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Death sentence for Muslim ‘prophet’

Death sentence for Muslim ‘prophet’

PAKISTAN’S notorious blasphemy legislation – a legacy of British colonial rule – is in the news again, this time in relation to an elderly Scottish citizen.

According to this report, Muhammad Asghar, an Edinburgh grandfather, is believed to have been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and is said to have had treatment at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Edinburgh

The 70-year-old was arrested in 2010 after writing letters to various people claiming to be a prophet, and he even had “prophet” printed on his business cards.

This led to a blasphemy trial, and a sentence of death.

Asghar’s lawyers argued for leniency, saying he has a history of mental illness – but this was rejected by a medical panel.

The legal charity Reprieve has called on the Government to help the Asghar.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, which is supporting Ashgar said he is:

In dire need of medical care. The evidence is clear that he is unable to defend himself in court.

Worse still, he is currently being held in utterly unsuitable conditions in prison, and we are very concerned about his health.

Javed Gul, a government prosecutor, said:

Asghar claimed to be a prophet even inside the court. He confessed it in front of the judge.

It is claimed that not only was mental illness ruled out by the court, but that the  judge had had Asghar’s lawyer forcibly removed from the courtroom, and carried out the rest of the trial behind closed doors.

The lawyer says she intends to launch an appeal, though a moratorium on the death penalty in Pakistan since 2008 means Asghar’s life is unlikely to be in danger – except from Islamic zealots who have a history in Pakistan of murdering “blasphemers”.

In 2012 Rimsha Masih, 14, a Christian, was prosecuted for blasphemy in Islamabad after a Muslim cleric accused her of desecrating a Koran. The cleric was later accused of fabricating evidence and she was acquitted.

Rimsha Masih pictured being escorted by officials following her release from central prison on the outskirts of Rawalpindi, Pakistan in September 2012. Photo: Anjum Naveed / AP Photo

Rimsha Masih pictured being escorted by officials following her release from central prison on the outskirts of Rawalpindi, Pakistan in September 2012. Photo: Anjum Naveed / AP Photo

Facing persecution in Pakistan, the family fled to Canada last year.

More evidence of Islamic idiocy has emerged from Malaysia, where the faces of piglets where blotted out in a picture published in the Malaysian edition of the International New York Times.

piglets

The masking was the work of Malaysian printing firm KHL, which blotted out the faces in a story about farming in the United States.  A representative said it was their policy to obscure pigs because Malaysia was “a Muslim country”.

There is no law banning pictures of pigs in Malaysia – a secular country with many faiths– but local media are careful not to offend Muslims who make up two-thirds of the country’s 28 million people, the Malay Mail says.

A government spokesperson said the images were not outlawed, but that publishers should bear in mind “the sensitivities of various cultures”. There appears to be increasing concern about offending Muslims in the country – last year a TV provider ran a warning ahead of a documentary about Pope Francis, and allegedly cut the words “Ya Allah!” from an Indian film this month.

In 2005 the children’s film Babe was banned from cinemas because of its subject matter, and the similarity of the title to the Malay word for pig – “babi”. Complaints from viewers saw the ban overturned, however, and it appeared on television the following year.

Hat tip: Gordon Bennet, Tony Ewing and Pete H (blasphemy) and Ivan (pig report).

27 responses to “Death sentence for Muslim ‘prophet’”

  1. Brummie says:

    Pig ignorant!

  2. Ivan says:

    Every time I look at that pig picture, it gets more bizarre.

  3. Har Davids says:

    Over here in Holland we have a dish, called Babi Pangang, a culinary left-over from our colonial times. Country of provenace: Indonesia. I wonder what people of Malaysia will think of this.

  4. Lori F says:

    Her nose is showing. Stone her. (Snark intended)

  5. barriejohn says:

    A pig is a thing quite obscene

    That in public should never be seen;

    With a mask on the face

    Of the whole porcine race

    Their image can be declared “clean”.

  6. barriejohn says:

    PS How long, I wonder, before some demented follower of the child-shagger pitches up to tell us all that “Muslims didn’t demand that the pig pic be censored”, completely missing the point of what has happened yet again?

  7. Angela_K says:

    I’ll risk Godwin’s Law and say that killing the senile and mentally ill was practiced with enthusiasm by one A. Hitler and his mates; the muslims have picked up from where he left off with their supremacist and fascist ideology. The religious are the ones with a curable mental illness.

  8. jay says:

    I’m sick of the apologists who come up with ‘all religions are crazy’ blather.

    All religions are stupid. No significant religion is anywhere NEAR AS FREAKING CRAZY as Islam. Not Mormons, not Scientologists, not even Fred Phelps.

