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Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:50 PM

Pakistani Ambassador To The U.S. To Be Investigated For Blasphemy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/21/sherry-rehman-blasphemy-pakistan-ambassador_n_2734501.html

Sherry Rehman, the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States, is under investigation by Pakistani police for allegedly blasphemous remarks she made more than two years ago on a Pakistani talk show, Agence France-Press reports. If convicted, Rehman could be sentenced to death.

A senior police official confirmed to AFP on Tuesday that authorities had begun investigating Rehman on orders from the Pakistani Supreme Court.

...

In Pakistan, anyone who insults the Prophet (even indirectly or implicitly) can be given a death sentence or life imprisonment. Recently, a 14-year-old girl named Rimsha Masih was arrested and jailed for allegedly burning pages from the Quran. She was later freed after a Muslim cleric was accused of framing her.

...

While there have been no verified reports of anyone being officially executed, angry lynch mobs have reportedly bypassed the judicial system and carried out the executions themselves.


Go ahead. Try and tell me it isn't about religion.

33 replies, 1747 views

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply Pakistani Ambassador To The U.S. To Be Investigated For Blasphemy (Original post)
trotsky Feb 2013 OP
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #1
skepticscott Feb 2013 #2
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #4
skepticscott Feb 2013 #5
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #6
skepticscott Feb 2013 #8
LeftishBrit Feb 2013 #10
skepticscott Feb 2013 #11
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #12
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #13
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #14
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #15
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #16
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #17
trotsky Feb 2013 #18
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #19
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #20
cleanhippie Mar 2013 #23
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #7
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #3
LeftishBrit Feb 2013 #9
struggle4progress Mar 2013 #21
trotsky Mar 2013 #22
struggle4progress Mar 2013 #24
trotsky Mar 2013 #25
struggle4progress Mar 2013 #26
trotsky Mar 2013 #27
struggle4progress Mar 2013 #28
trotsky Mar 2013 #30
struggle4progress Mar 2013 #33
struggle4progress Mar 2013 #29
trotsky Mar 2013 #31
struggle4progress Mar 2013 #32

Response to trotsky (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 03:01 PM

1. And as expected, crickets from the theists.

Color me surprised.

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Response to trotsky (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 03:28 PM

2. Hey, it's a very "complex" issue

But I'm sure a few hours on Google will whitewash the responsibility of religion..

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:20 PM

4. I expect everyone here opposes criminalization of religious or irreligious views,

though this particular case has its ironies and the best political attack on particular law might be indirect

The irony of this case is that the ambassador is being accused of blasphemy because of her efforts to repeal portions of the blasphemy law

And setting religious issues completely aside for a moment, it seems to be the case that this blasphemy law is so vague that no one really knows what does or does not constitute blasphemy, which makes the law a convenient vehicle for political oppression -- as might be expected from the fact that General al-Haq promulgated the law as part of his effort to win support for his military government after his overthrow of Bhutto in 1979

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:57 PM

5. Even if "everyone here" does oppose that

So what? That's not remotely the issue, as we both know.

And yes, I'm sure you and a lot of others here would like to set religious issues aside completely...but without religion there would BE no blasphemy laws in the first place...vague, specific, convenient, inconvenient or otherwise.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:19 PM

6. The military dictatorship added the blasphemy law to the Constitution in 1986, so one can

say the blasphemy law is a result of the military dictatorship. And since the al-Haq government depended on support from the Reagan administration, one can also say that the blasphemy law is a result of American support for the military dictatorship in the 1980s

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:43 PM

8. And how would they have justified

a "blasphemy" law in the first place, if not for the rampant belief that there are supernatural beings out there whose feewings can be hurt?

