Posts Tagged “anti-blasphemy”

Burned Quran Pages - Flickr - Al Jazeera EnglishLately it seems the stories of primitive Islamofascist barbarism emanate mostly from the hinterlands of Syria and Iraq, with ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-savage-brood. And it’s true they’re responsible for a lot of it. But we can’t afford to lose sight of the fact that primitive Islamofascist barbarism can be found in other parts of the Muslim world, too. A case in point is this NBC News story about a Christian couple in Pakistan who were burned alive (WebCite cached article):

A mob accused of burning alive a Christian couple in an industrial kiln in Pakistan allegedly wrapped a pregnant mother in cotton so she would catch fire more easily, according to family members who witnessed the attack.

Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24, were set upon by at least 1,200 people after rumors circulated that they had burned verses from the Quran, family spokesman Javed Maseeh told NBC News via telephone late Thursday. Their legs were also broken so they couldn’t run away.

“They picked them up by their arms and legs and held them over the brick furnace until their clothes caught fire,” he said. “And then they threw them inside the furnace.”

This is yet another example of the murderous, sanctimonious rage that kicks up within Muslim communities whenever they get the notion that someone has burned a Qur’an (or might do so, but hasn’t yet). I’ve gone on the record as saying book-burning of any kind is stupid, mostly because it doesn’t do anything except display one’s anger over something — and there are almost an infinite number of other ways to express anger, if one is convinced one must do so. But going as far as burning people alive over it is — obviously! — excessive. After all, even though it’s a useless gesture, by the same token, book-burning doesn’t actually harm anyone or anything. If one burns a copy of a book, all one has done is to burn a copy of it; the book itself, and more especially the ideas within it, remain. This is doubly true in the case of the Qur’an, one of the most widely-published books on the planet.

I’m sure Islam’s defenders will claim this heinous double murder was the act of just a “lunatic fringe” (cached), a mere handful of extremists who don’t represent Muslims generally, or even their local community. In this case, however, that’s absolutely untrue; 1,200 people set upon and murdered them, in a spectacularly savage way that none of them possibly could have been ignorant of; e.g.:

Bibi, a mother of four who was four months pregnant, was wearing an outfit that initially didn’t burn, according to Javed Maseeh. The mob removed her from over the kiln and wrapped her up in cotton to make sure the garments would be set alight.

At this point, I can’t see how anyone can rationally avoid admitting that there is quite obviously a problem within the Muslim world, if events as large and as barbaric as this can occur. It’s not really the “religion of peace” it’s frequently said to be. Yeah, I know the prime minister of Pakistan has promised “justice” in this case, but the fact that a huge mob of 1,200 people could have done such a thing in the first place is where the real problem lies; how the government reacts hardly matters, after-the-fact. Making it all worse, Pakistan’s courts have a strong Islamofascist bias, to the point I doubt much will happen to any of the folks who’ve been arrested over this incident. So the prime minister’s promises largely ring hollow.

As my own protest against this kind of religiofascistic savagery in the name of preventing “blasphemy,” I’ve used a picture of a burned Qur’an at the top of this post. If this decision angers you, that’s fine by me. Go right ahead and be angry, if it makes you feel better to do so! Throw a tantrum, if you’d like. I don’t fucking care.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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It’s official. The Republic of Ireland — a generally-enlightened country whose economy boomed through most of the 2000’s — has slid back into the Dark Ages. It is now illegal to blaspheme in Ireland, as the New York Times Lede blog reports:

After some hesitation, Ireland’s president, Mary McAleese, signed into law on Thursday a controversial new measure which makes it a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $35,000, to publish or utter blasphemous statements in the Irish Republic.

As The Irish Times explained in April, the new law was crafted after someone noticed that while the country’s constitution clearly calls blasphemy a criminal act, Irish legislators had failed to give the nation’s police force the legal means to hold blasphemers to account.

Ireland’s response to the problem was not to amend its Constitution to remove the offending clause … it was, instead, to dig in, keep it, and make it enforceable.

Nice.

This means lots of things are now impermissible in Ireland, probably including the showing of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a scene from which actually exemplifies (via parody) what’s wrong with laws against blasphemy, as the Lede showed.

Here is the offending scene, courtesy of YouTube:

I can only assume it’s illegal to view for someone in Ireland to cite material from my blog, since it has so much godless-heathen content. Heck, it might even be illegal for someone in Ireland merely to view this blog! So if you’re reading this blog in Ireland, best of luck, and hopefully the authorities will never find out you’ve been here. (I certainly won’t tell!)

The Lede blog offers the following defense of Ireland’s new ban on blasphemy:

In fairness to Irish lawmakers, it should be noted that six American states — Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wyoming — still have laws against blasphemy on the books, although they are only occasionally enforced in the 21st century.

I’m sure the New York Times meant this to be taken humorously, but sadly enough, there are some who will say that Ireland’s ban on blasphemy is acceptable, because these states also ban it … following the old “two wrongs make a right” thinking which is decidedly fallacious (but then, religionists never met a fallacy they didn’t like).

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