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Blasphemy Laws: Militant Islamists Define A Fanatic Strain within Islam

23 Nov 2018

The agony of Asia Bibi, a 54-year-old Roman Catholic and mother of five, shows there is something rotten in her country, Pakistan — and in the broader world of Islam.


Asia Bibi
A poster in Pakistan depicting Asia Bibi, a Christian whose blasphemy conviction was recently overturned, setting off protests. Credit: Shahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE, via Rex

She was arrested for blasphemy in 2009 after Muslim co-workers on a destitute farm denounced her for merely drinking from the same cup and, during the subsequent quarrel, for “insulting Prophet Muhammad” — a charge Ms. Bibi always denied. Yet she was convicted in 2010 and spent the next eight years in solitary confinement, on death row.

Luckily, Pakistan’s Supreme Court last month saved her from execution, clearing her of the charges and also setting her free. But Pakistan’s militant Islamists, especially those in the notorious Tehreek-e-Labbaik religious party, which is obsessed with punishing blasphemers, were enraged. They forced the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to accept a court petition to reverse the case and bar Ms. Bibi from leaving the country. She and her family, fearing vigilante violence, went into hiding.

Read full story here:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/21/opinion/islam-blasphemy-pakistan-bibi.html

Blasphemy Laws: Militant Islamists Define A Fanatic Strain within Islam

The agony of Asia Bibi, a 54-year-old Roman Catholic and mother of five, shows there is something rotten in her country, Pakistan — and in the broader world of Islam.


Asia Bibi
A poster in Pakistan depicting Asia Bibi, a Christian whose blasphemy conviction was recently overturned, setting off protests. Credit: Shahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE, via Rex

She was arrested for blasphemy in 2009 after Muslim co-workers on a destitute farm denounced her for merely drinking from the same cup and, during the subsequent quarrel, for “insulting Prophet Muhammad” — a charge Ms. Bibi always denied. Yet she was convicted in 2010 and spent the next eight years in solitary confinement, on death row.

Luckily, Pakistan’s Supreme Court last month saved her from execution, clearing her of the charges and also setting her free. But Pakistan’s militant Islamists, especially those in the notorious Tehreek-e-Labbaik religious party, which is obsessed with punishing blasphemers, were enraged. They forced the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to accept a court petition to reverse the case and bar Ms. Bibi from leaving the country. She and her family, fearing vigilante violence, went into hiding.

Read full story here:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/21/opinion/islam-blasphemy-pakistan-bibi.html

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