Afzal Sayed Munna:
I was thinking not to write something about it as it has got a mix flavour of religion with it. Religion was and is always a sentimental issue to discuss, especially in public. However, after reading all the dailies published internationally and locally and also by listening to the television news I could not resist myself from writing. What is actually the matter with Asia Bibi? When I asked this question myself I could not find any legitimate answer. Let us talk some basics, Asia Bibi a 54-year-old Christian women who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy. Now just to explain here for my readers blasphemy means the action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk. James 4:11-12 states ‘’ Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one, who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbour’’? Now the question is, if we are not allowed to speak evil against our brother how can we speak evil about God (Allah in case of Muslims). On the other hand, Sūrat l-Hujurāt (49:11) states ‘’O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers’’.
This clearly shows that no one religion permits anyone from saying and or calling anyone on any names that upset that person, and thus if we are not allowed to speak evil on our brothers and sisters, then how can we accept evil talks about our Prophet or his companions. This remains unanswered for many years and everyone might have a different view. But for a true believer these are the words of god and followed generation after generation without asking further question. In fact, religion is all about believe. If you believe there is a god, you believe so and vice versa. Religion is a practice of belief and not enforced to be a burden on anyone.
We must not forget, country sovereignty and thus should not interfere with any other country without having legitimate excuse to put our judgement on their matters. Pakistan is a Muslim country and thus they have their own law and order to practice their freedom. In regards to Asia Bibi, I wonder Boris Johnson wrote a letter to Home Office where he mentioned that, Britain should allow Asia Bibi a asylum and do it fast as we can take the advantage of demonstrating the symbol of religious liberty. There are few others who are also backing this statement, which national televisions are promoting at loud. What makes me to think, is it really a good idea for UK to allow her asylum and provide a safe home? Does this mean that, UK becomes a charity organisation and a safe heaven for people out the border more than a country? And if the answer is yes, what about the people who face this rape, even gang rape, torture, violence every other day, every other corner of the world? Are we going to accept and grant everyone asylum? Guardian reported, more than 60 people have been killed in Pakistan by mobs after blasphemy accusations since 1990. Why we did not become so vocal like the we are now? According to Indian Express official estimation there were about 200,000 to 400,000 innocent women’s and young girls have been raped by the Pakistani military in 1971. Are they who are alive going to get asylum in UK? Or their family members going to get acceptance to UK to live their future life? I believe the answer is going to be an obvious NO. We should not forget we as Britain have many problems that we are struggling to solve, including Brexit, knife and drug crime so please do not bring another politically and religiously mixed problem for us. I know some action groups are not going agree with me on humanitarian ground, but believe me, what I am saying here is, lets solve our own house problem first together instead of putting our nose on everything just for publicity and popularity.
A United Nations statistical report compiled from government sources showed that more than 250,000 cases of rape or attempted rape were recorded by police annually combining 65 countries globally. Are we going to grant everyone asylum? Or we just become much more interested today only, as Asia Bibi case is flavoured with religion, specially Islam?
Afzal Sayed Munna
Teacher, Doctoral Researcher and Political Campaigner