Try again. Google is your friend.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 06:11 PM

10. They wouldn't have justified a blasphemy law...

however, countries can have very similar laws against sedition and the defamation of political figures. Almost any ideology can be distorted to suppress and control people and deny them freedom of expression.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 06:51 PM

11. Well, unless Allah or Mohammed

is a political figure in those countries, it's not really the same thing, is it?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:44 PM

12. Your framing is most unwise: no one in Pakistan, for example, could argue against the blasphemy

law, on the grounds that there are no supernaturals. But there is a different and entirely principled argument against the law, that avoids your silly pratfall: it is to argue that the real object of the blasphemy law is not actually to fight blasphemy but to dangle a sword threateningly over the heads of political opponents

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 06:19 AM

13. That would, however, be a complete mischaracterisation of the law

and we know that, because it's used against private individuals, such as the 14 year old mentioned in the OP.

The law is a bit of pandering to religious fanatics; look at its effect - people get killed by renegade guards, mobs, or in prison. It's not a convenient way of attacking political opponents; it's a way of allowing mob rule to attack people that they hate for religious reasons. The law has widespread support in the religious lunatic faction in Pakistan, which is considerable. Look at the support the killer of the governor got:

Mr. RASHID: Well, a very large number of lawyers have sided with the killer. They more than 1,000 lawyers have signed up to defend Muhammad Mumtaz Qadri, the police official who shot Salman Taseer 26 times a few days ago. Liberal lawyers are horrified by what has happened, but they are very quiet because everybody now is very scared.

One of the religious extremist organizations issued a threat to the daughter of Salman Taseer because she had given an interview to the BBC and she had written an article, and one of these religious groups issued a death threat to her. And this religious leader has not been arrested and likewise, all those defending the killer, there's been no action taken against them.

INSKEEP: I want to make sure I clarify what we're talking about here, because if you're a lawyer, obviously any defendant is entitled to a defense, is entitled to a lawyer. That's part of the legal system. Are you saying these 1,000 lawyers who've signed up on behalf of the defendant are going beyond legal advocacy here?

Mr. RASHID: Well, yes, because what they're doing is that they're expressing their political point of view, which is that they believe that the killer was totally justified in killing the governor. And they're expressing their support for the killer and they're expressing their support for what he said, which was I stand by the blasphemy law. I'm a slave of the Prophet Mohammed and I will do whatever he says. Now those few words that he uttered as he was being put into a police car is what has really motivated these lawyers to defend him.

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/14/132924332/Pakistani-Lawyers-Make-Governors-Assassin-A-Hero


This is about religion. It's pointless for you to try and makes excuses about it. No-one believes you.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 07:04 AM

14. Human Rights First Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Universal Periodic Review: Pakistan 2012

... The laws serve to stifle discussion and dissent; spark outbreaks of mob violence; violate freedom of religion, thought or belief; and are used as a weapon to settle private disputes ... Such abuse is supported by legal procedures wherein allegations of blasphemy require neither proof of intent nor the presentation of evidence. Bail is often denied, and there is no punishment for rendering false allegations ... Pakistan’s blasphemy laws provide a context in which the government and non-state actors can prevent the peaceful expression of political or religious views, including those on the role of religion in law, society, and the state. By restricting those essential freedoms in the name of protecting religion from defamation, the government is able to stifle the healthy debate and discussion of ideas and essentially determine which ideas are acceptable and which are not. Politicians, teachers and students, clergy and congregants, writers and journalists, web and social media users, religious converts and others have suffered prosecution for exercising their right to freedom of expression ... The loose and unclear language of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws — along with procedures which allow private individuals to initiate blasphemy cases without prosecutorial or judicial review — provide dangerous ammunition to those who have used them to victimize individuals and as a weapon in private disputes. Accusations of blasphemy are often the byproducts of disputes between neighbors, colleagues, political opponents, religious and academic leaders, and business associates whose dealings have become adversarial. Given the severity of the punishment provided under these laws, the ease with which one may initiate a proceeding raises serious concerns of due process and the right to a fair trial ... On April 10, 2011, Gulzar Masih, a Christian book store owner and his son were forced to flee their home after being accused of blasphemy by a former business rival. On April 5, 2011, Arif Masih was arrested after being falsely accused of tearing pages from the Koran. The accusations stemmed
from a land dispute with a neighbor. Scores of cases of this nature have been filed ...
pdf