  9. ZombieHunter says:

    Of course the British government won’t intervene in the case of the man in Pakistan they will give the usual “their country their laws we cant get special treatment for them because they are british blah blah blah”.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Jay: I agree with you up to a point, but the fact is that the majority of Muslims are pretty uneducated and unsophisticated, which explains a lot. Christians used to be much like them in the Middle Ages. I was going to look up some of the stupid beliefs that they held then, and came across this instead – mainly concerning Christian belief amongst present day Americans, though much of it is also shared by Muslims:

    http://www.the1585.com/10stupidest.htm

  11. jay says:

    barriejohn ” was going to look up some of the stupid beliefs that they held then, and came across this instead – mainly concerning Christian belief amongst present day Americans, though much of it is also shared by Muslims:”

    Hence my distinction between stupid and crazy. Christians, Mormons, Scientologists, Orthodox Jews etc ALL have stupid beliefs. There is only one group (in our era anyhow) where a totally trivial ‘offense’ regularly involves bloodshed, both of outsiders and their fellow believers.

    They’re all stupid. But most are not nearly as crazy as Muslims.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Jay: Islam is a barbaric and primitive mediaeval belief system (and that’s a flattering phrase to use!), but one has to wonder what the situation would now be had the West supported democratic regimes in the Middle East rather than puppet dictatorships that supported them in their insatiable appetite for the region’s oil. Someone asked again recently what Afghanistam would look like today had we expended the same effort and resources on education and welfare that we have on the useless war that we (NATO, remember) have been waging there, and no one can know the answer to that, but did you see those photos of Afghanistan in the Fifties/Sixties to which I linked the other day? We only have ourselves to blame for the present situation, really, just as idiots like Tsar Nicholas only had themselves to blame for the rise of the Bolsheviks.

  13. barriejohn says:

    There are even more photos here of the Afgahanistam of fifty years ago. It’s heartbreaking, but we mustn’t give up hope that the clcok can be put back (and who’d have thought that freethinkers would have been hoping for that!).

    http://www.damnfreshpics.com/2011/07/afghanistan-in-1950s-and-1960s.html

  14. Ivan says:

    @barriejohn

    “Christians used to be much like them (Muslims)in the Middle Ages”

    I don’t know if any one caught the BBC programme “Inside the Medieval Mind” by Professor Robert Bartlett (the authority on the period) when it was broadcast.

    It is outstanding and provides a real insight into what is going on in the minds of those who REALLY believe.

    It comes in four hour-long parts (and you do need to watch them all in order for it to make sense):

    1) Knowledge 2) Sex 3) Belief and 4) Power.

    It can be viewed on this users You Tube Channel:

    http://goo.gl/Hg3QiG

    Enjoy. I’m confident anyone who gives it the time will.

  15. charlie says:

    While all religions are silly and have moronic rules for the followers, Islam is still way back in a sad time regards to the over the top punishments it deals out to those who offend their brand of crazy.
    Perhaps, given enough time and decent education, they just may become more humane. Until then, we will keep seeing this sort of over the top crazy.
    @barriejohn, thanks for the links to the photos.
    @Ivan, many thanks for the links to the program. If only BBCA would show such here in the US of A.

  16. barriejohn says:

    Ivan: I do seem to remember those programmes. Thanks for the link.

    In this series he opens up the often surprising discontinuities and similarities between the medieval age and our own as he remarks:

    “In many ways these were people very much like us, in terms of family, ambitions for children and the world of emotions. On the other hand, they inhabited a very different world, in which it was believed the dead visited the living, and where somewhere there lived a race of people with the heads of dogs.”

    http://www.open.edu/openlearn/whats-on/tv/ou-on-the-bbc-inside-the-medieval-mind-about-the-series

    That puts me in mind so much of my evangelical “friends”. I would still have much in common with them, as we were very close in the past, yet at the same time they really do inhabit a different world to mine. In their world every little thing that they do and every little thing that happens to them has massive consequences – “for eternity”. Their God is scrutinising all that they do and say – even their very thoughts – and is liable to visit all sorts of evils upon them if they transgress his arbitrary rules. Their world is also populated by demons and spirit beings of which we humans know little, but who wield enormous power and affect developments in their lives for good or evil. It’s a very strange and, indeed, mediaeval outlook, and difficult to explain to anyone who knows nothing of it, but when I reflect upon on that era, or watch such dramas as The Tudors, I think to myself: “Yes, I can see how intelligent people, their thought processes corrupted by superstition, could accept such lunacy as rationality.”

  17. Robster says:

    No sympathy from here. What an deluded idiot! Sad if he’s got a mental illness, but really. Was that Baby jesus any different? The ‘prophet’ could prove his deity status by doing the jesusy thing and coming back to life after the execution. But that’s highly unlikely.

  18. jay says:

    Barriejohn:” Islam is a barbaric and primitive mediaeval belief system (and that’s a flattering phrase to use!), but one has to wonder what the situation would now be had the West supported democratic regimes in the Middle East rather than puppet dictatorships”

    I think that argument is widely overused. The US has behaved very badly in a lot of circumstances (and not so badly in others) but so has every other major power. That is bad, but is no excuse for the craziness that goes on here. It’s too much standard lefty rhetoric to declare that the (very real) self interested behavior on the part of this country somehow forced the hands of these people. There are plenty of places in the world where the US meddled that did not collapse into savage barbarism, there are plenty of place where other world powers destructively meddled that did not descend like this.

