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 Khaled Abu Toameh
Over the past week there are voices coming out of Egypt and some Arab countries -- voices that publicly support the Israeli military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
They see the atrocities and massacres committed by Islamists on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria and are beginning to ask themselves if these serve the interests of the Arabs and Muslims.
"Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas!" — Azza Sami of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.
Isolated and under attack, Hamas now realizes that it has lost the sympathy of many Egyptians and Arabs.
by Soeren Kern
"I believe that adulterers should be stoned to death. I believe that we should cut the hands off of thieves. I believe the Sharia should be implemented in Denmark. Maybe we should change the Christiansborg Palace [the Danish Parliament building] to Muslimsborg to have the flag of Islam flying over the parliament in Denmark. I think this would be very nice." — Anjem Choudary, while in Denmark to establish Islam4dk in June 2014.
"[Choudary's network] has now been proscribed as a terrorist organization operating under 11 different names, but neither he nor any one of his associates has so far been prosecuted for membership of an illegal group." — Times of London.
"The cure for depression is jihad." — Abdul Raqib Amin (aka Abu Bara al-Hindi), Scottish jihadist.
by Christine Williams
Israel's targets have been militants, military facilities, rocket launchers, tunnels and command centers. Israel has taken extraordinary measures to protect Palestinian civilian life.
Meanwhile, Hamas violates international law both by targeting Israel's civilians and by using its own people as human shields -- and then blaming Israel for the casualties.
The BDS movement covers up its ties with the terrorist group Hamas.
by Oliver Williams
In the politically correct attempt to avoid "stereotyping" and be safe from discomfort, have we been blocking out reality?
Hollywood has been indulging in a sort of reverse racial profiling: cinematic terrorists could be anybody other than Muslims.
Muslim terrorists? As in the movie Non-Stop, Hollywood would rather cast the family members of 9/11 victims as terrorists rather than reflect that such a thing exists.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Fatah has several hundred militiamen in the Gaza Strip, some of whom are members of the Palestinian Authority security forces, who continue to receive their salaries from Western governments.
At least two Fatah armed groups announced that they had started firing rockets at the "settlements" of Ashkelon and Sderot, cities inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel, with another Fatah group claiming responsibility for firing 35 rockets into Israel since Sunday.
So far as Abbas is concerned, "it all started when Israel fired back" in response to hundred of rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip during the last few days. He seems concerned that if the world hears about the role of Fatah in the rocket attacks, the news will affect Western financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, which dominated by Fatah.