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Monday, 7 March 2011

Muslim Leaders condemn Blasphemy Law of Pakistan that are a product of un-Islamic despotism

Dear Mr Chowdhry,

I am writing on behalf of MECO (Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford) to express our strongest support and unequivocal solidarity on the unpardonable assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, a loyal and dedicated son of Pakistan.

MECO is a multi-ethnic and inter-denominational Islamic body that is dedicated to the promotion of a pluralistic and progressive Islam that is based on the supreme Qur’an, not on suspect secondary sources. (

The following comments were made as part of the weekly prayers at the Oxford Islamic Congregation that was held last Friday, 4th March 2011. Imam Dr Taj Hargey’s delivered the formal sermon and after dealing first with the theological purpose for God’s creation, he then spoke at great length about recent events in Libya and Pakistan that have dominated the news headlines. With respect to the deep grief the Christian community in your homeland is currently experiencing, the Imam said the following (this is a verbatim transcript):


"Turning to Pakistan. It seems that there is not a single week when that blighted nation is not sinking ever deeper into the abyss. Once again, Pakistan is in the news this week for yet another brutal killing, this time of the country’s only Christian cabinet minister. This utterly detestable murder a few days ago has confirmed Pakistan’s headlong descent into madness and intolerance. The Minorities Minister, Shahbaz Bhatti was shot dead by gunmen who ambushed his car in broad daylight in the capital, Islamabad.

Mr Bhatti was a leading politician in incumbent Pakistan People's Party (PPP), and had just left his mother's home in a suburb of the capital when several heavily armed gunmen surrounded his vehicle and pummeled it with bullets. According to news reports, the minister had no visible security detail nor a standard armoured car that is provided for senior government ministers. Why this was so when Bhatti’s life had been repeatedly threatened remains a mystery and suggests a conspiracy within the Establishment.

At the bloody scene of Bhatti’s murder, numerous pamphlets approving of this extra-judicial execution was left by al-Qaida and Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab, which later claimed responsibility for the attack. Their spokesman justified the killing on spurious theological grounds by claiming that ‘this man was a known blasphemer of the Prophet Muhammad. We will continue to target all those who speak against the law which punishes those who insult the Prophet. Their fate will be the same’.

Their murderous intent assumes the veneer of a religious crusade, but this is clearly not countenanced by the Holy Qur’an. In fact, Pakistan's blasphemy laws have been designed to target not only Christian but also Ahmadi Muslims as well as other dissident believers who have been summarily condemned and branded as heretics. The appalling consequences of these man-made rules that were first conjured up by General Zia ul-Haq have succeeded in sending shivers down the collective spine of Pakistan. Very few now has the moral conviction or political temerity to face down these ignorant fundamentalists and militant fanatics who have brought Islam into such disrepute.

This most recent political assassination indicates that there is now only one prominent Pakistani politician willing to oppose the baseless blasphemy laws bequeathed by the discredited General Zia ul-Haq. Of the three brave Pakistani politicians who stood up for Aasia Bibi, an embattled Christian woman condemned to death for supposedly insulting Islam, only one remains alive: Sherry Rehman. This liberal parliamentarian from Karachi, known for her outspoken views, boldly spearheaded efforts to reform Zia’s un-Qur’anic blasphemy laws after Aasia Bibi was found guilty for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Sherry Rehman was joined in her noble struggle by only two other public-spirited men – the Punjab governor, Salman Taseer, and the Pakistan minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti. Now both of these courageous stalwarts are dead, killed by Muslim extremists, who have been brainwashed and conditioned by a backward clergy that they will be rewarded with 72 virgins in the next life.

After the brutal murder of the Christian minister, there is mounting concern that Sherry Rehman is next. Since Taseer was gunned down by his own guard outside an Islamabad cafe on 4 January, the feisty female maverick has been forced to lived in hiding. She spent most of the time inside her Karachi home, surrounded by police and has been advised by senior government ministers to flee Pakistan to forestall any assassination. But she is no coward and has declared that she is going nowhere.

It is worth repeating that there is no doubt that the blasphemy laws introduced by the repressive Zia al-Haq regime are in total defiance of what the Qur’an actually teaches. They were designed by a malevolent clergy that seeks to impose its own un-Qur'anic despotism upon all Muslims. There has been and there is no crime such as blasphemy in Islam’s sacred scripture. This artificial edict that has been manufactured to pander to the Pakistan’s rabid clergy and does not benefit Muslims in the slightest. In fact, the Muslim clergy and their followers will face the wrath of God for usurping the exclusive prerogatives of the Creator. No one, the Qur'an says, has any right to pronounce on the belief of others and there is no penalty for disbelieving in the Lord. God alone is the judge not any mortals (Qur'an 1:3)

After killing judges who acquit those charged with the fake crime of blasphemy, Pakistani militants are now targeting elected representatives, who instead of opposing these reprobates, are running for cover. Since the Bibi furore erupted, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party has pusillanimously avoided the subject, deserting all politicians who publicly support religious reform. Salman Taseer, who found himself isolated in the last weeks of his life, has not to date been accorded the usual recognition for slain leaders in Pakistan’s parliament. Indeed, even allies and comrades who privately backed his stand have been cowed into submission and silence.

While some Pakistanis wish to debate if it was right to call for the repeal of the manufactured blasphemy laws, history illustrates all too well with the repulsive killing of Shabaz Bhatti that Pakistan's rampant forces of extremism and fanaticism will wait as long as necessary before they strike again to take out the next scapegoat. This is in line with a perverted and misguided ideology that is pedalled by the Muslim clergy. But it is important to stress that all decent and thinking Muslims the world over condemn without reservation the heinous murder of Shabaz Bhatti. We must firmly demonstrate our resolute resistance to Pakistan's invented blasphemy legislation that has no sanction whatsoever or legitimacy in the Holy Qur’an. We must support all those who are campaigning for its immediate repeal.

When Salman Taseer was killed two months ago, we here at the Oxford Islamic congregation presented compelling Qur’anic evidence in the Friday sermon here to prove that blasphemy as well as its 'religious' punishment is a non-existent crime in the Holy Qur'an. This false law has more to do with the corrupt politics and venal clergy of Pakistan than it has to do with authentic Islam. For this overriding reason, all true Muslims mourn the untimely death of Shahbaz Bhatti and demand that his killers be brought to justice. They should be thrown into jail and told that there will be not be 72 virgins - according to the fantastical and forged hadith - awaiting them in heaven. On the contrary, only hell and damnation will be their deserved destiny in conformity with Islam’s transcendent text, which reminds people that whoever kills someone unjustly, it is as if they have killed all of humanity (5:32).

So, let us raise our hands in prayer and let us all together recite the Islamic supplication Muslims say whenever someone dies. Let us all utter this sincere supplication in the blessed name and memory of Shabaz Bhatti, whose was life was deliberately cut short by Muslim criminals:


End of Dr Hargey's sermon dealing with Pakistan.


Will you please acknowledge receipt of this communication? You are at liberty to use this statement of support as you deem fit. It is important the world knows that not all Muslims are fanatical and fundamentalists. The majority has sadly been led astray be a distorted and toxic version of Islam that we at MECO are combating.

Once again, please convey the sincere condolences of the MECO community here in Oxford to the family and friends of Shabaz Bhatti.

Salaam and regards,

MECO administrator

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