Blasphemy and a law of fanatics

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As they went on their rampage, a organisation who killed 12 people in Paris this week yelled that they had “avenged a prophet.” They followed in a trail of other terrorists who have inebriated journal offices, stabbed a filmmaker and killed writers and translators, all to mete out what they trust is a scold Koranic punishment for blasphemy. But in fact, a Koran prescribes no punishment for blasphemy. Like so many of a many immoderate and aroused aspects of Islamic terrorism today, a thought that Islam requires that insults opposite a soothsayer Muhammad be met with assault is a origination of politicians and clerics to offer a domestic agenda.

One holy book is deeply endangered with blasphemy: a Bible. In a Old Testament, heresy and blasphemers are cursed and prescribed oppressive punishment. The best-known thoroughfare on this is Leviticus 24:16 : “Anyone who blasphemes a name of a Lord is to be put to death. The whole public contingency mill them. Whether immigrant or native-born, when they damn a Name they are to be put to death.”

By contrast, a word heresy appears nowhere in a Koran. (Nor, incidentally, does a Koran anywhere dissuade formulating images of Muhammad, yet there are commentaries and traditions — “hadith” — that do, to ensure opposite statue worship.) Islamic academician Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has forked out that “there are some-more than 200 verses in a Koran, that exhibit that a contemporaries of a prophets regularly perpetrated a same act, that is now called ‘blasphemy or abuse of a Prophet’ . . . though nowhere does a Koran allot a punishment of lashes, or death, or any other earthy punishment.” On several occasions, Muhammad treated people who ridiculed him and his teachings with bargain and kindness. “In Islam,” Khan says, “blasphemy is a theme of egghead contention rather than a theme of earthy punishment.”

Somebody forgot to tell a terrorists. But a hideous and bloody faith a jihadis have adopted is all too common in a Muslim world, even among supposed assuage Muslims — that heresy and apostasy are disgusting crimes opposite Islam and should be punished fiercely. Many Muslim-majority countries have laws opposite heresy and apostasy — and in some places, they are enforced.

Pakistan is now a print child for a anti-blasphemy debate left wild. In March, during slightest 14 people were on genocide quarrel in that country, and 19 were portion life sentences, according to a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The owners of a country’s largest media organisation has been condemned to 26 years in prison given one of his channels promote a eremite strain about Muhammad’s daughter while reenacting a wedding. (Really.) And Pakistan is not alone. Bangladesh, Malaysia, Egypt, Turkey and Sudan have all used heresy laws to jail and harass people. In assuage Indonesia, 120 people have been incarcerated for this reason given 2003. Saudi Arabia forbids a use of any sacrament other than a possess Wahhabi chronicle of Islam.

The Pakistani box is instructive, given a impassioned chronicle of anti-blasphemy law is comparatively new and a product of politics. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, Pakistan’s boss during a late 1970s and 1980s, wanted to marginalize a approved and magnanimous opposition, and he embraced Islamic fundamentalists, no matter how extreme. He upheld a array of laws Islamizing Pakistan, including a law that endorsed a genocide chastisement or life seizure for scornful Muhammad in any way.

When governments try to curry preference with fanatics, eventually a fanatics take a law into their possess hands. In Pakistan, jihadis have killed dozens of people whom they credit of blasphemy, including a dauntless politician, Salmaan Taseer, who dared to call a heresy law a “black law.”

We should quarrel terrorism. But we should also quarrel a source of a problem. It’s not adequate for Muslim leaders to reject people who kill those they cruise as blasphemers if their possess governments validate a thought of punishing heresy during a really same time. The U.S. eremite leisure elect and a U.N. Human Rights Committee have both announced that heresy laws violate concept tellurian rights given they violate leisure of debate and expression. They are correct.

In Muslim-majority countries, no one dares to dial behind these laws. In Western countries, no one confronts allies on these issues. But heresy is not a quite domestic matter, of regard usually to those who worry about countries’ inner affairs. It now sits on a bloody crotch between radical Islamists and Western societies. It can't be avoided anymore. Western politicians, Muslim leaders and intellectuals everywhere should indicate out that heresy is something that does not exist in a Koran and should not exist in a complicated world.

Read some-more from Fareed Zakaria’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

Read some-more on this issue:

Erik Wemple: Washington Post opinions territory publishes Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Charles Lane: Charlie Hebdo’s editors took large risks to urge leisure of expression

Ann Telnaes: The murdering of cartoonists

The Post’s View: Charlie Hebdo stands solidly for giveaway expression

Jim Hoagland: A mini-Sept. 11 for France

Jonathan Turley: Shut adult and play nice: How a Western universe is tying giveaway speech

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