Juin 182017
 

SourceBlasphemy in the Muslim World: A Research Essay

 

Introduction

In 2009, a Christian mother of five, Aasiya Noreen (AKA Asia Bibi), was arrested and charged with blasphemy under S. 295C of Pakistan’s Penal Code.[1] In 2010, Aasiya was sentenced to death for “insulting the Prophet”.[2] Aasiya’s case has garnered international attention,[3] and owing not only to the unconvincing case against her[4] but also the assassinations of two politicians associated with her case – Punjab governor Salman Taseer and Christian minorities minister Shabhaz Bhatti –[5] Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law (hereon ‘blasphemy law’) has been placed under an increasingly intense spotlight.[6] In 1986, Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which is a legislative colonial relic of pre-partitioned India,[7] was amended under the military governance of General Zia-ul Haq to include the death penalty.[8] In 1991, the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan struck down the option for life imprisonment, prescribing death and a heavy fine as obligatory punishments under S 295 C,[9] which reads:

295-C: use of derogatory remarks etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet: – who ever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation innuendo, or insinuation, directly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable for fine’.

Prior to 1986, only 14 cases of blasphemy were reported, but after the legislative change, blasphemy cases dramatically increased, with 1, 274 people being charged with blasphemy between 1986 and 2010, and over 50% of such cases targeted Christians or Ahmadiyya Muslims, who combined with a small Hindu population make up around 3% of Pakistan’s entire population.[10] Human rights advocates have highlighted the way in which Pakistan’s blasphemy laws enforce the orthodoxy of the religion of the state (Sunni Islam) upon Pakistanis to the detriment of the human rights of members of minority faiths.[11] Advocates against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have also noted that, whilst initially conceived and constructed to promote harmony in a pluralistic society (pre-partitioned India),[12] such laws create social disharmony and embolden religious extremists. Further, more than 60 people accused of blasphemy in Pakistan have been extra-judicially murdered between 1990 and 2014,[13] and numerous other people accused of blasphemy have been killed in jail.[14]

In 2012 in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority democracy,[15] public servant Alexander Aan was charged and convicted of blasphemy for posting on Facebook that he didn’t believe in God.[16] Indonesia enacted its blasphemy law in 1965,[17] yet up until the twenty-first century very few cases of blasphemy were reported. From 2004 to 2014, under the presidency of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the number of blasphemy cases burgeoned, with 106 reported cases of blasphemy that dealt with issues from social media expressions of non-belief to expressions of heterodox Islamic beliefs.[18] Whilst Indonesia’s blasphemy law does not prescribe the death penalty, it does extend beyond Pakistan’s blasphemy law to expressly outlaw deviations from the six recognized religions in Indonesia, as well as punishing those who do not practice religion at all.[19]

The relatively recent trend towards an increase in blasphemy cases in both Indonesia and Pakistan are also observable across numerous other countries in the Muslim world, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and Algeria.[20]  According to a Pew report, ‘a quarter of the world’s countries and territories (26%) punish blasphemy’ and the majority of these countries and territories are Islamic states or Muslim-majority states situated in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).[21] Thus, given the widespread existence of blasphemy laws in the Muslim world coupled with the current trend concerning their increasingly aggressive enforcement, blasphemy laws in the Muslim world are becoming an important issue to be addressed by both human rights activism and studies in religion scholarship.

This essay will examine the differences between Western and Muslim notions of blasphemy, as well as discuss scriptural justifications and hurdles for the enforcement of blasphemy laws in the Muslim world. Qur’anic teachings concerning blasphemy will also be compared to the teachings and examples contained within the sunnah. Thirdly, within the few examples drawn from the sunnah, this essay will briefly explore some of the earliest recorded cases of blasphemy in the Muslim world. Further, an exposition on the development of the concept and punishment of blasphemy within Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) will be proffered, with some specific attention given to the Hanafi School of fiqh in Pakistan and its non-pardonable application of the death penalty against Muslims and non-Muslims.  Finally, this essay will examine the observable link between the enforcement of blasphemy laws and Islamic terrorism, both within Muslim countries and beyond. It will be argued that the enforcement of blasphemy laws creates an ‘anti-blasphemy culture’ which has given rise to an increase in the instances of murder and terrorism by Islamist extremists against those believed to be guilty of blasphemy in the Muslim world and in the secular West.

The Conceptualization of Western Blasphemy Versus Islamic Blasphemy

The conceptualisation of blasphemy in Islam is slightly different to the conceptualisation of blasphemy in Christianity. Nash discusses the notion of blasphemy in Judeo-Christian societies, stating: ‘…the roots of blasphemy in the West lie more readily in the misuse of the name of God and the misuse of religious images’.[22] In the seventeenth century, the Jesuit priest Francisco Suarez defined blasphemy as ‘any word of malediction, reproach, or contumely pronounced against God’.[23] Within Islam, on the other hand, blasphemy might best be described as expressions that give rise to the suspicion of apostasy, because the foundational principle of Islam is total submission to the will of Allah and the message of the Prophet Muhammad.[24] Any rejection or deviation from either of these binding obligations is deemed to be infidelity/disbelief (kafr).[25] Thus, under Islamic law, blasphemy (sabb)[26] is closely associated with apostasy (riddah)[27] and heresy (zandaqah)[28], which all rest within the principle of kafr, or the rejection and/or deviation of orthodox/”correct” submission to Islam.[29]

Having made these distinctions, it is noteworthy that Islam’s conceptualization of blasphemy is more strongly akin to early Christianity’s understanding of blasphemy, which, like Islam, saw blasphemy as being closely associated with heresy and infidelity.[30] On this point, Levy writes: ‘Christianity in the pre-Nicene period, before the fourth century, was heavily Greek in language as well as thought. Accordingly, “impiety,” the Greek equivalent of “blasphemy,” rivaled blasphemy as the name of the crime. To the Greeks, blasphemy meant any sort of speaking evil, verbal abuse, or defamation, especially profane speech. Although the English word “impiety” has a soft sound, meaning a lack of piety or something irreverent, in Greek the word signified shocking and abhorrent ideas about religion. In early Christian thought, “impiety,” like “blasphemy,” gathered numerous and complex meanings. Blasphemy became more than just cursing or reproaching God. It rapidly came to signify breaking the unity of Christianity’.[31]

This early Christian notion of breaking the unity of Christianity is similar to the Islamic principle of fitnah, which can be interpreted to describe civil unrest, social upheaval, rebellion against a ruler and general chaos and disunity within the ummah (Muslim community) occasioned by words and conduct that cause Muslims to stray from the “true path” of Islam.[32] On the issue of fitnah, the Qur’an is unequivocal: ‘And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers’.[33] Thus, blasphemy in Islam is a form of kafr, which, if left unchecked, is perceived to be a potentially potent source of fitnah within the ummah, which, as stated clearly in the Qur’an, is believed to be a fate worse than death. Further, in his English translation of the Qur’an, the Pakistani-born Islamic scholar Shayk Muhammad Sarwar translates fitnah in the verse quoted above as ‘disbelief’,[34] thereby demonstrating not only the longstanding closeness of these concepts, but also the Islamic reasoning behind the framing of blasphemy within the context of kafr. Fitnah is a dramatic concept in Islamic thought that carries many varying yet semi-related meanings. Discussing the meaning of fitnah in 2:191, Pandolfo says: ‘And al-fitna is madness [al-junun], and this also as al-futun. The Qur’an says, “fitnah is worse than slaughter” [al-fitna ashaddu min al-qatl, Qur’an 2:191]. And al-fitna means here al-kufr, “unbelief.” The same thing has been said by the exegetes. Ibn Sidah has said, “al-fitna is unbelief.”’[35]

Interestingly, modern proponents of blasphemy laws frequently employ the concept of fitnah (social upheaval) to pluralistic secular democracies, arguing that blasphemy laws protect the peace and harmony of pluralistic societies by discouraging expressions that may offend religious groups, and it was this (flawed) reasoning that inspired the British colonialists to enact Pakistan’s blasphemy law.[26] However, as will be demonstrated, the enforcement of blasphemy laws generally results in the very “fitnah” they seek to assuage.

Blasphemy in the Qur’an

Capital punishment for blasphemy (sabb) is not expressly prescribed in the Qur’an.[37] However, several verses and passages allude to and address a number of conflicting positions on matters pertaining to blasphemy, which, as mentioned above, includes the practicing of any religion other than Islam. The contradictions surrounding blasphemy in the Qur’an, some of which will be evinced below, are the result of the manner in which the Qur’an is believed to have been composed/“received”. The Qur’an is divided by Islamic scholars into two primary categories: Meccan surahs (chapters) and Medinan surahs.[38] The Meccan surahs, believed to be the earliest chapters, though not chronologically, are alleged to be revelations Muhammad received from Allah (via the angel Gabriel) whilst he was in Mecca,[39] at a time when the first Islamists were not yet powerful enough to engage in jihad with non-Muslims – a time in which Muhammad was openly and unapologetically mocked and ridiculed for sharing his alleged revelations with members of his non-Muslim tribe, the Quraysh.[40] The later Medinan surahs were allegedly revealed to Muhammad whilst he was in Medina,[41] when his forces – who went to war with the non-Muslims of Medina – had grown in number, wealth and military might and had the ability to forgo the pragmatic tolerance Muhammad was forced to endure in Mecca. For this reason, the Medinan surahs tend to be more violent and less tolerant than their earlier Meccan counterparts,[42] although such a dichotomy is not without its imperfections and exceptions. Nevertheless, there is a firmly established pattern between the two categories of surahs.  Matusitz states: ‘The early Meccan Qur’an is more peaceful, poetic, and religious. The later Medinan Qur’an is more brutal and political. This difference stems from the fact that, in Mecca, Muhammad was merely a religious leader. In Medina, he became a political and military leader as well’.[43] Further, Wild discusses Muhammad’s transition from powerlessness to power and the implications this transition had on the Qur’an, which began in 622 CE with his forced emigration to Medina, saying: ‘After the ‘emigration’ (hijra) from Mecca to Yathrib (later Medina) in 622 CE, the Prophet became the acknowledged leader of a community. A fair number of Medinan passages in the Qur’an are, therefore, of direct social and political relevance. Rules of conduct in relation to other religious groups, most notably Jews and Christians, laws of inheritance, marriage and divorce, but also financial and commercial regulations, rules of warfare and the distribution of booty, retaliation, the treatment of slaves, etc., became part of the holy text’.[44] The differences in content and tone between the Meccan and Medinan surahs regarding issues associated with blasphemy are pronounced, yet exceptions and variations do exist. Before evincing a number of the Meccan and Medinan surahs relating to blasphemy, it is necessary to understand the exegetic (tafsir)[45] doctrine known in Islamic scholarship as naskh (abrogation).

