Friday, September 28, 2012

Pakistan: President calls for International blasphemy laws

The louder they yell the more they get to join the team.  Forget about truth, it's the feeling, doncha know.

From DW September 26

Pakistani President blames the West

Asif Ali Zardari has denounced an anti-Islam film in his address to the UN General Assembly and called for an international ban on it. Analysts say that the Pakistani president's demand is hypocritical.
On Tuesday, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari began his General Assembly speech by denouncing the US-made anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" and asked world leaders to ban the controversial movie and other "hate material" against the Prophet of Islam.

The low-budget movie sparked violent protests in many Muslim countries. Apart from protests in the Middle East, Islamic parties in many South Asian countries held rallies to speak out against the video and the US government.

In Pakistan, the ruling Pakistan People's Party's government - led by President Zardari - announced an official holiday on Friday, September 21, to show solidarity with the Prophet of Islam and to protest against the film. At least 19 people were killed during these protests as violent mobs set public property on fire, also torching a church in the northern city of Mardan, and various US establishments.

Free speech

"President Zardari's comments about the 'Innocence of Muslims' were aimed more towards his own countrymen than the West," Snehal Shingavi, a South Asia expert at the University of Texas in Austin, told DW in an interview. "By appearing to defend Islam, he [Zardari] tries to appease the Pakistanis who feel that the film was blasphemous."
But political observers and rights organizations say that Pakistan's own record against curbing hatred against the country's religious andsectarian minorities is not so envious, and that President Zardari's demand that the movie be banned worldwide is therefore hypocritical.

"By declaring a national holiday in support of the protests against the film, the PPP unleashed a wave of violence that included attacks on minorities ... Zardari gave official cover to right-wing Islamic parties and made things much more difficult for minorities in Pakistan," Shingavi said.

Human rights organizations point out that there is legal and cultural discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan, which, in their opinion, is one the major causes of discrimination of Pakistani minority groups. They also say that Islamist groups propagate hate material against religious minorities on a regular basis and that Pakistani authorities do nothing to stop it.

But Ali K Chishti, a Karachi-based political analyst, said President Zardari's demand was justified.

"I think there has to be an international law which stops the spread of such hateful material. The President of Pakistan was voicing the sentiments of all Muslims - not only Pakistanis," he told DW.

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