Monday, October 20, 2014

Just Another Day In Pakistan. No Doubt The West's Fault.

A federal appeals court has upheld the death penalty for a Muslim woman convicted of blasphemy in 2010.

Andrea Wilkinson was found guilty of making derogatory comments about Jesus Christ during an argument with a Christian woman.

The Court rejected her appeal against the sentence passed by a lower court. Her lawyers have vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Ms. Wilkinson's sentence in 2010 sparked global condemnation.

Ms.Wilkinson consistently denied the allegations against her,saying they stemmed from an argument with a group of women over a pot of water.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in the USA. Critics argue that blasphemy laws are frequently misused to settle personal scores and that members of minority groups are often unfairly targeted.

Since the 1990s, scores of Muslims have been convicted for desecrating the Holy Bible or for blasphemy.

While most of them have been sentenced to death by the lower courts, many sentences have been overturned due to lack of evidence.

Christians constitute a majority of those prosecuted,followed by minority Jews.

You probably have guessed this did not happen in the USA. Still, the above story would be identical to a recent BBC report if you substitute for the italicized words or phrases, respectively: Pakistani court; Christian woman; Asia Bibi; Prophet Muhammad; Muslim woman; Lahore High Court; Ms. Bibi's; Pakistan; Christians; Koran; Muslims; minority Ahmadis.

Now today we read

Pakistan's authorities have suspended a TV channel supporting opposition politician Imran Khan for 15 days for allegedly defaming the judiciary.

ARY News TV was also fined 10m rupees ($97,089; £60,182) by broadcasting regulator Pemra.

It is the second time in four months that regulators have halted broadcasts by a network.

In June, Pemra gave a similar suspension to GEO TV - Pakistan's most watched news channel.

In a statement, the watchdog said ARY News had been "maligning honourable courts and judiciary". 

Fortunately, such antiquated notions of repression and oppression are confined to the government and are thoroughly rejected  by the masses.  Unfortunately, not so, given that

Despite creeping modernity, secular condemnation and the fact there’s no reference to stoning in the Koran, honor killings claim the lives of more than 1,000 Pakistani women every year, according to a Pakistani rights group.

They have widespread appeal. Eighty-three percent of Pakistanis support stonings for adultery according to a Pew survey, and only 8 percent oppose it. Even those who chose modernity over Islamic fundamentalism overwhelmingly favor stonings, according to Pew research.

Three years ago, the former head of Pakistan's army and its president, stated of the nation's chief foe, India, "no one ever speaks of the dangers of a Hindu bomb."

Of course not, though they would if there were any reason. But there is concern about Pakistan, for reasons not completely unrelated to the regime having embraced Sharia law.

And yet, we have this (video below).  Bill Maher made a passing reference to Asia Bibi on last Friday's "Real Time" and sarcastically commented "So yeah, Sam Harris and I were way off on that." Predictably, yet another Salon writer flailed at Maher and fellow terrorism critic Sam Harris.  Sarah Gray remarked "David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, fired back at Maher giving him a history lesson on where the blasphemy laws originated and asked Maher if he had ever actually been to Pakistan."

A history lesson- naive and paternalistic, both in one short phrase. As for the  present, Maher admitted he had never gone to Pakistan. Perhaps he never has gone to Iraq and Syria either, though he has an opinion about the wars over there. You probably do, too, as does Sarah Gray in all likelihood. Alternatively, we could leave USA policy up to the generals who have been there. Not a wise move.

You knew that the report at the beginning of this post was a fake, and you probably are not surprised that the incident has been unraveling as the BBC reported it. That evidently puts you, dear reader, ahead of many of the critics of Bill Maher and Sam Harris.

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