Naskh (Abrogation)

Naskh is an exegetic theory employed by Islamic scholars and jurists to resolve contradictions that exist within the Qur’an, or between the Qur’an and the sunnah.[46] The doctrine primarily derives its authority from three Quranic verses: ‘We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?’[47] And: ‘And when We substitute a verse in place of a verse – and Allah is most knowing of what He sends down – they say, “You, [O Muhammad], are but an inventor [of lies].” But most of them do not know.’[48] And finally: ‘Allah eliminates what He wills or confirms, and with Him is the Mother of the Book’.[49]

Naskh is an accepted exegetic theory in both Sunni and Shia Islam, however the two sects disagree over its various applications to the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence and legal theory).[50] Only a handful of small reformist sects and Ahmadiyyas reject its application.[51] Naskh can either change or nullify verses and rulings within the Qur’an or between the Qur’an and Sunnah where a later verse or ruling is held to substitute, amend or nullify an older one.[52] One of the most popular examples of an abrogating verse within the Qur’an is the Medinan ‘Verse of the Sword’ (ayat as-sayf), Qur’an 9:5, which reads: ‘Then when the Sacred Months (the Ist, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun[53] (see V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’[54] Commenting on this verse, Knysh notes: ‘The abrogation theory achieved great sophistication at the hands of later legal scholars, who, for instance, argued that the famous ‘Sword Verse’ enjoining the believers to ‘slay the idolaters wherever you find them’ (Q 9:5) abrogated no fewer than 124 other verses commanding ‘anything less than a total offensive against the non-believers’.[55] Further, Sachedina says: ‘It suffices to note the evident sense of pluralism that is being conveyed by Q 2:213 which was cited earlier. Yet Muslim scholars have found it difficult to extract and accept the moral universalism that underlies this verse. This and other verses that command Muslims to build bridges of understanding and co-operation between the once united human community have been regarded as abrogated by those verses that require Muslims to fight the unbelievers (for instance, Q 9:5 and 9:29).[56] Esposito argues that the ‘Verse of the Sword’ has been rendered redundant to modern Muslims and is confined to a specific historical context, and that it does not condone the slaughter of non-believers and blasphemers in general.[57] It may be argued, however, that Esposito is decontextualizing the Qur’an by transforming it from a holy text into a mere history book, and a number of verses in the Qur’an itself, which self-describe the Qur’an as an all-inclusive and complete divine manifesto for Muslims of all time periods, lend credence to this argument.[58] Further, although there are variant translations, the Mohsin Khan Translation translates Qur’an 8:39 in the following words: ‘And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.’[59] This verse enunciates the goal of Islam, which, like Christianity, presents acute exclusivist and expansionist tendencies within the core scriptures of the religion.[60] This verse grounds the ‘Verse of the Sword’ in its proper theological context by expressing the intent of the author(s), which is to spread the religion of Islam across the earth until all other “blasphemous” religions become abrogated by Islam.

Blasphemy in the Meccan Qur’an  

Note: Verses marked Ab.* are generally taken to have been abrogated by ayat as-sayf (‘Sword Verse’, Qur’an 9:5).

Qur’an 73:10-11: And be patient over what they say and avoid them with gracious avoidance. And leave Me with [the matter of] the deniers, those of ease [in life], and allow them respite a little.[61] Ab.*

Qur’an 28:55: And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, “For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace will be upon you; we seek not the ignorant.”[62] Ab.*

Qur’an 109:1-6: Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”[63] Ab.*

Blasphemy in the Medinan Qur’an 

Qur’an 5:33: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter…[64]

The renowned tafsir of Ibn Kathir interprets the verse above, explaining: ‘`Wage war’ mentioned here means, oppose and contradict, and it includes disbelief, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways. Mischief in the land refers to various types of evil’.[65] Thus, according to one of the most popular tafsirs, the verse cited above could be interpreted as supporting the death penalty, or at least crucifixion and/or maiming, for blasphemy.

Qur’an 33:48: And incline not to the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Disregard their noxious talk, and put thy trust in Allah. Allah is sufficient as Trustee.[66] Ab.*

Qur’an 3:186: You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah – indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.[67] Ab.*

Qur’an 33:60- 61 – Truly, if the Hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who stir up [al-fitnah] in the City, desist not, We shall certainly stir thee up against them: Then will they not be able to stay in it as thy neighbours for any length of time: They shall have a curse on them: whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain (without mercy).[68]

Qur’an 33:57 – Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment.[69]

According to the tafsir of the Islamist philosopher Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, the phraseology, ‘Allah has cursed them in this world’ obliges Islamic states to legally prosecute people guilty of slander (blasphemy) against the Prophet and/or Allah.[70]

Qur’an 4:140: And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them. Indeed Allah will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together…[71]

From the examples cited above, it is clear the Qur’an is ultimately unclear on how Muslims should deal with blasphemy. Some extant verses advise Muslims to ignore blasphemy and walk away – although many of these verses are interpreted by many Islamic scholars to have been abrogated by the ‘Sword Verse’ – while other verses, including the ‘Sword Verse’, encourage Muslims to either employ the powers of the state to prosecute blasphemers and unbelievers, or else seek out and slay those guilty of practicing blasphemous beliefs, or creating fitnah. This ambiguity also plagues the sunnah, the secondary scriptural source of authority in Islam.

Sunnah of Muhammad and Blasphemy

The sunnah refers to ‘the normative example of the prophet Muhammad, as recorded in traditions (hadith) [and the sirah (biographies)] about his speech, his actions, his acquiescence to the words and actions of others, and his personal characteristics’.[72] It is seen as either equal or second to the Qur’an in terms of its weight upon the religious, political and legal workings of Islam,[73] and it is used in conjunction with the Qur’an to establish laws relating to punishments under shari’ah (Islamic law) which are considered hudud (singular: hudd) offences (‘Allah’s immutable punishments’).[74] Unlike Christianity, Islam is not merely a religion, but an all-inclusive ideology that governs the religious, political and legal aspects of life within the ummah (Muslim community).[75] If blasphemy were expressly and unequivocally dealt with in either the sunnah or the Qur’an, then laws pertaining to its punishment would be considered hudd (fixed). However, as will be demonstrated, the Sunnah is ambiguous in this regard. Some traditions contained within the hadith portray a lenient and tolerant reaction from the Prophet, whilst others record brutal and severe reprisals for blasphemy against the Prophet and Islam.[76] Such ambiguity leaves the punishment of blasphemy in the hands of jurists (Fuqahā)[77], judges (Qadi)[78] and states, and this open and flexible aspect of Shari’ah is known as taz’ir.[79] Qasmi remarks: ‘The deterrent punishment or “tazir” is discretion made available to the ruler in Islamic law under the doctrine of “Siasa Shariah.”  The basic premises of the doctrine are the sound order of the state and considerations of public interest…’[80] The only way for a punishment based on a scriptural ambiguity to become fixed and obligatory is for there to be an ijma (consensus) within and/or across the Islamic schools of jurisprudence (fiqh).[81] However, ironically, there is no universal consensus on the meaning of ijma, with some taking it to mean consensus among the contemporaries of Muhammad, whilst others interpreting it as consensus among the all, most, or many of the Fuqahā and/or Ulema (Islamic scholars).[82] This will become relevant in the ensuing analysis of Pakistan’s application of its blasphemy law against Muslim and non-Muslim minorities within Pakistan.

There are several recorded incidents of blasphemy in the sunnah, and as with the Qur’an the Prophet displayed more tolerance in the earlier part of his career as opposed to when he had the power to enforce his will on those he and his militia defeated and subjugated. But again, there are exceptions to this pattern. As mentioned above, the hadith and the sirah record Muhammad being mocked and ridiculed by members of the Quraysh tribe when he first began to express the alleged revelations he received. A notable example can be found in Muhammad’s reaction to the harsh criticisms made of him by Suhayl ibn Amr, one of the leaders of the Quraysh at the time of the birth of Islam in Mecca. According to the account relayed in Ṭabarī’s History of Muhammad, Umar bin al-Khattab was so outraged by Suhayl’s rhetoric against the Prophet that he exclaimed, “O Messenger of God, pull out Suhayl b. Amr’s two lower front teeth so that his tongue will loll out and he will never be able to stand up and make speeches about you anywhere”. Muhammad is recorded as replying, “I will not mutilate him or God will mutilate me even if I am a prophet”.[83]

Contrast this example with two examples later in Muhammad’s career in which he had a Jewish poet, Abu Afak, killed for insulting him and then the daughter of Marwan, Asma bint Marwan, who, angered by Abu Afak’s murder, insulted Muhammad and was subsequently killed upon Muhammad’s command.[84] The accounts of Abu Afak and Asma bint Marwan’s murders are found within Ishaq’s eighth-century seminal biography of Muhammad, Sirat Rasul Allah.[85]

The few examples of sunnah evinced from the sirah (biographies) above demonstrate the same ambiguity surrounding blasphemy as found within the Qur’an, and both the Qur’an and the sunnah display a similar pattern with regards to the increasing severity of Muhammad’s fundamentalism in the later part of his career. If naskh is applied to both the Qur’an and the sunnah, then it could be argued that the later, severer reactions of Muhammad in the face of blasphemy should be interpreted as constituting hudd, which would make the death penalty for blasphemy an immutable punishment. On the other hand, because neither the Qur’an nor the sunnah provide clear hudd concerning blasphemy, the matter may generally be seen as falling within the purview of the hadith to clarify, or left to the jurists (Fuqahā) to arrive at a consensus (ijma) regarding the regulation of blasphemy. Should the jurists and scholars fail to establish an ijma, then the matter will be relegated to the discretion (taz’ir) of Islamic rulers and authorities to decide how to deal with blasphemy in a way that protects the public interest. The huge number of hadith contain too many contradictions in this regard.[86] Thus, for the moment, the matter falls upon the shoulders of the Fuqahā to arrive at a consensus (ijma).

