TR.NEWS’ Shazia Hobbs looks at the topic of the criminalisation of Islamophobia and unearths some of the most poignant cases in which should be at the forefront of such a discussion…
“Resist it while you still can and before the right to complain is taken away from you, which will be the next thing. You will be told you can’t complain because you are Islamophobic.” Christopher Hitchens
In the UK, Muslims, mainly of Pakistani origin, have aligned with left-wing politicians and pressure groups and are pushing to criminalise ‘Islamophobia.’
At the same time in Pakistan, Christians are being arrested and jailed for blasphemy.
Remarkably this regressive move is receiving little challenge.
Asia Bibi, a Christian, was sentenced to death by hanging for blasphemy. She was acquitted in October 2018 due to insufficient evidence. Bibi had had an argument with a co-worker who accused her of blasphemy (she drank from the same cup as a Muslim), and this was deemed sufficient for Bibi to spend almost ten years in jail away from her children.
Her neighbours and Islamic leaders showed her no sympathy and called for her to be executed. Her release prompted huge protests and violence, as disgruntled Muslims vented their anger at her not being killed.
Is this what we want in the UK? A disagreement with the peaceful ones that can lead to accusations, beatings, killings and prison sentences?
Asia Bibi is not the only Christian to have been unfairly sentenced to death.
Stephen Masih was charged with blasphemy after two Muslim men claimed he made a derogatory remark against the prophet Mohammed.
Masih is mentally disabled due to typhoid fever in his childhood and lives with his mother and sister.
He is often violent and abusive towards his mother and sister and the accusations arose from a neighbour asking him why he was behaving like this towards them. Masih started arguing with the neighbour.
The next day a crowd of Muslim men arrived, dragged him out his home and started beating him. Mob mentality.
This mob mentality occurs wherever there is a large presence of Muslims and there is a suggestion of the insulting of Mohammed or Islam.
Many of us will never have heard of the 14-year-old Down’s syndrome, Christian girl who was arrested for blasphemy. The local Imam accused her of ripping pages from the Koran, a crime punishable by death. She spent three years in jail and when released had to flee to Canada with her family.
There are many cases of other mentally disabled Christians, as well as Muslims, wrongly prosecuted for blasphemy.
Mob mentality is dangerous and we see only too often how quick it can react and spiral out of control. This can lead to the murder of the person accused of blasphemy without any trial or evidence.
British Muslim, Muhammad Asghar aged 70, was also charged under the blasphemy law for claiming to be a prophet and sentenced to death, in 2010. His family said he was suffering from severe mental illness but a judge claimed he was normal. In 2014 a police officer entered his cell and shot him, breaking two of his ribs and puncturing his lungs. He recovered in hospital and was taken back to jail. As far as I can tell Asghar is still on death row.
Farkhunda Malikzada was murdered, in Afghanistan, by a baying mob as the police stood by and watched. Farkhunda was wrongly accused of being an American and of burning the Koran. It only took one man to shout she had burnt the Koran and the crowds appeared and start attacking her. ‘Kill her,’ someone cries. And kill her they did.
A crowd of over 100 men took part in the frenzied attack on Farkhunda, kicking, hitting her with sticks, running over her with a car, stoning her and then setting her body on fire. Sickeningly, all of this was filmed on mobile phones with many sharing it on social media and boasting they had taken part in this barbaric attack. I refuse to watch the video. All this in the name of Islam.
Farkhundha has become a martyr and for the first time ever in Afghanistan, women carried her coffin. They told the men they were not allowed to touch the coffin as they had stood by and watched as Farkhunda was murdered.
Mashal Khan was murdered by a baying mob at the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan after falsely being accused of blasphemy. Hundreds of students and some staff members of the university dragged him out of his room. He was beaten and then shot dead and his body mutilated. The crazy backward savages continued to attack his body after his death. They also filmed themselves doing this.
You only need to look to places like Birmingham, Bradford and Dewsbury to see how a baying crowd could attack and murder someone for blasphemy and yet our idiotic politicians think making Islamophobia a potential criminal issue is a good idea.
How can this end well?
Islam is a set of ideas that SHOULD be criticised unapologetically.
There are valid reasons that Islam is criticised and the fact that Muslims want that criticism criminalised highlights the number of problems that require urgent reform.
Rather than eradicate all the barbaric elements, why is the focus on attacking the people that criticise them?
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