can hope for is that this May 21st prediction is real and all followers of the Abrahamic faiths are teleported to Heaven to leave the rest of us to cope with the tribulations that are inflicted by their stupid and ignorant god. I don’t really think that this will be that much of a challenge.

  15. barriejohn says:

    And what do you make of this?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12156825

  16. Marcus says:

    Here’s another to add to the ‘bonkers’ list, barriejohn:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12117519

  17. NeoWolfe says:

    I published my email on the freethinker, and promised to publish your reply. In accordance with my expectation, that you are a nice guy, well intentioned, you lived up to the image. But I hoped to hear an answer about how your organization treats agnostics. Since, your newest campaign claims to call agnostics out of religion, I felt it necessary for you to answer to how agnostics have been treated by your organization in the past, as I have felt it.

    Answer us this, how will you treat them? As freethinkers or students to be brought up to speed to your own brand of religion? And what of humanists? Do they play a part in rising out of religious delusion? I have heard ignorant atheists claim that they are not humanist, when they cannot be atheist without also being humanist. The arrogance of atheism is keeping freethought fractured, so it’s time you clean your own house, particularly when you go inviting agnostics to join your movement.

    NeoWolfe

    —– Original Message —–
    From: David Silverman
    To: norman lycan
    Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2011 2:39 PM
    Subject: Re: Calling all agnostics

    Hey there Norman, good to hear from you.

    As far as O’reilly, you have to think bigger picture. I can’t just book myself on The Daily Show. These shows call me, not the other way around,and you have to go through the steps to get there. Conservative shows want liberals, and vice versa, because controversy sells, but it’s better for the attendee if his audience matches. It’s a bit of a competition. You have to do what you don’t want to do to get where you want to go. Trust me a little — I know what I am doing.

    Assholes are everywhere, in every movement. No matter where you go, they will be there. I can’t stop them. The problem is that too many nice guys have thin skins and bolt. Just saying. I don’t run the blog anymore — Blair does. He’s great, and not an asshole at all.

    As to embracing agnostics, well, there’s that nasty definition issue creeping up again. Let’s say we are hardliners, criticizing religion and calling people on their own BS that gods have relevance in today’s society. Those jeans make you look fat, that hairstyle doesn’t work, and your god is a myth.

    There are lots of organizations in this movement, and we are deliberately not right for everyone. If we are too blunt for you, try out the AHA or the CSH, but join and support someone.

    Sincerely,

    David Silverman
    President
    American Atheists, Inc
    Voice: 732.648.9333
    FAX 908.737.1203

  18. NeoWolfe says:

    Bjohn,

    Can I just rest my case or spend the next fifty pages proving what I already said? I told you, your arrogance is all that prevents freethinkers uniting. He said “too blunt for you”, when I and the host trade a “go fuck yourself”, I doubt there’s anything too blunt for me, or you.

    I know when you say ” no religion” you mean it. But, you do not mean it the way I do. I mean that I will never believe in anything unproven as long as I live. Do you really think we have no common ground?

    Freethinkers are as splintered as fundies, and unless we fix that problem, we could be too late.

    NeoWolfe

  19. barriejohn says:

    What has all that got to do with this thread, NeoWolfe? I have never told anyone to “go fuck yourself” in my entire life – nor would I – and you failed completely to see the irony when I used the phrase the other day, but I am not pursuing the matter here. I would have barred you for that – and for calling another commenter a “total fool” in public. We are supposed to be debating ideas and opinions here, not trading insults.

  20. Broga says:

    Barriejohn: If I may speculate on “what all this has to do with this thread” I guess the answer is ego. Or, “look at me folks and what a tough son of a bitch I am. Bring ‘em all on.”

    Just to pursue this a little further. I replied is a friendly way to a comment from the representative of the Scottish YWCA because I thought she took the trouble to write here and specifically said that her organisation did not require either christian beliefs or even acknowledgement of them. I think I am as “militant atheist” or whatever as you might want. However, as atheism starts to make inroads into religion, and I think that it is doing this thanks to the internet and best selling atheist authors, we need to encourage those who take the first step to go on to take the second and the steps that follow.

    I take my atheism for granted and I know the attraction of putting the boot in. However, I also have enough imagination and sensitivity I hope, to appreciate the difficulties of former “people of faith” in the words of the BBC, taking these first steps to freethought. We should not repulse them with a show of macho polemic. I want agnostics, doubting christians, sceptical priests or whatever to come here, and debate. And I don’t mean pain in the arses who come to convert us. I mean those developing scepticism and a secular outlook.

    I agree with your comments.

  21. Newspaniard says:

    Cupla points:
    @Stonyground: They may have abolished the old, seldom used, blasphemy laws but those hypocrites immediately introduced far more stringent laws to persecute those who criticize religion. Ho Hum.

    Has anyone read anywhere, someone excusing these disgraceful threats/acts or do all Death Cultists approve of them, silently or otherwise?

  22. NeoWolfe says:

    BJohn said:

    “I have never told anyone to “go fuck yourself” in my entire life – nor would I – and you failed completely to see the irony when I used the phrase the other day, but I am not pursuing the matter here.

    Wow, you must have been hacked, because it’s still posted on the string about Silverman’s ad campaign. As follows:

    barriejohn
    January 9th, 2011 at 9:06 pm
    “Go fuck yourself” NeoWolfe.

    And that’s it!!! It’s okay, you called me a potty mouth, then I called you a potty mouth, with a smiley face. It’s all good, I was simply putting it to you that if you want to place human institutions on trial, that the idea that atheist organizations are immune from scrutiny is absurd.

    And I like Dave Silverman, but, I was offended beyond belief that his organization is reaching out to agnostics, because it’s bullshit!!! They treated me the way YOU, Bjohn, treat me here.

    It is put in capitals when he tells me that I should drift elsewhere where people might treat me with fluff. LMFAO!!! I am trying to wake you up, that when you assume something unproven, you are practicing religion. But, like the pope, you decide to believe until it’s proven that you’re wrong. Send your fairy to sattle up your unicorn.

    NeoWolfe

  23. barriejohn says:

    The statement was in italics, NeoWolfe: I was quoting what you had said! I’m not reading all that other guff about Silverman etc, as it is irrelevant to this post.

  24. NeoWolfe says:

    BJohn said:

    “I’m not reading all that other guff about Silverman etc, as it is irrelevant to this post.”

    Wow, how do you know it’s guff if you didn’t read it? :-) Shades of the pope, again, he doesn’t read your guff either. He doesn’t care because he doesn’t realize that criticism of AA is blasphemy.

    But, here’s a point that might awake a few neurons:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/humanist

    The difference between you and me is that I could sit down with an atheist, or an agnostic, or a humanist, and converse with him as a fellow freethinker, but unfortunately, the atheist would walk out because I won’t join his religion. The reason the numbers are so low for the percentage of atheists among civilized societies is that you have alienated your friends. And AA wants them to sacrifice their social network to be treated like intellectual retards by people like you. Oh yeah, that’s going work out well. Wasted ink and paper. You have to fix your own house before you move in the rest of the world.

    NeoWolfe