  19. JohnMWhite says:

    @Robster: No sympathy for a man whose illness has made him say relatively harmless things that other people have decided he should be executed for? Really?

    I’m almost coming to the point where I think perhaps they should go through with it, and Scotland can respond to the death of one of their citizens with some gifts airmailed from Faslane. I’m not a fan of tarring collectives with the same brush, but this brutishness has got to be pulled out by the many, many roots that cling so desperately to the earth. These crooked judges sleep soundly in their beds at night because they buy off the rabid mobs with the blood of other people. This wouldn’t work if the people were not largely all for it.

  20. ian says:

    The idea of ‘Demonic Possession’ is a bit close to the knuckle for me, as I was, as a Police officer, involved in the aftermath of an exorcism that went as badly wrong as anything can.

    Reading the report by Professor Trethowan via the link at the bottom will shed a little more light on the ‘medieval mind’.

    I posted this on the Protect the Pope website – those who commented weren’t happy. Someone even protested that if the Anglicans who were responsible has used Catholic prayers it would have worked. After that there’s nothing further to add!!

    This extract from a report by Professor W H Trethowan (Exorcism: A psychiatric viewpoint) , Department of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham and is taken from the Journal of medical ethics, 1976, 2s 127-137

    “……. the unfortunate subject in the Ossett case was, it appears, found to be suffering not from a true psychosis, but from a hysterical pseudopsychosis,which had been temporarily induced in him by his
    exorcisers. This, it is reported, resolved spontaneously without further treatment within a few days of his admission to a mental hospital leaving him to face terrible remorse.”

    If he had walked away from the church instead of getting further involved history would have been different

    The full article can be read below through the link. It’s worth a read although the final comments give some cause for concern.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2495148/pdf/jmedeth00319-0026.pdf

  21. Shiny shoes says:

    Pakistan. Wonderful country…the recipient of huge foreign aid benefits, a major power base of global terrorism, cesspit of islamic fundamentalist ideals, Petri dish for the mutation otherwise eradicable diseases such as polio, home to 180 million people, safe haven for terrorist leaders, holder of thermonuclear apocalyptic weapons, Human Development Index 146th/111, Quality-of-life index 93rd/111, Literacy rate 159th/177, Corruption Perceptions Index 143/182, Worldwide press freedom index 151/178…….and no surprise Population 6th/221, Failed States Index 10/177. Not a particularly glowing report for islam is it. The most likely flash point for WW3.

  22. barriejohn says:

    Jay: I do try to steer clear of doctrinaire ideas and oversimplification, but it’s not easy, and this whole subject is extremely complicated with many different players. Afghanistan has been particularly ill-used by foreign powers over the years, and the US definitely supported the taliban when they were opposing the Russians. The partition of India was an absolute fiasco (I remember East Pakistan and West Pakistan – what a stupid idea!), though I suppose that one can say in defence of Mountbatten that he was only doing what his political masters instructed him to do so that we could wash our hands of the sub-continent. The establishment of the State of Israel was also disastrous for the Middle East, and Palestinians certainly can’t see how the world can possibly view Muslims as the barbarians on the world stage and that feeds anti-western feelings throughout the Muslim world, but you must be aware of all this. My own view is that it is not just religion that is the danger but ALL ideology, and that civilized behaviour is always under threat – just look at Stalin’s Russia, Nazi Germany, the Balkans, Cambodia, and so on (though race also plays its part – complicated, as I said). I see that Tony Blair is sounding forth again in the Observer today, and blaming the world’s problems on the wrong type of religion. Nothing to do with ill-considered imperialistic ventures, globalization, inequality, etc, then. (I hope that doesn’t sound too “left wing” for you!).

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/25/extremist-religion-wars-tony-blair?guni=Keyword:news-grid%20main-1%20Main%20trailblock:Editable%20trailblock%20-%20news:Position1

  23. barriejohn says:

    Comment re tony Blair’s epiphany:

    By his frolic of invading Iraq he overthrew a secular tyrant and created the conditions for Islamic extremism to thrive. His constant bias to Israel, despite supposedly being a neutral mediator, has also encouraged the growth of Islamism.

    This egotistical charlatan has blundered about on the world stage laying fertile ground for religious extremism and now claims to have suddenly realised the need to oppose it.

  24. jay says:

    Bad foreign policy has existed around the world. The US (certainly not the only power to do so) manipulated Europe after the war, southeast Asia, Japan, central and South America. These places have problems, but they are not batshit crazy like EVERY Muslim dominated society.

    Only the places dominated by Islam and places dominated by Islam that never were directly manipulated by US policy have developed this corrosive mindset.

    It seems to easy to lay the blame on every failed nation on some outside power, whom, if ‘only they had done things different everything would have been better’. Nations fail from within.

  25. barriejohn says:

    Jay: I can’t agree with your analysis. There have been moderate Muslim regimes in the past, so there must be reasons why extremism has become so widespread. People like Malala Yousafzai show us that many Pakistanis value freedom, democracy and education, and there has to be a way of turming back the tide.