Blasphemy in Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh)

Unfortunately, there is an ijma within and between the four Sunni schools of fiqh (Hanafi, Malaki, Shafi’I and Hanbali) and the two Shia schools of fiqh (Ja’fari and Zaydi) concerning the punishment of Muslims who blaspheme, although the specific punishments vary between the schools; as blasphemy is generally interpreted as either an indication of an intention to apostatize or the perpetration of apostasy itself.[87] Further, there are different categories of blasphemy which exist across different jurisdictions and across the schools of Sunni and Shia fiqh.[88]

Blasphemy Against Holy Personages: International Case Examples

There exists a plethora of cases in which Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims have been given either prison sentences or the death penalty for insulting Muhammad. In 2015, an Indian man was jailed in Dubai for insulting the Prophet (sabb al-nabi/sabb al-rasool)[89] on Facebook.[90] Again in 2015, Sara Al-Drees, a 28-year-old Kuwaiti blogger and teacher, was arrested for insulting Muhammad on Twitter. Sara compared the forced marriage (rape) of 17-year-old Jewish captive Safiyah bint Hayi to Muhammad, which shortly followed the slaughter of her fiancé and her family by Muhammad’s militia, to the modern atrocities committed by ISIS, as these sunnah and certain passages from the Qur’an appear to justify their extremist behaviour. In Iran, which operates under shari’ah governed by Shia Islamic fiqh, the sentence given for insulting the Prophet is death.[91] In 2015, 19-year-old Sina Dehghan was arrested Iran and after being tricked into signing a written confession, he was given the death penalty for insulting the Prophet on social media.[92]

Blasphemy Against Beliefs and Customs: International Case Examples

In 2007, an Indonesian man was sentenced by the Supreme Court of Indonesia to five years in prison for expressing the heretical belief that he was the reincarnation of the Prophet Muhammad – a belief which goes against the established orthodoxy of not only Islam but the Islamic customs specific to Indonesia.[93]  In 2008, a Jordanian poet was charged with blasphemy and atheism for incorporating verses of the Qur’an into a book of love poetry entitled, Grace Like a Shadow. ‘Jordan’s highest religious authority, Sheikh Nuh Qdah, said, “What Samhan did was a type of atheism and blasphemy”’[94] Islam Samhan was given a one-year prison sentence, declared an apostate and fined US$14,000.[95] Three Moroccan journalists were arrested for blasphemy in Morocco and given a 3-year suspended sentence as well as an $8,000 fine for publishing light-hearted jokes about religion, Allah, and the Moroccan king, which were deemed to be deeply insulting to the Moroccan people.[96] In 2007, a British schoolteacher working in Sudan was charged and convicted of blasphemy for allowing her class of 7-year-old students to name a teddy bear ‘Muhammad’. Although the name itself is very common in Sudan, top Islamic clerics in Sudan, believing her actions to be part of a Western conspiracy against Islam, called for her to be given 40 lashes and a lengthy prison sentence – however – due to diplomatic pressure placed on the Sudanese government by Britain, Gillian Gibbons escaped with a 15-day prison sentence and was thereafter deported.[97]

Blasphemy Against Islamic Artefacts: International Case Examples

In 2014, a Turkish ex-Muslim atheist woman was arrested in Turkey on suspicion of blasphemy for allegedly posting a picture on Twitter with her foot on the Qur’an.[98] In 2016, an Indian man was arrested in Saudi Arabia for posting a doctored photo depicting Krishna sitting atop the Ka’bah. Saudi Arabia’s brand of shari’ah is regulated by the Wahhabist Hanbali school of fiqh, which prescribes the death penalty for blasphemy.[99] In 1990, Tahir Iqbal, an ex-Muslim Christian was charged with blasphemy in Pakistan for allegedly insulting the Prophet, imparting non-Islamic teachings to children and underlining verses in the Qur’an with a green marker. After spending two years in jail, Iqbal was assassinated in prison and died in 1992.[100]

The Deadly Weaponization of Fiqh Against Non-Muslims and Muslims in Pakistan

When Pakistan added the death penalty to its standing blasphemy law in 1986, and when its Federal Shariat Court took life imprisonment off the table in 1991, those responsible argued they did so with the authoritative support of both hudd and ijma.[101] However Khan notes: ‘Mere blasphemy (sabb), as opposed to apostasy (ridda), is not mentioned as an offense that warrants the death penalty in the Qur’an, neither as a [hudd] (explicitly stipulated and fixed punishment) nor as qisas (just retribution) crime; it is thus by definition purely ta’zir (a discretionary punishment), to be decided by the ruler or judge’.[102] Such discretionary punishments under Shari’ah afford jurists, scholars and authorities the room to renew and reform existing laws by way of the Islamic doctrine known as al-Islah wa al-tajdeed (reform and renewal).[103] Given that the death penalty for blasphemy is not a hudd offence – ijma – which can provide justification for the death penalty for Muslims and non-Muslims, is the next issue in need of examination.

In Pakistan, the Fuqahā predominantly abide by the Hanafi school of fiqh,[104] and proponents of the death penalty for blasphemy in Pakistan argue that there is an ijma within the Hanafi legal tradition that justifies the application of the death penalty for blasphemy committed by non-Muslims.[105] This issue is significant in a Pakistani context because members of minority faiths in Pakistan are much more likely to be charged with blasphemy than Sunni Muslims.[106] According to some estimates, Christians, Ahmadiyyas and Hindus, who make up approximately 3% of Pakistan’s population, have represented around half of the total number of blasphemy defendants in the past two decades.[107] There is a consensus (ijma) within Hanafi fiqh concerning the death penalty for blasphemy committed by non-Muslims (dhimmi) living under Islamic rule, however, in contradiction to the claims made by the defenders of Pakistan’s death penalty, the consensus holds that the death penalty should not be applied to non-Muslims who blaspheme.[108] The founder of the Hanafi school, Imam Abu Hanifa, reasoned that non-Muslims should not be killed for blasphemy due to the exitance of an exception which arose within Islamic fiqh surrounding early Islamic conquest treaties.[109] When Muslims conquered a new territory, the Muslim conquerors would give the local, non-Muslim inhabitants two choices: They could convert to Islam or pay jizya (special tax for dhimmi) and maintain their “blasphemous” beliefs.[110] If the subjugated refused both of these conditions, they were commonly held to be accruing an ongoing debt for which they would either be imprisoned or enslaved.[111] Abu Hanifa’s reasoning for absolving non-Muslims of the death penalty for blasphemy was as follows: ‘If a dhimmi (non-Muslim) insults the Holy Prophet, he will not be killed as punishment. A non-Muslim is not killed for his kufr (denying the Prophet) or shirk (polytheistic beliefs). Kufr/Shirk are bigger sins then sabb e rasool (insulting the Prophet) – Therefore non-Muslims will not be killed for sabb e rasool’[112] Beyond the Hanafi school, however, other Islamic jurists have argued that if a dhimmi insults the prophet, they should be put to death unless they convert to Islam.[113]

Imam Abu Hanifa declared that blasphemy committed by Muslims – which is viewed by Hanafi jurists as essentially equating to apostasy and treason against the state –[114] is generally a pardonable offence, so long as the Muslim retracts their statement.[115] Here then lies another problem with Pakistan’s blasphemy law regarding its application to Muslims. Abu Hanifa’s declaration in this regard was correctly passed down orally from the eighth century to the fifteenth, at which time a Hanafi scholar by the name of Al-Bazzazi either deliberately or negligently misquoted Abu Hanifa as having declared blasphemy a non-pardonable offence which automatically attracts the death penalty.[116] From Al-Bazzazi’s misquotation a parallel legal tradition was established within Hanafi fiqh. This transmission error was finally discovered by a scrupulous Hanafi scholar around the end of the eighteenth century by the name of Imam Ibn Abidin. Ibn Abidin was well-known for the meticulous nature with which he examined primary sources and [117] using early textual sources he corrected Al-Bazzazi’s mistake in this regard.[118]  The architect and founding advocate of Pakistan’s death penalty amendment, Ismaeel Qureshi,[119] justified his amendment of Pakistan’s blasphemy law by misquoting Imam Ibn Abidin and falsely ascribing Al-Bazzazi’s pro-hudd stance to his corrector, Ibn Abidin.[120] To summarize this morbid comedy of misquotations, Al-Bazzazi misquoted Abu Hanifa, Ibn Abidin corrected Al-Bazzazi by carefully examining the primary sources and then Ismaeel Qureshi misquoted Ibn Abidin to argue that blasphemy is a non-pardonable hudd offence.[121] The amendment added to Pakistan’s blasphemy law was rushed through parliament and since its enactment Qureshi has changed his position on the matter, now arguing that blasphemy is not a hudd offence.[122]

‘Anti-Blasphemy Culture’ in the Muslim World: Creating Global ‘Fitnah’ and Cultivating Islamist Extremism

In 2007, a Nigerian schoolteacher was clubbed, stoned and beaten to death by her students for allegedly desecrating the Qur’an. A similar allegation in 2006 against a Christian in Nigeria spread across Lagos and this allegation led to riots and the deaths of five people.[123] In 2016, 200,000 protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against the Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, whom they accused of having committed blasphemy against the Qur’an. The demonstration degenerated into a riot in which demonstrators clashed violently with the police.[124] In Pakistan, it is quite common that when a Christian is accused of blasphemy, Muslim mobs will take to the streets and burn down Christian villages,[125] kill perceived blasphemers in bouts of vigilantism,[126] and many accused of blasphemy do not even make it to trial and are killed in jail in extra-judicial killings.[127] In a 2014 case that drew international attention, a Christian couple in Pakistan who were believed to have committed blasphemy were slain by a mob of Muslim villagers.[128] In Bangladesh the instances of secular and atheist bloggers being slain for blasphemy has also become a disturbing trend.[129] Islamic ‘anti-blasphemy culture’ is even being felt in Western secular nations where Islamists kill or attempt to kill non-Muslim blasphemers. France,[130] Denmark,[131] and the USA[132] are just three Western secular countries that have seen blood spilt for blasphemy against Islam, and such instances appear to be on the rise in recent years.[133]

As previously mentioned, proponents of the enforcement of blasphemy laws argue that blasphemy laws protect harmony, peace and stability in pluralistic societies. Academic findings on these claims, however, demonstrate the opposite to be true. Using a time-series, cross-national negative binominal analysis of 51 Muslim-majority states from 1991-2013, Saiya found that ‘states that enforce blasphemy laws are indeed statistically more likely to experience Islamist terrorist attacks than countries where such laws do not exist’.[134] After controlling for variables commonly associated with causes of terrorism, such as poverty, ongoing ethnic and religious warfare, state fragility, foreign occupation, the size of the country, etc, Saiya found that the enforcement of blasphemy laws, whilst not the ‘sole or most important state-level variable behind Islamist terrorism’, does ‘fuel Islamist terrorism more often than not’.[135]  Saiya’s findings accord with both the observations of current affairs and the common discourse among human rights activists and those who oppose the enforcement of blasphemy laws. Further, upon the basis of a wealth of data and case examples, Khan found: ‘In several countries with large Muslim populations – most notably, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Nigeria – criminal codes have provided legal cover for terrorists to commit atrocities in the name of protecting Islam’s integrity based on their warped view of the faith. Protecting these codes, and the larger cause of preventing blasphemy, can drive some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists to commit mass atrocities’.[136]

It may be argued that both Saiya and Khan’s findings, which both justify the arguments of critics of blasphemy laws, indicate the existence of a growing ‘anti-blasphemy culture’, and it may be further argued, as above, that such a culture, in an increasingly interconnected global environment, is being exported around the world, leading to an increase in not only Islamist terrorist attacks fuelled by anti-blasphemy sentiments and an increasingly pervasive ‘anti-blasphemy culture’, but also the gradual imperialization by Islamic theocratic values over secular freedom-values in a growing number of Western secular countries, who are now beginning to employ existing blasphemy and hate speech laws to quell the criticism of Islam, or else enact “anti-Islamophobia” laws and motions which run the risk of acting like quasi-blasphemy laws.[137] This recent trend among secular judiciaries and legislatures runs the risk of vindicating and strengthening the ‘anti-blasphemy culture’ that is simultaneously engendering Islamist terrorism and the infringement of the basic human rights of victims of such speech-inhibiting laws and their frequently fatal side effects.

