British Organization Backing Religious Intolerance
It is a year since the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was gunned down by his own close protection officer in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
A secular politician who championed women's rights and tried to reform the country's repressive religious ordinances, Taseer riled religious fundamentalists. The point of no return was finally crossed after he took up the case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy on questionable evidence.
While trying to secure her freedom, Taseer also declared his opposition to the constitutional discrimination against the Ahmadi/Qadyani sect, currently declared heretical by the Pakistani state.
The fallout was surreal. Supposedly educated and liberal minded lawyers who had brazenly defied President Musharraf when he imposed martial law now garlanded the assassin, Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri, outside the courthouse. The youth section of the Islamabad bar association even offered to represent Qadri pro bono. In the aftermath of Qadri's arrest, militant groups rallied thousands of supporters along the dense and twisting streets of Lahore where his family lived.
The message was simple: any politician who dared challenge the blasphemy law could expect a similar fate.
Since Taseer's assassination, an already sour case has turned even worse. Pakistani newspapers report that the man who originally accused Asia Bibi of blasphemy, Qari Salam, has had a change of heart. Describing him as a "guilty prayer leader," the Express Tribune notes:
At the forefront of a popular, polarizing case, Qari Salam ostensibly regrets filing a blasphemy charge against an impoverished Christian woman, Aasia Bibi.
The source of his guilt -- realisation that the case was not based on facts but on hyped religious emotions and personal bias of some village women.
Aasia has been languishing in Sheikhupura jail since a sessions court awarded her death sentence for insulting Prophet Muhammad. [sic]
Salam confided in friends that he was thinking of discontinuing the case against Asia and that he would not attend an appeal hearing in the Lahore High Court later this year. This might have presented the most obvious means of diffusing the tensions surrounding this highly emotional case.
Instead, a British organization has insisted that Salam proceed with the case. The leader of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat group (whose name means "Seal of the Prophet") dispatched his son to the Nankana district of Punjab, where the original offence is alleged to have taken place and where Salam currently lives. "We will chase her [Asia] through hell … don't worry about the money, [we're] hiring best lawyers," Salam was told.
That a British organization –- whose members are presumably British citizens – should put its weight behind championing such religious intolerance and persecution anywhere is a scandal.
To do so in a country already crippled by millenarian extremism, where such matters cost innocent lives, is unconscionable. How bitterly ironic that young Pakistani lawyers are risking their lives to offer Asia her most basic of human rights, legal representation in court, while British Muslims living in a free and secular country are actively bankrolling attempts to execute her.
The Khatm-e-Nabuwat is not an insignificant group. It enjoys close connections with the Pakistani establishment and has previously met with Pakistan's High Commissioner in London. From London, it promotes a deeply sectarian and divisive message -– particularly against Ahmadis, the persecuted group Taseer had tried to support before his assassination.
The group's website describes Ahmadi's as, "nothing but a gang of traitors, apostates and infidels."
One of its preachers in the London borough of Newham warned that if Pakistan's blasphemy laws were repealed, "the 1953 Lahore agitation against the Qadianis will be repeated in the streets once more. The streets and roads of Lahore were filled with blood in that agitation." The 1953 attack to which he refers was a sectarian massacre of Ahmadis in Pakistan.
The Central Convener of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat group, Abdul Latif Khalid Cheema, who resides in Pakistan, has regularly visited London and spoken at events for the group, spreading their sectarian message. In Pakistan, days after Taseer's assassination, he was among the radical leaders glorifying the governor's death and condemning Asia Bibi. Small wonder then that his group should now be financially supporting the case against her.
British Muslims supporting Khatm-e-Nabuwat are now culpable in her fate and, more generally, to the spread of sectarian violence both in Pakistan and the United Kingdom. A spokesman for the Ahmadi community warned:
We appeal to the authorities to nip this in the bud; otherwise this campaign of hatred against Ahmadi Muslims today will tomorrow grow into a threat against other moderate Muslims and indeed the wider society.
The government should investigate those fomenting unrest abroad and, where possible, bring prosecutions against the individuals concerned. This might include investigating possible breaches of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 which makes it an offense to intimidate and persecute individuals on the basis of their race or creed.
Reader comments on this item
|British Organization Backing Religious Intolerance [66 words]||Uzoozy||Jan 26, 2012 11:29|
Comment on this item
by Bassam Tawil
What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.
The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.
The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.
by Burak Bekdil
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said: "All Israelis are legitimate targets." What would the Palestinian death toll have been if Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman declared all Palestinians as legitimate targets?
Underdog-nation romanticism tells us Israel should not respond when under rocket attack because it is capable of intercepting the rockets.
That there are fewer Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means, for the moment, Hamas cannot kill.
by Soeren Kern
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.
"The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist." — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
"Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.
"We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions." — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
What Khaled Mashaal forgot to mention was that Hamas and the Islamic State do have at least one thing in common: they both carry out extrajudicial executions as a means of terrorizing and intimidating those who stand in their way or who dare to challenge their terrorism.
According to Hamas's logic, all members of the Palestinian Authority government are "traitors" who should be dragged to public squares to be shot by firing squads. According to the same logic, Mahmoud Abbas himself should be executed for maintaining security coordination with and talking to Israelis.
As for the two executed women, the sources said that their only fault was that they had been observed asking too many questions about Palestinians who were killed in airstrikes.
by Stephen Blank and Peter Huessy
It now appears that the plan was for these terrorists to shoot down a Russian passenger flight over the Ukraine in order to create a casus belli [cause for war].
Putin repeatedly claims that Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons as a "de-escalatory measure" even against non-nuclear states.
The evidence that this war was preplanned is overwhelming. The planning for this Ukrainian operation started in 2006, when Putin offered to "guarantee Crimea's territory."
The forces fighting in Kiev consist not mainly of "separatists" or rebels, but of trained Russian army, intelligence and paramilitary officers, as well as Russian and some Ukrainian "volunteers" recruited by Moscow.
Putin would incite disturbances in Crimea, then graciously offer to take over Crimea to solve the problems.
For the Russians, and particularly for Putin, Ukraine can have no future other than as a Russian colony. This is indeed a phased invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. did not accept Russian aggression before; it should not accept it now.