Blasphemy Laws: Parallels with Heresy, Inquisitions and Crusades!

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The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) is a declaration of the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which provides an overview on the Islamic perspective on human rights, and affirms Islamic Shari’ah as its sole source.  CDHRI declares its purpose to be “general guidance for Member States in the Field of human rights.” This declaration is usually seen in many Islamic countries as a response to the post-World War II United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948. The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, however, fully condones the UDHR. For details see a book by Sir Zafrulla Khan, Human Rights.

The CDHRI was adopted on August 5, 1990 by 45 foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to serve as guidance for the member states in the matters of human rights.  The Declaration starts by forbidding “any discrimination on the basis of race, color, language, belief, sex, religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations.”
It continues on to proclaim the sanctity of life, and declares the “preservation of human life” as “a duty prescribed by the Shariah.” In addition the CDHRI guarantees “nonbelligerents such as old men, women and children,” “wounded and the sick” and “prisoners of war,” the right to be fed, sheltered and access to safety and medical treatment in times of war.  According to Wikipedia, “Article 10 states, ‘Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion or to atheism.’
So the Declaration prohibits to force anybody ‘to change his religion to another religion or to atheism,’ but it gives the individual no freedom to change his religion or belief from Islam to another religion.”

To read further about Cairo Declaration, please click here.

In contrast, to the myopic vision of the attendees of the conference, in regards to apostasy, Islam has a universal approach to freedom of thought and human rights as I have outlined in many of my articles about Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The moderate and wise Muslims should go for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights rather than the misplaced emphasis on blashpemy and apostacy created in the the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI).  The Cairo declaration only reflects myopic vision and lack of wisdom and a medieval non-thinking mindset!

Islambad, Pakistan (CNN) Nov 2010— Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will pardon a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, the governor of Punjab state told CNN Tuesday.

“What basically he’s made it clear is that she’s not going to be a victim of this law,” Gov. Salman Taseer told CNN International’s “Connect the World” program.

“I mean, he’s a liberal, modern-minded president and he’s not going to see a poor woman like this targeted and executed. … It’s just not going to happen,” Taseer said.

Asia Bibi, who has been jailed for nearly 15 months, was convicted in a Pakistani court earlier this month of breaking the country’s controversial blasphemy law by insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, a crime punishable with death or life imprisonment, according to Pakistan’s penal code. She was sentenced to death.

She has filed a petition for mercy with the High Court, Taseer said.

“If the High Court suspends the sentence and gives her bail then that is fine. We’ll see that, and if that doesn’t happen, then the president will pardon her,” he said.

Muslim countries will have to cave in under international pressure in case of non-Muslims accused of blasphemy, which is a good thing, the point I am trying to make is that silliness and militancy of these ideas will work only against the Muslims and Islam.  It is high time that the moderate Muslims stand up for the moderation that they preach!

Just like Heresy, Heresy, Inquisitions and Crusades impinged on the religious freedom of individuals, so do the blasphemy laws and Cairo Declaration.

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