Conclusion

If blasphemy in Islam is interpreted as lacking clear sanctions, whether as a hudd offence or through an ijma within and between Islamic schools of theology and jurisprudence, then it may be possible to reform and repeal Islamic blasphemy laws within an Islamic framework. To achieve this, the principles of al-Islah wa al-tajdeed (reform and renewal) and ta’zir (discretion) would need to be employed in conjunction with one another, because the underlying principle of ta’zir is the ‘wellbeing of the society’. Given that blasphemy laws have been demonstrated to cause social chaos and violence, rulers in Islamic states could potentially reform and repeal blasphemy laws under the proviso that they are a source of “fitnah”. Repealing Islamic blasphemy laws on such grounds would have a greater chance of success – should such an avenue be held to exist – because the repeal would rest on a purely Islamic discourse accepted by the constituents of Muslim societies. However, if blasphemy laws are deemed immutable due to the application of naskh (abrogation) and the existing consensuses within and between certain Islamic schools of jurisprudence, then reform within an Islamic context would be virtually impossible. In such a case, particularly regarding less wealthy Islamic nations like Pakistan, threats of financial and other diplomatic and political sanctions through united efforts by secular democracies may be the only solution to the human rights crisis occasioned by the enforcement of Islamic blasphemy laws. Due to the development, increase and exportation of a violent Islamic ‘anti-blasphemy culture’, it may be argued that the eradication of Islamic blasphemy laws is also in the West’s domestic interest, particularly considering that Islamic ‘blasphemy terrorism’ in the secular West is burgeoning.

In either case, whether Islamic blasphemy laws are deemed immutable or not, increased scholarship in this field of studies in religion would benefit not only human rights activism by lending weight to the claims made by activists in this area, but such scholarship dedicated to exposing the violence and human rights abuses associated with the enforcement of blasphemy laws would also increase awareness among constituents in Western democracies, who could then possibly pressure representatives at the United Nations into placing pressure on Islamic states to repeal their blasphemy laws through financial and other diplomatic sanctions. Further, Western secular democracies that are beginning to employ their existing blasphemy laws and religious insult laws for the protection of Islam are contributing to the violent ‘anti-blasphemy culture’ in both the Muslim world and in the West, by legitimizing the source of this culture, namely, Islamic blasphemy laws. Finally, increased scholarship in this area would benefit activists and victims directly endangered by blasphemy laws in the Muslim world by giving them ammunition to fight the extremist religious rhetoric that has thus far seduced substantial portions of the populations in the Muslim world.