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 07:44 AM

15. Your political analysis seems naive to me. It is, first of all, entirely clear that politicians

throughout history have incited mob violence as a way of consolidating power: the nazis are perhaps the most obvious recent example, but there are plenty of others, including the segregationist "heroes" of the southern US states in the Jim Crow era, or the Serbian nationalists during the 1990s wars in the Balkans. The people willing to use such tactics are usually not especially touchy about what popular prejudices they seek to inflame and incite, and there is no question historically that religious differences have often been used for this purpose -- but dragon's teeth have also be sown frequently along ethnic, linguistic, national, racial and other sociological furrows, and in many societies such furrows are frequently correlated for historical reasons

Secondly, I made the point (in the post to which you are replying) that an attack on the blasphemy laws, on the grounds that they constitute a form of religious bigotry, does not seem to be a viable option for Pakistanis, because they could immediately be subject to prosecutions under the blasphemy laws: an in-country attack (which is the only attack that can succeed) against the blasphemy laws must therefore proceed on an entirely different basis

Thirdly, I made the point (in the post to which you are replying) that vague laws, with opaque scope, can be used to serve the people in power who enforce those laws, since such laws are difficult to defend against if a prosecution is lodged: the accused has in advance little option to avoid the operation of the law, since nobody knows exactly what the law entails. This means that political opponents and persons holding minority views always exist in a state of uncertainty, which effectively imposes substantial limits on their human freedoms. Vague laws, of opaque scope, are always the handmaidens of totalitarian government. Since these arguments can be phrased without reference to religion, this was the direction from which I suggested the in-country attack against the blasphemy laws should proceed

To judge from your reply, you evidently do not believe that the blasphemy laws can be used in any way except to enforce religious conformity. Various human rights organizations disagree with you, and I have posted an excerpt and link to an example immediately upthread. Notice that I am NOT claiming "the blasphemy laws are not used to enforce religious conformity" but rather that they are flexible enough to admit other uses and that they are put to other uses

To judge from your reply, you also evidently believe I am trying to "make excuses" of some sort: frankly, I have not the slightest idea what has set you off in that direction, because all I did (in the post to which you are replying) is to point out that no one in Pakistan can attack the blasphemy law on religious grounds without falling afoul of it and to indicate the Pakistanis therefore needed a different angle of attack. That seems to me a matter entirely amenable to rational inspection, and if you doubt my reasoning you are of course free to exhibit what you consider its flaws; on the other hand, I see no way to judge the truth of your assertion No one believes you, which I can only find rather irrelevant to the discussion

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #15)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 12:10 PM

16. "it is to argue that the real object of the blasphemy law is not actually to fight blasphemy"

That's what you got wrong. It WAS what you were arguing. The object of the law is to make blasphemy punishable, and that is how it is frequently used. It is possible that in a few cases, it has been used "to dangle a sword threateningly over the heads of political opponents", but that is not its object. It is primarily a religious law. It is used against private individuals, and by private individuals, as your own quote in #14 shows. The human rights organisations do not disagree with me.

skepticscott was saying there could not be a blasphemy law without religion; and yet you claimed to say that was a 'silly pratfall'. Simply, he was right, and it is in no way a 'pratfall'; but your intervention in this thread seems to be an attempt to divert blame away from the religious zealots trying to enforce this law (the man trying to get Rehman prosecuted is a private inidividual), and to claim instead that it's about repression from the Reagan era. That is what you are convincing no-one about.

