Tahir Ashrafi (left) with other Muslim extremist leaders
Three articles were brought to BPCA's attention recently. The first two were articles in the New Pakistan online newspaper by Mahmood Adeel, and ably express why we should be very sceptical about the words of Tahir Ashrafi, the Islam(icist) spokesperson and leader who is widely quoted as being in support of Rimsha. Basically, it says the case against Rimsha was a PR disaster for the Muslim extremist movement and the blasphemy law, and they have recognized this. So they are making supportive noises about the Rimsha case, talking of justice, of prosecutions on those making false charges, on the need for full and free investigations by the law and order forces, and the need to curb abuses. This is a PR tactic to try and blunt our and other calls for the blasphemy laws to be massively reformed or abolished. It is, in short a manipulative charm offensive.
Those who are praising Ashrafi for his words should read this and his follow up article here.
While the law is on the books, it is a means of oppression of minorities and the settling of vendettas. The Guardian has an excellent article which touches upon some of the ways the Blasphemy Law has such a fearful effect. It also notes the subtle duplicity of supposedly supportive comments on the Rimsha case by Islamic Mullah's. As the articles says, even if you are found innocent, you are blighted for life. All it takes is an announcement from the loud-speakers of a mosque. The Rimsha case is the only case so far where the false accuser has been arrested and charged. In case after case, even when it is proved that Muslim accusers were the ones who desecrated the Quran, they get away with it. Scot free.
The article is excellent in reproducing a little of the effects on free speech by repeatedly saying that it can't mention what was 'blasphemous' because the author would then be charged with blasphemy. It notes how in the case of Rimsha, all it took is to take a bag of trash to a a rubbish dump. In other cases, a Muslim disagreeing with other Muslims about conjugal rights leads to 10 months and counting in prison as an alleged 'blasphemer'. Spelling mistakes in a school test. Writing a children's book with a lion as a central character. Throwing a way a visitors card - like a doctor did. The card of the medicine salesman had his name - Mohammed.
The article also accurately portrays how so many mosques are not really places of worship so much as local battle centres from which hordes of madrassa students can be sent out to terrorize perceived enemies, like Christians and other vulnerable minorities.
Christian businessmen fuss over every scrap of paper, because the wrong paper in the trash can, found by a Muslim servant, can mean ruin and perhaps death for you and your family.
The article notes that 'Christian work' - ie sweeping and cleaning etc - is no longer so much Christian work because with the economy so bad, Muslims now want these jobs.
For the full article, click here.