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The British government prosecuted Nigel Wingrove for his film "Visions of Ecstasy" on the grounds of blasphemy and banned the film. The European Court for Human Rights upheld the ban. But now UK Government has repealed Blasphemy law. And most Western Governments allow ridiculing Islam and the Holy Prophet (sws) on the pretext of freedom of speech! Many of them regard exposing Distortions Of Holocaust as a punishable crime but not Blasphemy!
Blasphemy - Why US and Western Countries Must Reinforce or Enact and Amend Laws Against Blasphemy? 
An article by Shah N. Khan

Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the Constitution and by different laws in different countries. But nowhere freedom is absolute. In most countries obscenity, incitement to illegal action, defamation, racism and fighting words are not protected. In some European countries even denial of Holocaust is punishable crime. 

Dictionaries define Blasphemy as a contemptuous or profane 
act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a prophet or 
sacred entity. It also means the act of claiming for oneself  the attributes and rights of God. It is also an irreverent or 
impious act, attitude, or utterance in regard to something 
considered inviolable or sacrosanct.

In common law in the West, Blasphemy is a crime of speaking or publishing words that vilify or ridicule God, the Bible, or 
religious beliefs. Scurrility and a resultant tendency to provoke 
a public disturbance are the criteria for blasphemy. Laws that 
condemn it are held to be in consonance with the laws that protect freedom of speech. Blasphemy is still a crime in Britain and in most of the United States, but prosecutions are now rare. But in medieval  Europe people used to be burned alive or killed for blasphemy. Ridiculing Pope and Clergy was treated as a form of blasphemy. Here is an extract from Bible.

'All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto 
men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.' _ Bible: New Testament. Matthew 12:31

In rest of the world also uttering words against kings or religious deity  was considered as a sin punishable usually by death.  It was Islam that discouraged such widespread cruelties. 

"You will continue to come upon some act of treachery on their part, except for a few of them, so pardon them and overlook." AlQuran,5:15 

In his movie "Passion of the Christ" the Australian born producer and actor Mel Gibson in good faith narrated historical facts about the role of Jewish rabies in crucifying of Jesus Christ. There were strong protests from Jewish lobby and Gibson had to tender apology.


When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) started preaching Islam he faced stiff opposition . He was offered bribe to give up preaching the new religion. When that failed, he was abused and molested. But he continued his mission undaunted and his following continued growing. Kuffar tried to threaten him and started plotting to assassinate  him. But Holy prophet showed utmost patience and restraint. He forgave who had abused and molested him. But where kindness and courtesy did not prove to be efficacious and there was potential danger that physical harm would come to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) his follower killed the aggressors before they could carry out their threatened action. 

Islam came to be known as a religion that provided relief 
from all sorts of oppression and injustice. That is why Famous English writer H.G. Wells (1866-1946) wrote:

All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto 
men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost 
shall not be forgiven unto men.' 
_ Bible: New Testament. Matthew 12:31


'Islam established in the world a great tradition of dignified fair dealing and created a society more free from wide spread cruelty and social oppression than any society had been in the world before'.

During lifetime of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) blasphemy used to treated with tolerance, except where there was potential danger of physical harm or where attempts were made to deliberately obstruct movement and speech of the Holy Prophet or to assassinate him.

After death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)  certain persons tried to launch vilification campaign against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Caliphs to obstruct fast developing popularity of Islam. During this period the enemies of Islam committing blasphemy with intent to disrupt peace were punished by death sentence. The fatwas  (Rulings) issued during that period  became laws of  Shariat the reason behind that was punishing insurgency, rebellion & treason.  The laws relating to blasphemy in Pakistan were modified during the last decade when Shariat courts were strengthened. These laws prohibit vilification of any recognized religion and not Islam only.

Salman Rushdie,  born in 1947 in Bombay India became 
infamous by writing  a deplorable book  The Satanic Verses 
in 1988.  The book contained mischievous and disparaging 
remarks about the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and distorted facts 
about Islam. It was banned in several Islamic countries. The publishers and the author tried to cash in on these protests 
and intensified publicity for its sale. In 1989 Iran's Ayatollah 
Ruhollah Khomeini took notice of this devilish campaign and 
declared that Rushdie and everyone involved in the book's 
publication deserved to  be put to death, Rushdie's went in 
hiding in Britain having acquired British nationality.

Generally Muslims believe that uttering disparaging words about the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is a grave sin. Orthodox Muslims believe that it a crime too that is punishable by killing. They appear to have been influenced by the Orthodox Ulema who quote different verses from Holy Quran and traditions narrated by different companions of the Holy Prophet and others.