End Notes

  1. ‘Blasphemy: What you need to know about Asia Bibi’s trial’, Dawn News, October 13th, 2016, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1289700, accessed on 5th March, 2017.
  2. ‘Christian Woman Sentenced to Death in Blasphemy Case’, Dawn News, November 12th, 2010, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/580993/christian-woman-sentenced-to-death-in-blasphemy-case-2, accessed on 12th March, 2017.
  3. Shamil Shams, ‘Asia Bibi’s appeal against death penalty – A test case for Pakistan’, Deutsche Welle News, 12th October, 2016, cited at: http://www.dw.com/en/asia-bibis-appeal-against-death-penalty-a-test-case-for-pakistan/a-36023532, accessed on 12th March, 2017.
  4. Jon Boone and Kiyya Baloch, ‘Asia Bibi blasphemy case to be heard by Pakistan supreme court’, The Guardian, 12th October, 2016, cited at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/11/asia-bibi-pakistan-blasphemy-law-supreme-court-death-sentence-salmaan-taseer, accessed on 18th March, 2017.
  5. ‘Pakistan Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti shot dead’, BBC News, 2nd March, 2011, cited at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-12617562, accessed on 12th March, 2017.
  6. Jason Koutsoukis, ‘As Asia Bibi waits on death row, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws in spotlight as deaths increase’, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 17th, 2015, cited at: http://www.smh.com.au/world/as-asia-bibi-waits-on-death-row-pakistans-blasphemy-laws-in-spotlight-as-deaths-increase-20150116-12s9d7.html, accessed on 10th March, 2017; Elise Duffau and Patrick Lovett, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws back in spotlight after murder of Christian couple, France 24 International News, November 18th, 2014, cited at: http://www.france24.com/en/20141118-focus6pakistan-blasphemy-law-persecution-religious-minorities-violence-christians, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  7. Shemeem Burney Abbas, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws: From Islamic Empires to the Taliban, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013, pp. 73-75
  8. Ibid. p. 14.
  9. Asad Ali Ahmed, Specters of Macaulay: Blasphemy, the Indian Penal Code, and Pakistan’s Postcolonial Predicament, in: Raminder Kaur (ed) and William Mazzarella (ed), Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009, p. 174.
  10. Tabinda Siddiqi, Timeline: Accused Under the Blasphemy Law’, Dawn News, August 18th, 2013, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/750512, accessed on 10th March, 2017; Drago K. Ocvirk, Jesus – Neither a Hand of Reconciliation Nor An Apple of Discord Between Christians and Muslims, in: Janez Juhant (ed) and Bojan Zalec (ed), Reconciliation: The Way of Healing and Growth, Zurich: LIT, 2012, p. 200; ‘Farahnaz Ispahani, Symbolic Gestures Not Enough for Pakistan’s Minorities’, Religious Freedom Institute, March 14, 2017, cited at: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/3/14/symbolic-gestures-not-enough-for-pakistans-minorities, accessed on 30thMarch, 2017.
  11. Bilal Hayee, ‘Blasphemy Laws and Pakistan’s Human Rights Obligations’, UNDAU Law Review, March, 2012, 14, pp. 25-53.
  12. Shemeem Burney Abbas, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws: From Islamic Empires to the Taliban, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013, p. 74.
  13. ‘Blasphemy in Pakistan: Bad-Mouthing’, The Economist, November 27th, 2014, cited at: http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21635070-pakistans-blasphemy-laws-legitimise-intolerance-bad-mouthing, accessed on 25th March, 2017.
  14. ‘Men accused of blasphemy, Zafar Bhatti and Muhammad Asghar, shot in Pakistani Jail’, ABC News, 25 September, 2014, cited at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-25/men-accused-of-blasphemy-shot-in-pakistani-jail/5770254, accessed on 23rd March, 2017; Asad Hashim, ‘Living in Fear Under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law’, Aljazeera News, 17th May, 2014, cited at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/05/living-fear-under-pakistan-blasphemy-law-20145179369144891.html, accessed on 23rdMarch, 2017.
  15. Aris Ananta (ed), Evi Nurvidya Arifin (ed) and Leo Suryadinata (ed), Emerging Democracy in Indonesia, Pasir Panjang: Institute of South East Asian Studies, 2005, p. 135.
  16. Kate Hodal, ‘Indonesia’s atheists face battle for religious freedom’, The Guardian, 3 May, 2012, cited at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/may/03/indonesia-atheists-religious-freedom-aan, accessed on 22 May, 2017.
  17. Jeremy Menchik, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia: Tolerance without Liberalism, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016, p. 87.
  18. Dawood Ahmed, ‘Rise of Blasphemy Charges: Saudi Arabia, Iran’, Indonesia in Perspective, Dawn News, January 1, 2015, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1154251, accessed on 5 March, 2017.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid; ‘Blasphemy law use on rise, led by Pakistan: US group’, Dawn News, March 13, 2014, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1092919, accessed on 10 March, 2017; ‘Egypt’s worrying rise in criminal blasphemy cases’, Amnesty International News, June 11, 2013, cited at: http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/egypt-s-worrying-rise-in-criminal-blasphemy-cases, accessed on 14 March, 2017.
  21. Angelina E. Theodorou, ‘Which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy?’, Pew Research Center, June 29, 2016, cited at: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/29/which-countries-still-outlaw-apostasy-and-blasphemy/, accessed on 18 March, 2017.
  22. [1] David Nash, Blasphemy in the Christian World: A History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 2.
  23. Francisco Suarez, De Relig., tract. iii, lib. I, cap. iv, n. 1, cited at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02595a.htm, accessed on 2nd March, 2017.
  24. Intisar A. Rabb, Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, p. 33; Ayatullah Murtadha Mutahhari, Islam and Religious Pluralism, 2nd Ed., Stanmore, Middlesex: The World Federation of KSIMC, 2006, p. xii
  25. TH. Houtsma (ed), A.J. Wensinck (ed), T.W. Arnold (ed), W. Heffening (ed) and E. Levi Provencal (ed.), E.J. Brill’s First Encyclopaedia of Islam: 1913-1936, Vol. IV: ITK-KWATTA, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1993, pp. 618-619; Ebrahim Moosa, Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005, p. 192.
  26. Kamran Hashemi, Religious Legal Traditions, International Human Rights Law and Muslim States, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008, p. 31.
  27. C.S. Peacock, Medieval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy, London: Routledge, 2007, p. 120.
  28. Julie Scott Meisami (ed) and Paul Starkey (ed), Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, Vol. 2: L-Z, London: Routledge, 1998, p. 828.
  29. Shemeem Burney Abbas, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws: From Islamic Empires to the Taliban, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013, p. 126.
  30. Leonard W. Levy, Blasphemy: Verbal Offense Against the Sacred, From Moses to Salman Rushdie, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993, pp. 31-33.
  31. Ibid. p. 31.
  32. Mansoor Jassem Alshamsi, Islam and Political Reform in Saudi Arabia: The Quest for Political Change and Reform, New York: Routledge, 2011, p. 240; In his renowned tafsir on Qur’an 8:39, Ibn Kathir defines fitnah in this verse in the following parenthesised words: ‘And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah). He said, “We did fight until there was no more Fitnah and the religion became for Allah alone…: Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir: All 10 Volumes, cited at: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=uTJoiXp3pS4C&pg=PA87&dq=fitnah+disbelief&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj35afmqIfTAhXKGpQKHUvjAtwQ6AEIGzAA#v=onepage&q=fitnah%20disbelief&f=false, accessed on 23 March, 2017.
  33. The Qur’an, 2:191, Sahih International Translation.
  34. The Qur’an, 2:190-191, Muhammad Sarwar Translation.
  35. Stefania Pandolfo, Impasse of the Angels: Scenes from a Moroccan Space of Memory, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997, p. 159.
  36. George Baylon Radics and Yee Suan Poon, ‘Amos Yee, Free Speech, and Maintaining Religious Harmony in Singapore’, University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review, Vol. 12, Iss. 2, Art. 3, cited at: http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&context=alr, accessed on 10th March, 2017; Shemeem Burney Abbas, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws: From Islamic Empires to the Taliban, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013, p. 74; Qaiser Julius, ‘The Experience of Minorities Under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 27:1, p. 100.
  37. Lorenz Langer, Religious Offence and Human Rights: The Implications of Defamation of Religions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 332.
  38. Fred M. Donner, The Historical Context, in: Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 30.
  39. Ibid. p. 42.
  40. Johnathan E. Brockhopp (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 7.
  41. Ibid. p. 30.
  42. Stefan Wild, Political Interpretation of the Qur’an, in: Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 284; Raymond Ibrahim, Taqqiya: War and Deceit in Islam, in: Eric D. Patterson (ed) and John Gallagher (ed), Debating a War of Ideas, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009, pp. 71-72; Elie Elhadj, The Islamic Shield: Arab Resistance to Democratic and Religious Reforms, Boca Raton: Brown Walker Press, 2007, p. 27.
  43. Jonathan Matusitz, Symbolism in Terrorism: Motivation, Communication, and Behavior, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, p. 167.
  44. Stefan Wild, Political Interpretation of the Qur’an, in: Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 273.
  45. Tafsir is the Arabic word for interpretation/exegesis: Hussein Abdul-Raof, Schools of Quranic Exegesis: Genesis and Development, Abingdon: Routledge, 2010, p. 239.
  46. Tahir Wasti, The Application of Islamic Criminal Law in Pakistan: Sharia in Practice, Leiden: Brill, 2009, p. 63.
  47. The Qur’an, 2:106, Sahih International Translation.
  48. The Qur’an, 16:101, Sahih International Translation.
  49. The Qur’an, 13:39, Sahih International Translation.
  50. Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2010, p. 29; Louay Fatoohi, Abrogation in the Qur’an and Islamic Law: A Critical Study of the Concept of “Naskh” and it’s Impact, New York: Routledge, 2013, pp. 247-278.
  51. Frans Wijsen (ed) and Peter Nissen (ed), Mission is a Must: Intercultural Theology and the Mission of the Church, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002, p. 218.
  52. Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi, Saints and Saviours of Islam, New Delhi: Sarup & Sons, 2005, pp. 298-319.
  53. Mushrikun in V. 9:5 refers specifically to the pagans of Muhammad’s day, yet it generally refers to people who practice shirk, which is the sin of being ‘in revolt against Allah, irrespective of any professed belief in other gods. It also describes atheism: Cyril Glasse, The New Encyclopedia of Islam: Revised Edition of the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 2001, p. 429.
  54. The Qur’an, 9:5, Mohsin Khan Translation.
  55. Alexander Knysh, Multiple Areas of Influence, in: Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 218.
  56. Abdulaziz Sachedina, The Qur’an and Other Religions, in: p. 300.
  57. John L. Esposito, What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam, 2nd Ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 138.
  58. The Qur’an, 16:89, 6:114, 7:52, 15:1, 6:105, 54:17, 10:37, 6:115, Sahih International Translation.
  59. The Qur’an, 8:39, Mohsin Khan Translation.
  60. Volker Kuster, Toward an Intercultural Theology, in: Viggo Mortensen (ed), Theology and the Religions: A Dialogue, Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing company, 2003, p. 181; Clinton Bennett, Studying Islam: The Critical Issues, London: Continuum, 2010, p. 42.
  61. The Qur’an, 73:10-11, Sahih International Translation; Rev. Anwarul Haqq, Abrogation in the Qur’an, Lucknow: Methodist Publishing House, 1925, p. 71.
  62. The Qur’an, 28:55, Sahih International Translation; p. 54.
  63. The Qur’an, 109:1-6, Sahih International Translation; p. 73.
  64. The Qur’an, 5:33, Yusuf Ali Translation.
  65. Ibn Kathir, Quran Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Qur’an 5:33, cited at: http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=784&Itemid=60, accessed on 17th March, 2017.
  66. The Qur’an, 33:48, Pickthall Translation; Mahmoud Ayoub (ed), Contemporary Approaches to the Qur’an and Sunnah, London: The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2012, pp. 17-18; Rev. Anwarul Haqq, Abrogation in the Qur’an, Lucknow: Methodist Publishing House, 1925, p. 55.
  67. The Qur’an, 3:186, Sahih International Translation; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 1., (Abridged by scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safi-Ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri), Riyadh: Darussalam, 2003, p. 333.
  68. The Qur’an, 33:60-61, Yusuf Ali Translation.
  69. The Qur’an, 33:57, Sahih International Translation.
  70. Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, Tafhim al-Qur’an, The Meaning of the Qur’an, 33. Surah Al Ahzab (The Clans), cited at: http://www.englishtafsir.com/Quran/33/index.html#sdfootnote108sym, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  71. The Qur’an, 4:140, Sahih International Translation.
  72. Cyril Glasse, The New Encyclopedia of Islam: Revised Edition of the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 2001, p. 666.
  73. John L. Esposito (ed), The Oxford History Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 118; Mohammad Ali Syed, The Position of Women in Islam: A Progressive View, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004, p. 7; Rajnaara C. Akhtar, Unregistered Muslim Marriages: An Emerging Culture of Celebrating Rites and Conceding Rights, in: Joanna Miles (ed), Perveez Mody (ed) and Rebecca Probert (ed), Marriage Rites and Rights, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2015, p. 169.
  74. Tahir Wasti, The Application of Islamic Criminal Law in Pakistan: Sharia in Practice, Leiden: Brill, 2009, p. 33; Nisrine Abiad and Farkhanda Zia Mansoor, Criminal Law and the Rights of the Child in Muslim States, London: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2010, p. 40.
  75. Ian Adams, Political Ideology Today, 2nd Ed., Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001, p. 256; Michaelle Browers, Islamic Political Ideologies, in: Michael Freeden (ed), Lyman Tower Sargent (ed) and Marc Stears (ed), The oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 627-628.
  76. See: Sahih al-Muslim, 19:4436 v Sahih al-Bukhari, 57:27, 60:339, 60:475, for example; Coeli Fitzpatrick (ed) and Adam Hani Walker (ed), Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God, Vol. 1, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014, p. 62.
  77. Liyakat Takim, Maqasid al-Shari’a in Contemporary Shi’i Jurisprudence, in: Adis Duderija, Maqasid al-Shari’a and Contemporary Reformist Muslim Thought: An Examination, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014, p. 109.
  78. Joseph Drory, Founding a New Mamlaka, in: Michael Winter (ed) and Amalia Levanoni (ed), The Mamluks in Egyptian and Syrian Politics and Society, Leiden: Brill, 2004, p. 183.
  79. John L. Esposito (ed), The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 318; Ervand Abrahamian, The Islamic Left: Radicalism to Liberalism, in: Stephanie Cronin (ed), Reformers and Revolutionaries in Modern Iran: New Perspectives on the Iranian Left, London: Routledge, 2004, p. 273.
  80. H. Qasmi, Islamic Government, Delhi: Isha Books, 2008, p. 306.
  81. Pieter Coertzen (ed), M. Christian Green (ed) and Len Hansen (ed), Religious Freedom and Religious Pluralism in Africa: Prospects and Limitations, Conference-Rapp, p. 73; Niaz A. Shah, Islamic Law and the Law of Armed Conflict: The Armed Conflict in Pakistan, London: Routledge, 2011, p. 21; Zafar Iqbal and Mervyn K. Lewis, An Islamic Perspective on Governance, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2009, p. 35.
  82. Abdullah Saeed, Islamic Thought: An Introduction, London: Routledge, 2006, p. 49.
  83. Ehsan Yar-Shater (ed), The History of al-Tabari, Vol. VII: The Foundation of the Community, (Trans. W. Montgomery Watt and M. V. McDonald), New York: State University of New York Press, 1987, p. 71.
  84. Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq ibn Yasār ibn Khiyār, Sirat Rasul Allah, cited in: A. Guillaume (ed), The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 675.
  85. Ibid.
  86. See: Sahih al-Muslim, 19:4436 v Sahih al-Bukhari, 57:27, 60:339, 60:475, for example.
  87. Lorenz Langer, Religious Offence and Human Rights: The Implications of Defamation of Religions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 332.
  88. Intisar A. Rabb, Society and Propriety: The Cultural Construction of Defamation and Blasphemy as Crimes in Islamic Law, in: Camilla Adang (ed), Hassan Ansari (ed), Maribel Fierro (ed) and Sabine Schmidtke (ed), Accusations of Unbelief in Islam: A Diachronic Perspective on Takfir, Leiden: Brill, 2016, p. 450; Gerhard Bowering (ed), The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, p. 71.
  89. Rudolph Peters, Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 180.
  90. Thaer Zriqat, ‘Man jailed by Dubai court for insulting Islam on Facebook’, The National, May 28, 2015, cited at: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/courts/man-jailed-by-dubai-court-for-insulting-islam-on-facebook, accessed on 20th March, 2017.
  91. Rudolph Peters, Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 180.
  92. ‘Twenty-Year Old on Death Row After “Confessing” on Promise of Freedom’, Center for Human Rights in Iran News, September 14, 2014, cited at: https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2016/09/sina-dehghan-death-sentence-for-sabb-al-nabi/, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  93. Patung, ‘Abdul Rahman’, Indonesia Matters, February 27th, 2006, cited at: http://www.indonesiamatters.com/130/abdul-rahman-blasphemer/, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  94. ‘Jordanian poet accused of ‘atheism and blasphemy’’, Daily Star Lebanon, October 25, 2008, cited at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Art/2008/Oct-25/116271-jordanian-poet-accused-of-atheism-and-blasphemy.ashx, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  95. Salah Malkawi, ‘Jordanian poet prepares for jail’, The National, September 2, 2009, cited at: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/jordanian-poet-prepares-for-jail, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  96. ‘Journalists fined over Islam joke’, BBC News, 15 January 2007, cited at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6262919.stm, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  97. ‘UK teacher jailed over teddy row’, BBC News, 30 November 2007, cited at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7119399.stm, accessed on 10thMarch, 2017.
  98. ‘Turkey arrests women on suspicion of blasphemy, Dunya News Pakistan, cited at: http://dunyanews.tv/en/World/241854-Turkey-arrests-woman-on-suspicion-of-blasphemy, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  99. Murray J. Leaf, The Anthropology of Western Religions: Ideas, Organizations, and Constituencies, Lanham: Lexington Books, 2014, p. 163; Harry R. Dammer (ed) and Jay S. Albanese (ed), Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, 5th Ed., Belmont: Wadsworth, 2014, p. 60.
  100. Tabinda Siddiqi, Timeline: Accused Under the Blasphemy Law’, Dawn News, August 18th, 2013, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/750512, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  101. Arafat Mazhar, Blasphemy: The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Law, Presentation at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 21st April, 2016, cited at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/blasphemy-the-untold-story-pakistans-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017; Arafat Mazhar, ‘The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law’, Dawn News Blog, March 14th, 2017, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1149558/the-untold-story-of-pakistans-blasphemy-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017.
  102. Siraj Khan, Blasphemy Against the Prophet, in: Coeli Fitzpatrick (ed) and Adam Hani Walker (ed), Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God, Vol. 1, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014, pp. 66-67.
  103. Ali Riaz, Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2008, p. 221.
  104. Coeli Fitzpatrick (ed) and Adam Hani Walker (ed), Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God, Vol. 1, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014, p. 339.
  105. Arafat Mazhar, Blasphemy: The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Law, Presentation at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 21st April, 2016, cited at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/blasphemy-the-untold-story-pakistans-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017.
  106. Bilal Hayee, ‘Blasphemy Laws and Pakistan’s Human Rights Obligations’, UNDAU Law Review, March, 2012, 14, p. 26.
  107. Freedom House, Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights, A Freedom House Special Report, October, 2010, p. 6.
  108. Coeli Fitzpatrick (ed) and Adam Hani Walker (ed), Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God, Vol. 1, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014, p. 63; Arafat Mazhar, Blasphemy: The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Law, Presentation at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 21st April, 2016, cited at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/blasphemy-the-untold-story-pakistans-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017.
  109. Ibid.
  110. Majid Khadduri, International Law, in: Majid Khadduri (ed) and Herbert J. Liebesny (ed), Law in the Middle East, Vol. 1: Origin and Development of Islamic Law, Clark, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange Ltd., 1955, p. 364.
  111. Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984, p. 15.
  112. Abu Hanifa, Al Saif al Maslool, cited in: Arafat Mazhar, ‘Blasphemy and the Death Penalty: Misconceptions Explained’, Dawn News Blogs, November, 2nd, 2015, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1215304, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  113. Coeli Fitzpatrick (ed) and Adam Hani Walker (ed), Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God, Vol. 1, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014, p. 63.
  114. Ibid.
  115. Intisar A. Rabb, Negotiating Speech in Islamic Law and Politics: Flipped Traditions of Expression, in: Anver M. Emon (ed), Mark S. Ellis (ed) and Benjamin Glahn (ed), Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law: Searching for Common Ground?, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 159.
  116. Arafat Mazhar, Blasphemy: The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Law, Presentation at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 21st April, 2016, cited at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/blasphemy-the-untold-story-pakistans-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017; Arafat Mazhar, ‘The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law’, Dawn News Blog, March 14th, 2017, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1149558/the-untold-story-of-pakistans-blasphemy-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017.
  117. Ahmad Atif Ahmad, Islam, Modernity, Violence, and Everyday Life, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009, p. 159.
  118. Arafat Mazhar, Blasphemy: The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Law, Presentation at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 21st April, 2016, cited at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/blasphemy-the-untold-story-pakistans-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017.
  119. Arafat Mazhar, ‘Why blasphemy remains unpardonable in Pakistan’, Dawn, March 27, 2016, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1163596, accessed on 7 April, 2017; Qaiser Julius, ‘The Experience of Minorities Under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 27:1, p. 106.
  120. Arafat Mazhar, Blasphemy: The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Law, Presentation at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 21st April, 2016, cited at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/blasphemy-the-untold-story-pakistans-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017.
  121. Ibid.
  122. Ibid; Asad Jamal, ‘Not An American Conspiracy’, The Express Tribune, Thursday, December 3, 2010, cited at: https://tribune.com.pk/story/85527/not-an-american-conspiracy/, accessed on 30 March, 2017.
  123. ‘Nigeria teacher dies ‘over Koran’’, BBC News, 21st March, 2007, cited at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6477177.stm, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  124. ‘200, 000 Muslims rally in Indonesia to protest against ‘blaspheming’ Christian governor’, RT News, 2nd December, 2016, cited at: https://www.rt.com/news/369022-protest-indonesia-christian-blasphemy/, accessed on 10th March, 2017; ‘Indonesia protest: Jakarta anti-governor protest turns violent’, BBC News, 4th November, 2016, cited at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37856476, accessed on 10thMarch, 2017.
  125. Muhammad Faisal Ali, 125 Christian houses burnt over blasphemy, Dawn News, March 9, 2013, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/791491, accessed on 7 April, 2017.
  126. Shemeem Burney Abbas, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws: From Islamic Empires to the Taliban, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013, p. 143.
  127. pp. 14, 126; Flemming Rose, The Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate on Free Speech, Washington, D.C: Cato Institute, 2014, p. 270.
  128. Elise Duffau and Patrick Lovett, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws back in spotlight after murder of Christian couple, France 24 International News, November 18th, 2014, cited at: http://www.france24.com/en/20141118-focus6pakistan-blasphemy-law-persecution-religious-minorities-violence-christians, accessed on 10th March, 2017.
  129. Ishaan Tharoor, These Bangladeshi bloggers were murdered by Islamist extremists. Here are some of their writings’, The Washington Post, May 2, 2016, cited at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/04/29/these-bangladeshi-bloggers-were-murdered-by-islamist-extremists-here-are-some-of-their-writings/?utm_term=.18868f6cd511, accessed on 23rd March, 2017.
  130. ‘Charlie Hebdo attack: Three days of terror’, BBC News, 14 January, 2014, cited at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30708237, accessed on 7 April, 2017.
  131. Thomas Olesen, From National Event to Transnational Injustice Symbol: The Three Phases of the Muhammad Cartoon Controversy, in: Lorenzo Bosi (ed), Charles Demetriou (ed), Stefan Molthaner (ed), Dynamics of Political Violence: A Process-Orientated Perspective on Radicalization and the Escalation of Political Conflict, London: Routledge, 2014, p. 226.
  132. Kevin Conlon and Kristina Sgueglia, Two shot dead after they open fire at Mohammad cartoon event in Texas, CNN News, May 4, 2015, cited at: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/03/us/mohammed-drawing-contest-shooting/, accessed on 7 April, 2017.
  133. Nilay Saiya, ‘Blasphemy and Terrorism in the Muslim World’, Terrorism and Political Violence, DOI: 10.1080/09546553.2015.1115759, p. 13.
  134. Ibid. p. 1.
  135. Ibid.
  136. Amjad Mahmood Khan, ‘How Anti-Blasphemy Laws Engender Terrorism’, Harvard Law Journal, 56, May, 2015, 1-13.
  137. Kirstin Lawson, ‘ACT parliament passes religious vilification laws’, The Canberra Times, August 4, 2016, cited at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-parliament-passes-religious-vilification-laws-20160804-gqlagu.html, accessed on 7 April, 2017; Kimiko de-Freytas-Tamura, ‘Danish Man Who Burned Quran Is Prosecuted for Blasphemy’, The New York Times, February 23, 2017, cited at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/world/europe/denmark-quran-burning.html?_r=0, accessed on 9 April, 2017; Andrew Lawton, ‘Canada’s parliament wants to fight Islamophobia by killing free speech’, The Washington Post, March 7, 2017, cited at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/03/07/canadas-parliament-wants-to-fight-islamophobia-by-killing-free-speech/?utm_term=.cb70910c3711, accessed on 9 April, 2017; Erick Stakelbeck, ‘Austrian Woman Charged for Criticizing the Koran’, CBN News, September 9, 2010, cited at: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2010/september/austrian-faces-charges-for-criticizing-the-koran/?mobile=false, accessed on 9 April, 2017; Daniel Greenfield, ‘Denmark Charges Iranian Woman With Racism for Criticising Islam’, Frontpage Magazine, December 18, 2012, cited at: http://www.frontpagemag.com/point/170044/denmark-charges-iranian-woman-racism-criticising-daniel-greenfield, accessed on 9 April, 2017; ‘[German] Man convicted for insulting Islam’, The Age, February 24, 2006, cited at: http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/man-convicted-for-insulting-islam/2006/02/24/1140670215934.html, accessed on 9 April, 2017.

