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Pakistani Muslim cleric extremists accuse the Bible of blasphemy
A group of extremist Muslim clerics demanded recently that Pakistan’s Supreme Court declare that some passages in the Bible are blasphemous, because they depict some prophets committing a number of moral excesses.
The clerics, led by Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi said the stories are “insertions” and are blasphemous. However, the charge did not specify exactly which verses in the bible they are referring to, and why they are blasphemous, CNS News said.
The clerics made the statement during a press conference that was held at Masjid-e-Khizra, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. Farooqi said if the Supreme Court does not declare the materials blasphemous, then they will move for the banning of the bible in Pakistan by the court. Farooqi added that they already have a group of lawyers who are preparing for this possibility, The International News said.
The clerics, in what is the latest move by extremists to use Pakistan’s blasphemy laws to prevent “insults,” noted that Florida Pastor Terry Jones burned the Qur’an and they simply want to settle the score, CNS News said.
However, Farooqi said they don’t intend to burn the bible. Instead, they are looking for ways to prevent and pre-empt any possible future desecrations, according to The International News.
Farooqi, who heads the Islamist Jamiat Ulema-e-slam Sami-ul-Haq organization, did not specify the offensive passages. Under the blasphemy law in Pakistan, accusers are careful not to repeat the allegedly “offending” words, lest the accuser also become accused of blasphemy, CNS News said.
Muslims believe that Mohammed is the last of a long list of Islamic prophets who go back to the time of Adam and Eve. It is possible that the offensive verses may include those referencing to David, who impregnated Bathsheba and arranged to have her husband killed in battle.
Another possibly offensive writing may be the story of Solomon, who in the end intermarried with pagan women and worshiped other gods.
In Pakistan, the punishment for violating the blasphemy law may include life imprisonment or the death penalty. The law forbids insulting the name of Muhammad “by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly,” CNS News said.
Farooqi said he did not think the Christian and Muslim faiths will clash over this issue. He said that if the courts operate according to law, this will preclude any possibility of any violent clash, The International News reported.
Farooqi also said he is very sure that they will be able to prove blasphemy in court. Otherwise, any punishment that the court decides to impose will be acceptable to them, CNS News reported.
A leading Pakistani writer and analyst, Khaled Ahmed, predicted in 2006, that Muslim extremists may try to target the bible by wielding the blasphemy law. Ahmed told CNS News, “Most Pakistanis are not aware of the dangers our law against blasphemy might entail. The law says no prophet shall be insulted and awards death for the offence. This means that prophets in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition are all protected.”
Ahmed said to CNS News, “But do we know what the Bible says about Old Testament prophets? What if the stories of the Bible are taken to court and found blasphemous? Will we then have to burn the Bible and kill all the Christians who read it?”
Farooqi’s JUI-S party is closely affiliated with a number of jihadi organizations, among them the Taliban. The founder of the party, Sami-ul-Haq heads a madrassa where a number of Taliban leaders studied, including Mullah Omar, CNS News said.