Pakistan has millions of Islamic zealots who want to kill people for blasphemy (we know its millions, because the killings happen, and no-one dares reform the law, because it still has too much support). You need to face up to this fact.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:46 PM

17. How to commit blasphemy in Pakistan

The country's blasphemy law is overwhelmingly being used to persecute religious minorities and settle personal vendettas ...
Mohammed Hanif
The Guardian, Wednesday 5 September 2012 15.00 EDT

... 2. Discussing conjugal rights according to Islam with fellow Muslims if you disagree with them. You might think you are with a fellow Muslim, around a water pump and relatively safe. That is what a schoolteacher in Chakwal thought. And got into an argument. He has been in jail for the past 10 months. His 14-year-old daughter told the daily newspaper Dawn last week that kids won't talk to her because her father is a blasphemer.

3. Not minding your spellings. Last year a teacher checking exam papers called in the police after he found blasphemous material in an answer sheet. The police wouldn't reveal the exact material because that, you know, would be blasphemous. Later it transpired that it was a case of bad spelling ...

5. Writing a children's poem with a lion as its central character. Pakistan's most famous social activist, Akhtar Hameed Khan, who spent his life helping people in Asia's largest slum, tried his hand at a poem like that and spent his last years in courts facing blasphemy charges ...

7. Throwing away a visiting card. A doctor in Hyderabad did that to a pestering pharmaceutical salesman and found himself in serious trouble. The salesman had Muhammad as part of his name ...

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:07 PM

18. Nice try, but without religion, there is no blasphemy.

Try as you might, you can't whitewash reality.

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:59 PM

19. "overwhelmingly being used to persecute religious minorities and settle personal vendettas"

not as a political tool.

QED.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #19)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:40 AM

20. You omit to notice that the law requires government action for its operation and

that, as a result of the vagueness of the law and the opacity of that operation, a blasphemy prosecution can easily serve as a "mystifying" veneer, concealing the issues that underlie the prosecution

Misleading explanations, that obscure and "mystify" the real meanings of acts, do not occur only in interpersonal disputes: such "mystifications" are common in politics and in social explanations of traditional institutions, and the effect of the "mystifications" is to misdirect attention from what is actually happening

Finding a plausible personal-dispute motive for a blasphemy complaint, for example, provides reasonable grounds for suspicion that the complaint involves something other than outraged religious sensitivities

Once one realizes that the law can be used to accomplish such hidden ends, one ought to wonder just how wide the possible range of motives for "blasphemy" prosecution could actually be in practice



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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 11:18 AM

23. "your intervention in this thread seems to be an attempt to divert blame away from the religious.."

your intervention in this thread seems to be an attempt to divert blame away from the religious zealots trying to enforce this law (the man trying to get Rehman prosecuted is a private inidividual), and to claim instead that it's about...



Winner.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:32 PM

7. Reagan legacy lingers in Afghanistan, Pakistan

Jun 15, 2004
By M B Naqvi
... The state of Afghanistan has actually been destroyed, and the blame for it lies, to an indeterminate extent, on Reagan's thoughtless but enthusiastic support of the Afghan jihad throughout the 1980s. He fomented and abated the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan that is now threatening this country's stability ...

But what was being done in Afghanistan was done through the help and instrumentality of the Pakistan army. The first requirement of the 1979 war in Afghanistan was people imbued with anti-communist zeal. Pakistan helped manufacture as well as mobilize the Islamic extremists and trained and indoctrinated them into first-rate mujahideen.

The war was fought in the bogus name of Islam, funded and led mainly by the US government, though nominally by Afghanistan and Pakistani mujahideen ...

The Islam that Pakistanis knew was recognized on all sides, even by dictators, as being able to countenance democracy and all fundamental rights. But in the 1980s, the official propaganda by General Zia ul-Haq, the darling of Reagan and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was that Islam and democracy could not go together ...


http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/FF15Ak02.html

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Response to trotsky (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:03 PM

3. Pakistan ambassador to US faces blasphemy probe

Pakistan ambassador to US faces blasphemy probe
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iZLyeWfHtcZb1qPWeoeOvHG_P3tg?docId=CNG.b57546d9aa12ec969e5cf47ffb487012.7b1
(AFP) – 5 days ago
... A lawyer representing Rehman, Abid Hasan Minto, told AFP an appeal had been filed in the Supreme Court against the order to investigate the case ...