 

 Bibliography

 

Medieval and Religious Sources

The Qur’an, Mohsin Khan Translation.

The Qur’an, Muhammad Sarwar Translation.

The Qur’an, Pickthall Translation.

The Qur’an, Sahih International Translation.

The Qur’an, Yusuf Ali Translation.

Abu Hanifa, Al Saif al Maslool, cited in: Arafat Mazhar, ‘Blasphemy and the Death Penalty: Misconceptions Explained’, Dawn News Blogs, November, 2nd, 2015, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1215304, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 1., (Abridged by scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safi-Ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri), Riyadh: Darussalam, 2003.

Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir: All 10 Volumes, cited at: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=uTJoiXp3pS4C&pg=PA87&dq=fitnah+disbelief&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj35afmqIfTAhXKGpQKHUvjAtwQ6AEIGzAA#v=onepage&q=fitnah%20disbelief&f=false, accessed on 23 March, 2017.

Maududi, Sayyid Abdul, Tafhim al-Qur’an, The Meaning of the Qur’an, 33. Surah Al Ahzab (The Clans), cited at: http://www.englishtafsir.com/Quran/33/index.html#sdfootnote108sym, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq ibn Yasār ibn Khiyār, Sirat Rasul Allah, cited in: A. Guillaume (ed), The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Sahih al-Bukhari, cited at: https://www.sahih-bukhari.com/, accessed on 21st March, 2017.

Sahih al-Muslim, Compiled by Imam Abul Hussain Muslim bin al-Hajjaj, trans. Nasiruddin al-Khattab, Riyadh: Darussalam, 2007.

Suarez, Francisco, De Relig., tract. iii, lib. I, cap. iv, n. 1, cited at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02595a.htm, accessed on 2nd March, 2017.

Yar-Shater, Ehsan (ed), The History of al-Tabari, Vol. VII: The Foundation of the Community, (Trans. W. Montgomery Watt and M. V. McDonald), New York: State University of New York Press, 1987.

 

Secondary Sources

Abbas, Shemeem Burney, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws: From Islamic Empires to the Taliban, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013.

Abdul-Raof, Hussein, Schools of Quranic Exegesis: Genesis and Development, Abingdon: Routledge, 2010.

Abiad, Nisrine and Zia Mansoor, Farkhanda, Criminal Law and the Rights of the Child in Muslim States, London: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2010.

Aboul-Enein, Youssef H., Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2010.

