Counterculture Con HQ

December 6, 2010

Paki Christian Sentenced to Death by Blasphemy Laws Obama Supports

Mainstream Islam is not "moderate".

Talk about blinders.  A very educated, thoughtful and well-travelled Liberal christian I know SCOFFED at the idea that Christians were being persecuted in the Muslim world.  This was just Rightwing propaganda and fear mongering, he insisted (this state of denial arises from a fear that acknowledging such evil would bolster U.S. hawks and “Zionists” in their crusades throughout the Middle East).   So they remain willfully ignorant.  They have Phds on “gay marriage”, mind you, and will carry on at length about it.  But this kind of stuff?  Clueless.  Secular leftists, on the other hand, get straight to the point and simply condemn “all religion”, and in this way avoid the “bigot” tag.  The fact is there is no such thing as “moderate” Islam.  Wherever that religion is dominant, it is extremist.  It’s only a question of degrees.  The proof?  We have already covered the burning alive of one Paki Christian last March. Now this Christian woman has been sentenced to death in Pakistan under blasphemy laws that MUSLIM DELEGATES AND AMBASSADORS TO THE U.N. (not wackos living in caves) have pushed the United Nations to enact globally.  And get this, our politically correct and multiculturally sensitive president BARACK OBAMA– who craves nothing as much as he does Muslim approval– supports them.

In Pakistan, Christianity Earns a Death Sentence

It all began a year and a half ago, with a quarrel over a bowl of water. A group of women farm workers were suffering in the heat near a village in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Aasia Noreen, an illiterate 45-year-old mother of five, offered them water, but was rebuffed. Noreen was a Christian, they said, and therefore her water was unclean – sadly, a common taunt hurled at Pakistan’s beleaguered Christians. But rather than swallowing the indignity, she mounted a stout defense of her faith.

Word of the exchange swiftly filtered through the village of Ittan Wali, in Sheikhupura district. The local mullah took to his mosque’s loudspeakers, exhorting his followers to take action against Noreen. In a depressingly familiar pattern, her defense of her faith was twisted into an accusation of blasphemy, according to her family and legal observers familiar with the case. As a frenzied mob pursued her, the police intervened, taking her into custody. But far from protecting her, they arrested and charged Noreen with insulting Islam and its prophet. And on Nov. 8, after enduring 18 months in prison, she was sentenced to death by a district court, making her the first woman to suffer that fate.

In the ensuing weeks, the case of Noreen, popularly known as Aasia Bibi, has sparked a national furor. Human rights campaigners and lawyers have denounced the sentence. Religious fundamentalist groups, usually at odds with one another, have suddenly coalesced around a campaign to defend the blasphemy law and attack its critics. One politician who called for Noreen to be pardoned now faces a fatwa for alleged apostasy. Another politician, who is trying to have the blasphemy laws amended, has been warned that she will be besieged. On television, religious scholars have disagreed among themselves over the law’s merits. Divisions are also being seen within the government, with powerful figures taking opposing sides. And there has even been global outrage, with Pope Benedict XVI last week calling for Noreen’s freedom.

No conclusive evidence has been presented against Noreen, say people familiar with the case. The district judge relied on the testimonies of three other women, all of whom bore animus toward her. Noreen had long been under pressure by fellow farmworkers to convert to Islam, her family says. And the district judge ruled out any possibility of her innocence or mitigating circumstances.Christians are subject to vicious prejudice in Pakistan, where their beliefs are said to make them “unclean.” Municipalities routinely advertise jobs for cleaners with a note saying they would prefer Christian applicants. And defending their rights is not popular. When Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, visited Noreen in prison and urged her release, he was branded an apostate by fundamentalist groups. And in the fundamentalist view, apostasy, like blasphemy, is punishable by death.

The Lahore High Court has taken the controversial step of saying that it won’t allow President Asif Ali Zardari to issue a pardon, a move that legal experts have said is unconstitutional.  Her family is now hoping that the higher courts will strike down the death sentence, or that she will eventually secure a pardon.  And the fear doesn’t end there. While no one has been executed for blasphemy yet, 32 people – including two judges – have been slain by vigilantes. At Friday prayers this week, Yousef Qureshi, a hardline cleric from the Mohabat Khan mosque in Peshawar, offered a reward of 500,000 rupees ($5,800) to “those who kill Aasia Bibi.” Even if pardoned, Rehman notes grimply, Noreen will no longer be able to to live in her community. For her own safety, she will have to be moved – simply for defending her right to choose her own faith.

Read the Rest.

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