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In Bahawalpur, Pakistan, rumours of a man having burnt pages of the Quran led to a mob of over a thousand enraged Muslims grabbing the man from a police station and delivering Islamic justice to him. This 'justice' entailed him being doused with petrol and burnt alive.

muslim-islam-burn-blasphemer pakistan
Burnt Alive

Such a gruesome act of barbarity based on a sick mob mentality reminds one of the witch burnings that gripped Europe in the Middle Ages. They play witness to a psychosis prevalent in a society. The Pakistani society, in which such modern-day barbarity keeps reoccurring, is indeed gripped by such a sickness at the moment.

In the last few weeks, this was just one of multiple similar incidents that made the news. Others include a very similar attempted lynching of a blasphemy accused at a Karachi police station that fortunately was repulsed. Near Quetta too an enraged mob of believers attacked a police station and attempted to lynch a accused blasphemer there. One person died in that frenzy.

In these cases, the mob is insisting on carrying out what is, in fact, a law in Pakistan, namely the killing of blasphemers under the 295 codes of the penal law.

In this latest case of lynching of alleged blasphemers, the police have also been ordered not to charge any of the rioters and lynch mob, although the dead blasphemer has not been spared criminal charges. A Pakistani newspaper reports:

Meanwhile, the Channi Goth police have registered cases against the alleged blasphemer and 1,180 hooligans, including 80 identified ones. However, the FIR against the hooligans has been sealed on the directions of the police high-ups. No accused was arrested till the filing of this report.

This is the strange working of the Pakistani 'justice' system in action. Back in 2006, there was another lynching of an accused blasphemer in the same Bahawalpur, and again a similar course of justice was followed by the courts:

Meanwhile, it was learnt that a case under the Blasphemy Act had been registered against deceased Hafiz Qamar Javed and injured Muhammad Sadiq while no case was registered against the assailants.

The Pakistani police and courts only encourage, reward and enable mob lynching of anyone, accused of blasphemy or damaging a Quran, by such a policy and are an accessory to these crimes too.

This craziness in Pakistan is so thoroughly entrenched that it is also extremely dangerous for anyone criticising these laws or proposing amendments of them. Earlier in 2011, politician Sherry Rahman from the PPP bravely tried to have these 295 laws amended. But after repeated death threats against her, the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, and her own party's buckling ended up withdrawing her bill.

Fanatics murdering blasphemers are carefully following the footsteps of the early followers of the Prophet of Islam, who used to order assassination of his critics, and praised those amongst his followers who used followed carry out his orders in barbaric manners. Some examples are narrated below:

Abu Afak an elderly Jewish man who petitioned the Medinans to leave Muhammad got on the nerves of the Prophet who said to some of his followers "Who will deal with this rascal for me?"

Salim Ibn Umayr who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in Badr, said, "I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu Afak or die before him. He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu Afak slept in an open place. Salim Ibn Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people who were his followers, rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him.

Later Asma Bint Marwan, a woman, who composed verses ridiculing the prophet for his barbarity came under the radar of Muhammad. He said "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" `Umayr b. `Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her. In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, "You have helped God and His apostle, O `Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her", so `Umayr went back to his people.

Another case is this one but there are also many more:

Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4349

Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.

Certainly those who are killing blasphemers got the idea from the teachings of Islam that this is the proper way to behave in regard to blasphemy and the Pakistani state too has this idea codified in its 295 laws too.

This barbarity follows from a literalist following of the teachings of Islam which themselves are evil, barbaric and inhumane. As long as populations are subjugated to Islamic rule such barbaric incidences will only continue again and again.

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Related reading:

  1. Qadri, Taseer and Ilm-ud-din – History in Circles
  2. Why Taliban blow up a Jama Masjid full of Muslim worshippers?