Abrahamian, Ervand, The Islamic Left: Radicalism to Liberalism, in: Cronin, Stephanie (ed), Reformers and Revolutionaries in Modern Iran: New Perspectives on the Iranian Left, London: Routledge, 2004.

Adams, Ian, Political Ideology Today, 2nd Ed., Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001.

Ahmad, Ahmad Atif, Islam, Modernity, Violence, and Everyday Life, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.

Ahmed, Asad Ali, Specters of Macaulay: Blasphemy, the Indian Penal Code, and Pakistan’s Postcolonial Predicament, in: Kaur, Raminder (ed) and Mazzarella, William (ed), Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.

Akhtar, Rajnaara C., Unregistered Muslim Marriages: An Emerging Culture of Celebrating Rites and Conceding Rights, in: Miles, Joanna (ed), Mody, Perveez (ed) and Probert, Rebecca (ed), Marriage Rites and Rights, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2015.

Alshamsi, Mansoor Jassem, Islam and Political Reform in Saudi Arabia: The Quest for Political Change and Reform, New York: Routledge, 2011.

Ananta, Aris (ed), Arifin, Evi Nurvidya (ed) and Suryadinata, Leo (ed), Emerging Democracy in Indonesia, Pasir Panjang: Institute of South East Asian Studies, 2005.

Ayoub, Mahmoud (ed), Contemporary Approaches to the Qur’an and Sunnah, London: The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2012.

Bennett, Clinton, Studying Islam: The Critical Issues, London: Continuum, 2010.

Bowering, Gerhard (ed), The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Brockhopp Johnathan E. (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Browers, Michelle, Islamic Political Ideologies, in: Freeden, Michael (ed), Sargent, Lyman Tower (ed) and Stears, Marc (ed), The oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Coertzen, Peter (ed), Green, M. Christian (ed) and Hansen, Len (ed), Religious Freedom and Religious Pluralism in Africa: Prospects and Limitations, Conference-Rapp, 2016.

Dammer, Harry R. (ed) and Albanese, Jay S. (ed), Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, 5th Ed., Belmont: Wadsworth, 2014.

Donner, Fred M., The Historical Context, in: Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Drory, Joseph, Founding a New Mamlaka, in: Michael Winter (ed) and Amalia Levanoni (ed), The Mamluks in Egyptian and Syrian Politics and Society, Leiden: Brill, 2004.

Elhadj, Elie, The Islamic Shield: Arab Resistance to Democratic and Religious Reforms, Boca Raton: Brown Walker Press, 2007.

Esposito, John L. (ed), The Oxford History Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Esposito, John L. (ed), The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Esposito, John L., What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam, 2nd Ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Fatoohi, Louay, Abrogation in the Qur’an and Islamic Law: A Critical Study of the Concept of “Naskh” and it’s Impact, New York: Routledge, 2013.

Fitzpatrick, Coeli (ed) and Walker, Adam Hani (ed), Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God, Vol. 1, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014.

Glasse, Cyril, The New Encyclopedia of Islam: Revised Edition of the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 2001.

Haqq, Anwarul, Abrogation in the Qur’an, Lucknow: Methodist Publishing House, 1925.

Hashemi, Kamran, Religious Legal Traditions, International Human Rights Law and Muslim States, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008.

Hayee, Bilal, ‘Blasphemy Laws and Pakistan’s Human Rights Obligations’, UNDAU Law Review, March, 2012, 14.

Houtsma, M. TH (ed), A.J. Wensinck, A.J., (ed), Arnold, T.W. (ed), Heffening, W (ed) and Provencal, E Levi (ed.), E.J. Brill’s First Encyclopaedia of Islam: 1913-1936, Vol. IV: ITK-KWATTA, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1993.

Ibrahim, Raymond, Taqqiya: War and Deceit in Islam, in: Eric D. Patterson (ed) and Gallagher, John (ed), Debating a War of Ideas, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.

Iqbal, Zafar and Lewis, Mervyn K., An Islamic Perspective on Governance, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2009.

Julius, Qaiser, ‘The Experience of Minorities Under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 27:1.

Khadduri, Majid, International Law, in: Majid Khadduri (ed) and Liebesny, Herbert J. (ed), Law in the Middle East, Vol. 1: Origin and Development of Islamic Law, Clark, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange Ltd., 1955.

Khan, Amjad Mahmood, ‘How Anti-Blasphemy Laws Engender Terrorism’, Harvard Law Journal, Vol. 56, May, 2015.

Khan, Siraj, Blasphemy Against the Prophet, in: Fitzpatrick, Coeli (ed) and Walker, Adam Hani (ed), Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God, Vol. 1, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014.

Knysh, Alexander, Multiple Areas of Influence, in: McAuliffe, Jane Dammen (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Kuster, Volker, Toward an Intercultural Theology, in: Mortensen, Viggo (ed), Theology and the Religions: A Dialogue, Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing company, 2003.

Langer, Lorenz, Religious Offence and Human Rights: The Implications of Defamation of Religions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Leaf, Murray J., The Anthropology of Western Religions: Ideas, Organizations, and Constituencies, Lanham: Lexington Books, 2014.

Levy, Leonard W., Blasphemy: Verbal Offense Against the Sacred, From Moses to Salman Rushdie, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993.

Lewis, Bernard, The Jews of Islam, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984.

Matusitz, Johnathan, Symbolism in Terrorism: Motivation, Communication, and Behavior, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Mazhar, Arafat, Blasphemy: The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Law, Presentation at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 21st April, 2016, cited at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/blasphemy-the-untold-story-pakistans-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017.

Mazhar, Arafat, ‘The Untold Story of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law’, Dawn News Blog, March 14th, 2017, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1149558/the-untold-story-of-pakistans-blasphemy-law, accessed on 20th March, 2017.

Mazhar, Arafat, ‘Why blasphemy remains unpardonable in Pakistan’, Dawn, March 27, 2016, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1163596, accessed on 7 April, 2017.

Meisami, Julie Scott (ed) and Starkey, Paul (ed), Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, Vol. 2: L-Z, London: Routledge, 1998.

Menchik, Jeremy, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia: Tolerance without Liberalism, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Moosa, Ebrahim, Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005.

Mutahhari, Ayatullah Murtadha, Islam and Religious Pluralism, 2nd Ed., Stanmore, Middlesex: The World Federation of KSIMC, 2006.

Nash, David, Blasphemy in the Christian World: A History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Ocvirk, Drago K., Jesus – Neither a Hand of Reconciliation Nor An Apple of Discord Between Christians and Muslims, in: Juhant, Janez (ed) and Zalec, Bojan (ed), Reconciliation: The Way of Healing and Growth, Zurich: LIT, 2012.

Olesen, Thomas, From National Event to Transnational Injustice Symbol: The Three Phases of the Muhammad Cartoon Controversy, in: Bosi, Lorenzo (ed), Demetriou, Charles (ed), Molthaner, Stean (ed), Dynamics of Political Violence: A Process-Orientated Perspective on Radicalization and the Escalation of Political Conflict, London: Routledge, 2014.

Pandolfo, Stefania, Impasse of the Angels: Scenes from a Moroccan Space of Memory, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Peacock, A.C.S., Medieval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy, London: Routledge, 2007.

Peters, Rudolph, Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Qasmi, A.H., Islamic Government, Delhi: Isha Books, 2008.

Rabb, Intisar A, Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Rabb, Intisar A., Negotiating Speech in Islamic Law and Politics: Flipped Traditions of Expression, in: Emon, Anver M. (ed), Ellis, Mark S. (ed) and Glahn, Benjamin (ed), Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law: Searching for Common Ground?, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Rabb, Intisar A., Society and Propriety: The Cultural Construction of Defamation and Blasphemy as Crimes in Islamic Law, in: Adang, Camilla (ed), Ansari, Hassan (ed), Fierro, Maribel (ed) and Schmidtke, Sabine (ed), Accusations of Unbelief in Islam: A Diachronic Perspective on Takfir, Leiden: Brill, 2016.

Radics, George Baylon and Poon, Yee Suan, ‘Amos Yee, Free Speech, and Maintaining Religious Harmony in Singapore’, University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review, Vol. 12, Iss. 2, Art. 3, cited at: http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&context=alr, accessed on 10thMarch, 2017.

Rafiabadi, Hamid Naseem, Saints and Saviours of Islam, New Delhi: Sarup & Sons, 2005.

Riaz, Ali, Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2008.

Rose, Flemming, The Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate on Free Speech, Washington, D.C: Cato Institute, 2014.

Sachedina, Abdulaziz, The Qur’an and Other Religions, in: McAuliffe, Jane Dammen (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Saeed, Abdullah, Islamic Thought: An Introduction, London: Routledge, 2006.

Saiya, Nilay, ‘Blasphemy and Terrorism in the Muslim World’, Terrorism and Political Violence, DOI: 10.1080/09546553.2015.1115759.

Shah, Niaz A., Islamic Law and the Law of Armed Conflict: The Armed Conflict in Pakistan, London: Routledge, 2011.

Syed, Mohammad Ali, The Position of Women in Islam: A Progressive View, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004.

Takim, Liyakat, Maqasid al-Shari’a in Contemporary Shi’i Jurisprudence, in: Duderija, Adis, Maqasid al-Shari’a and Contemporary Reformist Muslim Thought: An Examination, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.

Theodorou, Angelina E, ‘Which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy?’, Pew Research Center, June 29, 2016, cited at: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/29/which-countries-still-outlaw-apostasy-and-blasphemy/, accessed on 18 March, 2017.

Wasti, Tahir, The Application of Islamic Criminal Law in Pakistan: Sharia in Practice, Leiden: Brill, 2009.

Wijsen, Frans (ed) and Nissen, Peter (ed), Mission is a Must: Intercultural Theology and the Mission of the Church, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002.

Wild, Stefan, Political Interpretation of the Qur’an, in: McAuliffe, Jane Dammen (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

 

Primary Media Sources

 ‘200, 000 Muslims rally in Indonesia to protest against ‘blaspheming’ Christian governor’, RT News, 2nd December, 2016, cited at: https://www.rt.com/news/369022-protest-indonesia-christian-blasphemy/, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

Ahmed, Dawood, ‘Rise of Blasphemy Charges: Saudi Arabia, Iran’, Indonesia in Perspective, Dawn News, January 1, 2015, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1154251, accessed on 5 March, 2017.

Ali, Muhammad Faisal, 125 Christian houses burnt over blasphemy, Dawn News, March 9, 2013, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/791491, accessed on 7 April, 2017.

‘Blasphemy in Pakistan: Bad-Mouthing’, The Economist, November 27th, 2014, cited at: http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21635070-pakistans-blasphemy-laws-legitimise-intolerance-bad-mouthing, accessed on 25th March, 2017.

