The ambassador from Pakistan to the United States, Shehrbano “Sherry” Rehman, is being accused of blasphemy by some guy in Pakistan. Blasphemy is a capital crime in Pakistan, and pretty much anybody can accuse pretty much anybody of doing it for pretty much anything. Some poor soul was tried for blasphemy because he threw away a business card belonging to a man named “Muhammad.” This didn’t show the proper respect for the prophet’s name I guess. This isn’t a joke.
Rehman apparently mentioned on a talk show that the blasphemy laws in Pakistan were harsh and needed revision (duh). This was her blasphemy. Pakistani police were reluctant to prosecute her at first. Probably because even they know in their heart of hearts that this whole thing is stupid. But eventually the police had to look into it because the Pakistani businessman who first brought the charges to the police eventually took the case to Pakistan’s Supreme Court. He’s very zealous for his religion. Or maybe just angry he wasn’t invited to be ambassador to the Great Satan. And of course, all of this is proof that Rehman was right—the blasphemy laws clearly need to be revised.
It’s pretty bizarre. The courts are all afraid to look into evidence for blasphemy, because they fear it will be blasphemy to present the evidence. Given the fact that it’s so easy to accuse someone of blasphemy and so difficult to prove your innocence, you can imagine that many people are using the blasphemy laws to exact revenge on their rivals.
Yeah. That’s happening. Especially to Christians. Just recently, a teenage girl was accused of burning pages of the Koran. She was eventually acquitted when it became obvious that a local cleric had framed her. But she could have died before her case was even tried. Fifty-two people have been executed in Pakistan for blasphemy in the last twenty or so years. Officially. Even more have probably been lynched by righteously indignant mobs.
Islam is a rather touchy religion. But, I guess it makes sense:
“How can we convince the world of the truth of Islam?”
“Are you prosperous?”
“Is your culture lovely?”
“Is your prophet wise?”
“Can you offer your followers the promise of wealth?”
“Fresh take on female fashion?”
“Does your religion at least have an undefinable quality of truth that draws people to it?”
“Then I think your only real option if you want to become a world religion is … violence. Bloodshed. Pure and simple.”
Oops. I think a court case for me just opened up somewhere in Pakistan.