'I Need A Good Lawyer': Pakistan’s Ambassador To US May Face Blasphemy Charge
http://www.ibtimes.com/i-need-good-lawyer-pakistans-ambassador-us-may-face-blasphemy-charge-1101061
BY Palash R. Ghosh | February 22 2013 12:54 PM
... BBC Urdu reported that Gill claimed Rehman committed blasphemy during a television appearance in November 2010 in which she was discussing the need to reform and ease Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws ... Rehman has also rubbed conservatives the wrong way by proposing bills in parliament that were designed to increase the rights of women, to impose tougher punishment for those who commit honor killings and to guarantee the freedom of the press. Appointed ambassador to Washington in November 2011, Rehman is a close ally of President Asif Ali Zardari ... “<The blasphemy law> was designed as an instrument of persecution,” Ali Hasan Dayan, of Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, said. “It's discriminatory and abusive” ...



Blasphemy case against Sherry
... In 2010, Rehman had faced death threats from militant groups for seeking changes in the blasphemy law. She was forced by the PPP to drop a plan to move a bill in parliament to abolish the death penalty for blasphemy ... Rights groups have said the law is often misused to persecute minorities like Christians and to settle personal scores. Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and minority affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, were assassinated in 2011 shortly after they called for reforms in the law ... The charge is difficult to defend since blasphemy is not defined and courts often hesitate to hear evidence, fearful that reproducing it will also be blasphemy ...

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Response to trotsky (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 06:08 PM

9. It's about theocratic religion

Pakistan is a country where the extremist fundies who want to go back to the 10th century are battling against people who want to live in the real world in modern times. It's a bit simplistic IMO to look at it in terms of religious vs non-religious: most of the progressives and sane people are also believers and Muslims, just not of the insane variety (just as most Christians aren't like Pat Robertson or Ian Paisley, and most Jews aren't like the Kahanists or even Naftali Bennett). Benazir Bhutto, Malala Yousoufzai, and Sherry Rehman are/ were all Muslims; just not insane theocratic nutcases.



Rehman's alleged crime is to have spoken against the anti-blasphemy laws; I suspect that an additional crime is to be a powerful female.


I hope that the saner voices in Pakistan defeat the far-right theocrats.

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Response to trotsky (Original post)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 03:58 AM

21. The Kafkaesque reality of Pakistan's blasphemy laws

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, is under police investigation for alleged blasphemy after making the case on television for the law to be re-examined and for the death penalty to be removed.
By Samira Shackle Published 28 February 2013 13:23
... Blasphemy laws in and of themselves are not unusual: many countries across the world have legislation which restricts what one can say about religion. The problem in Pakistan comes from the exceptionally harsh penalties, and the light burden of proof. The law sets out no guidance on what constitutes blasphemy, no standards for evidence, no requirement to prove intent, and no safeguards to punish those who make false allegations. This means that, essentially, the standard for blasphemy is whatever offends the accuser ...

Witnesses can refuse to repeat the alleged blasphemy in court, in case they themselves become culpable. There have been stories of judges refusing to hear evidence defending the accused for fear of offending religious zealots. Blasphemy is a non-compoundable crime, meaning that cases cannot be settled out of court. Once a charge is filed, it is difficult for the case to be quashed, and the accuser cannot simply drop charges. It is not unthinkable that someone could be accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death without ever being told exactly what they are meant to have said and thus being unable to disprove it ...

... Given the aforementioned problems with the blasphemy legislation, the media cannot report what Rehman is supposed to have said, in case newspapers fall foul of the law ...