‘Blasphemy law use on rise, led by Pakistan: US group’, Dawn News, March 13, 2014, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1092919, accessed on 10 March, 2017.

‘Blasphemy: What you need to know about Asia Bibi’s trial’, Dawn News, October 13th, 2016, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1289700, accessed on 5th March, 2017.

Boone, Jon and Baloch, Kiyya, ‘Asia Bibi blasphemy case to be heard by Pakistan supreme court’, The Guardian, 12th October, 2016, cited at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/11/asia-bibi-pakistan-blasphemy-law-supreme-court-death-sentence-salmaan-taseer, accessed on 18th March, 2017.

‘Charlie Hebdo attack: Three days of terror’, BBC News, 14 January, 2014, cited at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30708237, accessed on 7 April, 2017.

‘Christian Woman Sentenced to Death in Blasphemy Case’, Dawn News, November 12th, 2010, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/580993/christian-woman-sentenced-to-death-in-blasphemy-case-2, accessed on 12th March, 2017.

De-Freytas-Tamura, Kimiko ‘Danish Man Who Burned Quran Is Prosecuted for Blasphemy’, The New York Times, February 23, 2017, cited at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/world/europe/denmark-quran-burning.html?_r=0, accessed on 9 April, 2017.

Duffau, Elise and Lovett, Patrick, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws back in spotlight after murder of Christian couple, France 24 International News, November 18th, 2014, cited at: http://www.france24.com/en/20141118-focus6pakistan-blasphemy-law-persecution-religious-minorities-violence-christians, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

‘Egypt’s worrying rise in criminal blasphemy cases’, Amnesty International News, June 11, 2013, cited at: http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/egypt-s-worrying-rise-in-criminal-blasphemy-cases, accessed on 14 March, 2017.

Farahnaz Ispahani, Symbolic Gestures Not Enough for Pakistan’s Minorities’, Religious Freedom Institute, March 14, 2017, cited at: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/3/14/symbolic-gestures-not-enough-for-pakistans-minorities, accessed on 30thMarch, 2017.

Freedom House, Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights, A Freedom House Special Report, October, 2010.

‘German Man convicted for insulting Islam’, The Age, February 24, 2006, cited at: http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/man-convicted-for-insulting-islam/2006/02/24/1140670215934.html, accessed on 9 April, 2017.

Greenfield, Daniel, ‘Denmark Charges Iranian Woman With Racism for Criticising Islam’, Frontpage Magazine, December 18, 2012, cited at: http://www.frontpagemag.com/point/170044/denmark-charges-iranian-woman-racism-criticising-daniel-greenfield, accessed on 9 April, 2017.

Hashim, Asad, ‘Living in Fear Under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law’, Aljazeera News, 17th May, 2014, cited at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/05/living-fear-under-pakistan-blasphemy-law-20145179369144891.html, accessed on 23rd March, 2017.

Hodal, Kate, ‘Indonesia’s atheists face battle for religious freedom’, The Guardian, 3 May, 2012, cited at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/may/03/indonesia-atheists-religious-freedom-aan, accessed on 22 May, 2017.

‘Indonesia protest: Jakarta anti-governor protest turns violent’, BBC News, 4th November, 2016, cited at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37856476, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

Jamal, Asad, ‘Not An American Conspiracy’, The Express Tribune, Thursday, December 3, 2010, cited at: https://tribune.com.pk/story/85527/not-an-american-conspiracy/, accessed on 30 March, 2017.

‘Jordanian poet accused of ‘atheism and blasphemy’’, Daily Star Lebanon, October 25, 2008, cited at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Art/2008/Oct-25/116271-jordanian-poet-accused-of-atheism-and-blasphemy.ashx, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

‘Journalists fined over Islam joke’, BBC News, 15 January 2007, cited at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6262919.stm, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

‘Kevin Conlon and Kristina Sgueglia, Two shot dead after they open fire at Mohammad cartoon event in Texas’, CNN News, May 4, 2015, cited at: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/03/us/mohammed-drawing-contest-shooting/, accessed on 7 April, 2017.

Koutsoukis, Jason, ‘As Asia Bibi waits on death row, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws in spotlight as deaths increase’, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 17th, 2015, cited at: http://www.smh.com.au/world/as-asia-bibi-waits-on-death-row-pakistans-blasphemy-laws-in-spotlight-as-deaths-increase-20150116-12s9d7.html, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

Lawson, Kirstin, ‘ACT parliament passes religious vilification laws’, The Canberra Times, August 4, 2016, cited at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-parliament-passes-religious-vilification-laws-20160804-gqlagu.html, accessed on 7 April, 2017.

Lawton, Andrew, ‘Canada’s parliament wants to fight Islamophobia by killing free speech’, The Washington Post, March 7, 2017, cited at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/03/07/canadas-parliament-wants-to-fight-islamophobia-by-killing-free-speech/?utm_term=.cb70910c3711, accessed on 9 April, 2017.

Malkawi, Salah, ‘Jordanian poet prepares for jail’, The National, September 2, 2009, cited at: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/jordanian-poet-prepares-for-jail, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

‘Men accused of blasphemy, Zafar Bhatti and Muhammad Asghar, shot in Pakistani Jail’, ABC News, 25 September, 2014, cited at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-25/men-accused-of-blasphemy-shot-in-pakistani-jail/5770254, accessed on 23rd March, 2017.

‘Nigeria teacher dies ‘over Koran’’, BBC News, 21st March, 2007, cited at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6477177.stm, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

‘Pakistan Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti shot dead’, BBC News, 2nd March, 2011, cited at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-12617562, accessed on 12th March, 2017.

Patung, ‘Abdul Rahman’, Indonesia Matters, February 27th, 2006, cited at: http://www.indonesiamatters.com/130/abdul-rahman-blasphemer/, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

Shams, Shamil, ‘Asia Bibi’s appeal against death penalty – A test case for Pakistan’, Deutsche Welle News, 12th October, 2016, cited at: http://www.dw.com/en/asia-bibis-appeal-against-death-penalty-a-test-case-for-pakistan/a-36023532, accessed on 12th March, 2017.

Stakelbeck, Erick, ‘Austrian Woman Charged for Criticizing the Koran’, CBN News, September 9, 2010, cited at: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2010/september/austrian-faces-charges-for-criticizing-the-koran/?mobile=false, accessed on 9 April, 2017.

‘Tabinda Siddiqi, Timeline: Accused Under the Blasphemy Law’, Dawn News, August 18th, 2013, cited at: https://www.dawn.com/news/750512, accessed on 10 March, 2017.

Tharoor, Ishaan, These Bangladeshi bloggers were murdered by Islamist extremists. Here are some of their writings’, The Washington Post, May 2, 2016, cited at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/04/29/these-bangladeshi-bloggers-were-murdered-by-islamist-extremists-here-are-some-of-their-writings/?utm_term=.18868f6cd511, accessed on 23rd March, 2017.

‘Turkey arrests women on suspicion of blasphemy, Dunya News Pakistan, cited at: http://dunyanews.tv/en/World/241854-Turkey-arrests-woman-on-suspicion-of-blasphemy, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

‘Twenty-Year Old on Death Row After “Confessing” on Promise of Freedom’, Center for Human Rights in Iran News, September 14, 2014, cited at: https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2016/09/sina-dehghan-death-sentence-for-sabb-al-nabi/, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

‘UK teacher jailed over teddy row’, BBC News, 30 November 2007, cited at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7119399.stm, accessed on 10th March, 2017.

Zriqat, Thaer, ‘Man jailed by Dubai court for insulting Islam on Facebook’, The National, May 28, 2015, cited at: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/courts/man-jailed-by-dubai-court-for-insulting-islam-on-facebook, accessed on 20th March, 2017.

  2 Responses to “Blasphemy in the Muslim World: A Research Essay”

  1. J’ai émis quelques objections à ce papier et l’auteur a eu l’amabilité d’y répondre: https://michaelsherlockauthor.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/blasphemy-in-the-muslim-world-answering-a-reasonable-critique/

    • Voici ma réplique (en attente de modération):

      Thank you for this response and your nice words! It is a rarity in discussions on this topic and I highly appreciate it. Please allow me to expand on the matter, not as a criticism, but in order to clarify my vision.

      Of course, Muslim scholars can and could cherry pick their references and adapt some aspects of the Fiqh under pressure of circumstances, or under some political pressure applied by some ruler. There are many examples in the late Ottoman Empire, where the Kânûn effectively replaced some of the most unacceptable prescriptions of the Sharia (albeit only in regions of the Empire where the Sultan cared to rule). You mention another example with Indonesia, where rulers have been able to impose a moderate version of Islam for decades (albeit only after the deep shock left by the slaughters of 1965-1966). However, I think that the time has now passed where such pressure could be of any use, because too many Muslims are now too well informed about the tenets of their religion.

      For example, the fitnah said to be ‘worse than murder’ in the Quran (2.191, 2.217) is not the civil unrest one – it is the obstruction to religion, or the Shirk (which blasphemy can easily be shown as being a manifestation), and which would rather require some violent action. It is obvious from the context, and so many Muslims do know this context by now that a demonstration based on this skewing of the Quranic text would be very difficult to defend effectively, with credibility, within an Islamic framework. What the Ottoman rulers, or Sukarno and Suharto, could enforce would quite probably remain a dead letter today, as the whole body of Islamic founding texts, exegesis and jurisprudence is online (at least in Arabic). Furthermore, such novelty would please not knowledgeable non-Muslims and apologists working out of ‘Islamdom’. It would thus strengthen the appeal of Islam among non-Muslims and facilitate Muslims’ policy of entryism in the West and elsewhere. As it has done during the last decades.

      Thus, would Islamic scholars and authorities accept this strategy, I’m afraid that people living in majority Muslim countries would stay under the threat of sanctions for blasphemy, perhaps even more so if the government abandons them, for Mohamed is supposed to have said: ‘Whoever among you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand….’ (Sahih according to Al-Albani and Darussalam). This whereas Islam would enjoy a better reputation in our countries, where it would be harder still to counteract its advance. I think that we would so further deepen the gap between the official discourse spread by the elites and the reality on the ground.

      As counterintuitive as it may sound at first, I think that we, in the West, had better concentrate on the total impossibility to (honestly) reform Islam (within its own framework). We should rather advocate for a total ban, or a moratorium, everywhere outside of Islam. We then can use your argument, and say that Islam, now, generates too much trouble and security risk. This while focusing the scholarship on the aspects that discredit the Islamic tale as thoroughly as possible, as being an almost complete fabrication, thus giving some ammunition to real reformers acting within Islam. Anything else will always also benefit Islam as it is, as it has been for over 1000 years (which we can show for example by gathering all tafsirs of all madhahib, from the 8th century to our days on specific problematic topics) and thus aggravate the problem.

      Thank you for reading this.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(requis)

(requis)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.