In various discussion groups on the Internet the case of 
Dr. Mohammed Younas a lecturer of  homeopathic college who 
was sentenced to death by a district court in Islamabad came 
up for discussion . A group of students had complained to a 
religious leader that during a lecture he had made blasphemous remarks. The accused denied the charges and submitted a written statement to the court that he had full faith in Islam and could not even think of committing blasphemy.

The International media is treating the incident as an indication 
that like Afghanistan, Pakistan is also going in the hands of 
religious extremists. Most of the Muslim participants have 
sympathized with the Dr. Younus and hoped that Laws would be interpreted or reviewed in the Islamic tradition of tolerance, 
kindness and forgiveness. They pointed out that the Holy Prophet (PBH) used to forgive a number of people who abused and even molested him. Even prisoners of war used to be treated kindly  by him. The virtues of forgiveness, tolerance and kindness are narrated in Holy Quran and in the sayings of Holy Prophet (PBH) on a number of places. They opined that in that spirit the laws relating to blasphemy may be interpreted and reviewed where necessary. 

On the other hand those who support the Death Penalty for Blasphemy against the Holy Prophet Mohammed quote various Hadiths in support of their contentions. But these hadiths do not give details of the cases and what type of trial was conducted and if any evidence was given. There are various incidents where Holy Prophet (sws) not only those who ridiculed him but also those who had persecuted hi,

It is well known that Muslim Ummah is divided in many different sects. The main reasons are the way the verses of Holy Quran and Hadiths are interpreted and the credence and interpretation given to traditions. Many sects do not recognize various fatwas given  centuries ago as law as according to them they were given under a different set of circumstances whereas some believe them to be the part of Sahria. 

Besides great variations in convictions and thinking of different 
sects and ulemas, it is a sad fact that the Ummah has forgotten 
the real teachings of the Holy Prophet(PBUH) relating to acquisition of knowledge, honest dealings in our day to day activites, kindness, Human rights, Zakat, fasting and prayers, piety and taqwa etc. but we become very sentimental when some Muslim brethern do not agree with our interpretation of Holy Quran and Hadiths on much less important issues. We do follow the path prescribed for honest earnings and doing productive work for the progress and welfare of the country and the Ummah but waste time in counter productive issues.   May Allah help us to understand what is right and what is wrong. Sectarian hatred has become a serious problem and there is greater need for tolerance and patience. Let us remember what the Holy Quran says: "You will continue to come upon some act of treachery on their part, except for a few of them, so pardon them and overlook." (5:15) 

The anger of Muslims over production of movies, publication of cartoons, articles ridiculing Islam and the Holy Prophet Mohammed (SWS) like the infamous novel of Salman Rushdi can be justified. But expressing anger through violent protests and riots that killed innocent people besides damage to private property is against the teachings of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (sws) and the Islamic norms of behavior and Shariah. 

Killing of US envoy and other official in Libya must be condemned in strongest possible words as it is fanatical rage and violation of Sharia. Muslim leaders must teach the ignorant masses of Muslims that Islam lays down great emphasis on tolerance, peace, kindness, justice, forgiveness, dignified behavior and fair dealing. 

At the same time Western countries in the larger interest of harmony and peaceful co-existence must reinforce and amend Blasphemy Laws to penalize all sorts of hate-mongering against any community and ridiculing, harsh words and criticism of and campaigning against any religious faith or public burning of Holy Scriptures. 

Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the Constitution and by different laws in different countries. But nowhere freedom is absolute. In most countries obscenity, incitement to illegal action, defamation, racism and fighting words are not protected. In some European countries even denial of Holocaust is punishable crime. 

Dr. Robert Faurisson has served as a respected professor of twentieth-century French literature and document criticism at the University of Lyon-2 in France. He is labled as Holocaust-denier who generated controversy over various articles he published in the Journal of Historical Review and elsewhere, which denied the existence of homicidal gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps and questioned whether there was actually a systematic killing of European Jews using gas during World War II.

In 1991, Faurisson was removed from his university chair on the basis of his views under the Gayssot Act, a French statute passed in 1990 that prohibited Holocaust denial. He challenged the statute as a violation of international law at the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Human Rights Committee. The Human Rights Committee upheld the Gayssot Act as necessary to counter possible anti-Semitism.

Marmaduke Pickthall, the British scholar of Islam and translator of the Quran had written, "It was not until the Western nations broke away from their religious law that they became more tolerant, and it was only when the Muslims fell away from their religious law that they declined in tolerance."

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