Editorial

Pakistan issues global threat to punish ‘blasphemers’

Prime Minister Serves Notice that he will punish anyone who does not say the “The Prophet Mohammed” or “Mohammed peace be upon him”
Globally, free speech is slowly being extinguished

The Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has issued a threat to the Pakistani people and to the wider global community saying that blasphemy is an unpardonable offence and has directed the state machinery to find those responsible for putting blasphemous content on social media and bring them to justice without any delay.

Nawaz also directed the authorities to approach international social media platforms to take down any blasphemous content off the internet.

According to a statement released on Twitter by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz official account, the prime minister directed the authorities to remove the blasphemous content from social media and to take measures to ensure that any such content is not posted in future.

“The blasphemous content on social media is a nefarious conspiracy to hurt the religious sentiments of entire Muslim ummah,” Nawaz was quoted as saying.

“The matter has already been taken by the judiciary,” said Nawaz, and ordered to take necessary actions in accordance with the judicial guidelines in this regard.

Furthermore, he also issued directions to ensure the accountability of those who misuse the blasphemy law for their personal interests.

“Love and affection of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the most precious asset for every Muslim,” said Nawaz Sharif.

The premier directed Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to take all necessary measures against blasphemous content on social media and bring the culprits to justice immediately.

Nawaz urged the minister to completely uproot this heinous crime and sought daily reports on developments in this regard.

National Assembly passes resolution against blasphemous content

 The National Assembly recently passed a resolution condemning the blasphemous content appearing on social media and unanimously agreed to the formation of a committee of parliamentary leaders to monitor such content.

The lower house also agreed that, if required, the government should take legislative action against those posting blasphemous content on social media.

Pakistan’s Position Will Affect Christians

 This blasphemy law will not only affect Christians, but everyone, even atheists who might accidentally or otherwise deliberately contravene this new law.

Nationwide there is widespread discrimination against religious minorities, mostly Christians, who number 2.5 million about 1.6% of the population, that frequently impacts their lives.

A source told Global Christian News that Pakistan intelligence is now in touch with all other intelligence agencies around the world to enforce compliance with this new law.

Recently a Danish man who posed a video of himself setting fire to the Quran on Facebook was charged with blasphemy in the first such prosecution for 46 years.

The 42-year-old suspect put the clip, entitled “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns” to a group called “YES TO FREEDOM – NO TO ISLAM”.

Jan Reckendorff, from the public prosecutor’s office in Viborg, said: “It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Quran can in some cases be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion.

“It is our opinion that the circumstances of this case mean it should be prosecuted so the courts now have an opportunity to take a position on the matter.”

United Kingdom

Earlier in March, two Christian street preachers were convicted of religiously aggravated harassment after quoting from the King James Bible when asked questions about Islam and homosexuality by hecklers. The prosecution claimed that in the context of modern society this “must be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter”.

Originally four men had been accused. However, the Crown prosecution Service (CPS) dropped the charges against one before the trial began and the case against another was dismissed part way through the four-day trial as the court ruled there was no case to answer. However, Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell were convicted. After the trial their solicitor, Michael Phillips said:

“This prosecution is nothing more than a modern-day heresy trial – dressed up under the public order act.”

A Barnabas Aid staff member who acted as an expert witness for the defence affirmed that what the men has said was an orthodox biblical understanding of the Christian faith as it has been historically understood. Both the conviction and the claims made by the CPS prosecutor raise considerable concerns about the UK’s longstanding constitutional commitment to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

U.S. President Donald Trump

President Trump said he would champion Christians persecuted by Muslim extremists. He said that persecuted Christians will be given priority over other refugees seeking to enter the United States, saying they have been “horribly treated.”

Speaking with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump said that it had been “impossible, or at least very tough” for Syrian Christians to enter the United States.

However in his revised travel order, Trump said that Christians fleeing the Middle East will not take first priority under an updated version of his executive order on travel and refugees, which he signed after weeks of debate and holdups in federal court.

The new order does away with explicit language about prioritizing religious minorities, as well as loosens Trump’s initial limits on who’s allowed to enter the United States.

Denmark’s Blasphemy Clause

 A Danish man who posed a video of himself setting fire to the Quran on Facebook has been charged with blasphemy in the first such prosecution for 46 years.

The 42-year-old suspect put the clip, entitled “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns” to a group called “Yes to Freedom – No to Islam” in December 2015.

Jan Reckendorff, from the public prosecutor’s office in Viborg, said: “It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Quran can in some cases be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion.

“It is our opinion that the circumstances of this case mean it should be prosecuted so the courts now have an opportunity to take a position on the matter.”

The maximum sentence for blasphemy is four months in prison but Mr Reckendorff said prosecutors were more likely to seek a fine.

Copies of the Quran are treated with reverence by Muslims and any move to desecrate or destroy the holy book is seen as a grave insult.

Rumours of Quran burnings have sparked arrests, lynchings and riots in Muslim-majority countries, while the move has been appropriated by the far-right and anti-Islamic groups, including the Westboro Baptist Church in America.

Under clause 140 of Denmark’s penal code, anyone can be imprisoned or fined for publicly insulting or degrading religious doctrines or worship.

Only four blasphemy prosecutions have ever been attempted in the country.

The last was in 1971, when two Denmark Radio producers were acquitted after airing a song mocking Christianity.