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(165 Posts)
varian Mon 05-Nov-18 10:16:28

In Pakistan and many other countries, blasphemy is a crime punishable by the death penalty. The Asia Bibi blasphemy case involves Pakistani Christian woman Aasiya Noreen, who was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court and was sentenced to death by hanging in 2010. In October 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted her based on insufficient evidence. Her husband has appealed to Theresa May for refuge as protests grow.

Should blasphemy ever be a crime, let alone one punishable by death?

Anniebach Mon 05-Nov-18 10:20:36

The last blasphemy case in this country I can recall involved Mary Whitehouse , no one was shot or hanged

varian Mon 05-Nov-18 10:44:15

You are right Annie. At one time blasphemy was a capital offence in this country, but most would now consider that barbaric.

In January 2008, a spokesman for prime minister Gordon Brown announced that the government would consider supporting the abolition of the blasphemy laws during the passage of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. The government consulted with the Church of England and other churches before reaching a decision. The move followed a letter written to The Daily Telegraph at the instigation of MP Evan Harris and the National Secular Society and was signed by leading figures including Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, who urged that the laws be abandoned.

On 5 March 2008, an amendment was passed to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 which abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel in England and Wales. The peers also voted for the laws to be abandoned during March. The Act received royal assent on 8 May 2008, and the relevant section came into force on 8 July 2008.

Luckygirl Mon 05-Nov-18 10:51:48

And quite right too!!

Anniebach Mon 05-Nov-18 11:00:01

What was the point of the O/P

varian Mon 05-Nov-18 11:08:52

The point was to highlight the dangers of religious extremism, to ask whether, although blasphemy can offend some people, it should ever be a criminal offence, and to plead for this woman and her family to be given refuge here.

When I read about the abolition of our blasphemy laws ten years ago, I was heartened to see that the then Archbishop of Canterbury supported the move.

Ten years ago we may have been a more tolerant country than we are now. Let's be careful that the various groups (religious and other) currently lobbying for special legal protection, are not indulged to the extent of criminalising blasphemy again.

Jalima1108 Mon 05-Nov-18 11:36:13

We cannot decide other country's laws.

However, we can intervene by persuading the authorities in her country to let her leave and by giving this woman and her family sanctuary in this country.

It is the moral and right thing to do.

Jalima1108 Mon 05-Nov-18 11:38:01

Imran Khan is experienced in Western ways and I hope that he will be able to bring more tolerance to his country now that he is PM.

Oldwoman70 Mon 05-Nov-18 11:38:55

I am a Christian and sometimes see and hear things which I personally find offensive, however, I respect the right of others to voice their opinion of my religion (or any religion). Blasphemy should never again be a criminal offence.

B9exchange Mon 05-Nov-18 11:44:53

My heart goes out to this woman and her family. Imran Khan did not support them, allowing the appeal to overturn her release to go ahead because he wanted to stop the riots. I just want to smuggle her and her family out in a helicopter and give them a home where they will be safe, and can practice their religion in peace. Surely that is a basic human right that the United Nations should be supporting?

Anniebach Mon 05-Nov-18 12:03:02

As there is no death penalty in this country varian do you realy think special privileges are going to be given for some to carry it out .

Izabella Mon 05-Nov-18 12:13:42

Religion - the world of tolerance - NOT.

varian Mon 05-Nov-18 12:16:25

Certainly not Annie - I don't see anyone here suggesting bringing back the death penalty for blasphemy and I hope, as Oldwoman says, that blasphemy never again becomes a crime here.

eazybee Mon 05-Nov-18 14:03:55

I was shocked by the scenes of violent protest after this unfortunate woman was acquitted of the charge of blasphemy, and shocked by Imran Khan's capitulation in the face of them. I doubt if this woman will ever be freed, and wonder how long her life will be spared.
Such hatred provoked by differing religious views.

Anniebach Mon 05-Nov-18 14:15:00

Perhaps blasphemy could come under hate crimes

Anniebach Mon 05-Nov-18 14:20:40

What could Imran Khan do?

Ilovecheese Mon 05-Nov-18 14:21:27

Blasphemy should not be a crime of any sort.

Jalima1108 Mon 05-Nov-18 14:48:57

What could Imran Khan do?

The right thing in a difficult situation; he is capitulating and appeasing the mobs and I thought he could have done far more than he has.

Anniebach Mon 05-Nov-18 15:50:04

But what Jalima? he is PM

Nonnie Mon 05-Nov-18 16:27:33

I think I heard that, to stop the riots, the government agreed that she would never be allowed to leave Pakistan. Judging by what we saw on TV she will either have to spend the rest of her life in prison or be murdered by vigilantes.

It seems to me there are parts of the Muslim communities which have no tolerance for any view but their own, think ISIS or whatever the PC name now is.

Whoever said "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" was imo right.

Alexa Mon 05-Nov-18 17:17:14

It's a pity that islamist fascism in countries like Pakistan gives Islam a bad name

M0nica Mon 05-Nov-18 17:46:44

A strong and confident religion, dismisses blasphemy with a shrug. Not much choice in the UK anyway, where it is a daily occurrence.

I struggle with Islam. As a child I lived in Malaysia and Singapore where all the main religions were present in the community without friction, we all celebrated every religions major festivals. I went to school with muslim and Hindu girls, work colleagues of my parents were Muslims, and Hindu and we socialised together

But at the heart of Islam is the belief that we are all born Muslims and anyone who does not embrace the religion is an apostate, who should at best be shunned. As with most religions, its followers usually ignore its more extreme teachings and get on with everybody, but this belief is there and the rise of extremist Islamic sects, whether Wahabis in Saudi Arabia or ISIS, for some reason shows how it is now gathering adherents. the behaviour of Pakistanis on the clearing of Assia Bibi, shows how close to the surface these extreme views now run.

BlueBelle Mon 05-Nov-18 19:31:58

Monica I too lived in both those countries in the 60 s I found no problem apart from the Malays having a mosn about the Chinese taking their jobs ( ptpretty normal grumbles in all countries) but I was friendly with all the religions and never heard anything anti
I still miss hearing the call to pray on the still air

Iam64 Mon 05-Nov-18 20:11:50

Nonnie - Isis isn't a PC name, it hasn't changed. It's also known as Daesh, which the islamic state fighters dislike, they prefer Isis. I don't understand your reference to political correctness.
As for your suggestion that there are parts of the Muslim community with no tolerance for any view but there own - have you watched the Trump rallies in the USA in the build up to the Mid Terms. No tolerance whatsoever for views other than those supported by Mr T's base supporters.

M0nica Mon 05-Nov-18 21:37:25

Or Corbyn and Momentum?