Of course, parliamentary privilege covers lawmakers while they are actually in parliament – and when Rehman was speaking to Dunya TV, she clearly was not in the parliament building. But the fundamental fact remains: the blasphemy reform bill was passing through the legislature and a lawmaker is now facing charges for discussing it. A crucial part of a functioning democracy is the ability to openly and publicly debate significant legislative changes before they are passed into the statute book. If proposed legal changes cannot be openly discussed without politicians facing prosecution, it has serious ramifications for the very functioning of the Pakistani state. It is the public that will suffer if laws and policies can’t be debated and scrutinised ...

www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/02/kafkaesque-reality-pakistans-blasphemy-laws

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #21)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 09:51 AM

22. Without religion, there is no blasphemy.

Your whitewashing of the realities of religion only perpetuates its abuses and illustrates why it has such power to ruin lives.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #22)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 02:30 PM

24. Vague laws, operating opaquely, so that the accused may never even know the alleged factual basis

of the charge, are always dangerous to human rights

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #24)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 02:34 PM

25. And yet without religion, there is no blasphemy.

Those who refuse to see the common denominator, who so willfully and intentionally close their eyes when confronted with one of the root causes, are helping to enable those who would silence others and attack human rights.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #25)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 03:03 PM

26. And ... there would be no blasphemy laws if there were no laws!



Tautology and Contradiction
... A proposition shows what it has to say; tautologies and contradictions show that they have nothing to say ... Tautologies and contradictions are not images of reality. They do not represent possible situations, for the former admit all situations, and latter none. In a tautology the conditions of agreement with the world -- the embodying relations -- cancel one another, so that it does not express reality ... Tautology and contradiction are the limiting cases of sign combinations - their dissolution. Admittedly the signs are still combined with one another even in tautologies and contradictions. That is, they relate to one another. But these relations have no meaning ...

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #26)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 03:14 PM

27. And yet in the end, without religion, there can be no blasphemy.

Because people were executed for blasphemy before there were laws. Did you know that, in your crusade to deflect blame and protect the powerful?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #27)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 04:49 PM

28. I expect you'll never be troubled by having too many ideas or by the resulting problem

of sorting out the various possibilities that result

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #28)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 06:57 AM

30. I guess the only thing you have left now is to insult my intelligence.

Stay classy, s4p.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #30)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:36 AM

33. *snork*



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Response to trotsky (Original post)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 07:29 PM

29. Pastor in Pakistan Released on Bail After Blasphemy Accuser Admits to Mistake

By Morning Star News
February 28, 2013|10:37 am
... Karma Patras, a 55-year-old pastor of Bado Malhi, Sangla Hill, had been languishing in Sheikhupura District Jail since October after preaching on Christ's sacrifice at a funeral attended manly by Christians. Some Muslims present thought he was speaking against the Islamic animal slaughter ritual observed at the time, and Patras was confused when police showed up at his home later that day (Oct. 13) and arrested him on charges of defaming Islam.

Victims of false accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan usually spend months in jail without trial, and then many more months after conviction; if charges are dismissed, it does not usually happen until cases reach appeal, as most trial judges cannot withstand the pressure of furious Islamic extremists. Retraction of an accusation is also rare in Pakistan ...

The complainant in Patras' case, Syed Zulqarnain Shah, stated on Thursday (Feb. 21) in Sangla Hill Judicial Magisterial Court that he had mistakenly accused Patras of committing blasphemy against Islam and that he would have no objection if the pastor were released on bail.

The public prosecutor argued that Patras could not be released on bail due to Shah's retraction because the state was now the complainant in the case, the attorney said. The judge rejected this argument, saying that Shah was still the main witness so his statement was of pivotal importance. That Shah is no longer the official complainant in the case is presumably why the charges were not dismissed in spite of his retraction ...

http://global.christianpost.com/news/pastor-in-pakistan-released-on-bail-after-blasphemy-accuser-admits-to-mistake-90975/

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #29)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 07:00 AM

31. ...

"most trial judges cannot withstand the pressure of furious Islamic extremists"

Yup, religion. Thanks for confirming again. Hope someday you can take off the blinders and acknowledge that sometimes religion can inspire people to harm, too.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #31)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:26 AM

32. The prosecution here refused to drop the case after the complaint was withdrawn:

note also that the arrestee had little or no idea why he was arrested

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