November 25, 2010

Because she dared to be a Christian

Once upon a time in the land of the pure, I was despised, hated, probably even spat on (virtually though, I might add), and was called a minority loving bigoted idiot for raising my voice against some of the most abhorrent crimes that have been committed in Pakistan's history. The reasons for those assessments were many; there was the Hindu boy murder incident because he drank water from a cooler outside a mosque; there was the issue of the Ahmedi community, who lost comrades just because they went to pray on a Friday quite like many other Pakistanis; there was the Christian family which was murdered because its son went to a Muslim shop to buy groceries; and there was also the case of Prem Chand, a Hindu boy who died in the AirBlue crash only to have the word “Kaafir” don his coffin as it went home.

Now though, the holy Muslims of Pakistan have decided it is time to persecute the biggest minority in Pakistan, because everyone has become bored of the continuously evolving political shenanigans of the powers that be. This time it is a Christian woman who had her life bridled by the pious and oh so saintly Muslim women of her village. The story goes (and I admit it is highly farcical, and a downright slur on the calibres of the Muslims) that one day the Muslim women sent Aasia Bibi to fetch water from the well of her village for them. Why they sent her still remains a mystery to me, because neither was she their servant nor their employee. But she went, because she was a Christian and she probably realized that by not going she risked her dignity at the hands of the greatest nation of the world. When she got back with the water, the Muslim women refused to drink it because it had become “paleed” because it had been touched with “Kaafir” hands. Instead of dropping the issue (and water) and going to get some water themselves, the Muslim women rankled up Aasia Bibi for being a Christian and told her to convert to Islam. She did not, and the Muslim women in a zealous display of their “Musalmaniyat” told the local clerics that Aasia Bibi had blasphemed against the Holy Prophet (SAW).

The technical aspects of the case aside, let me shed some light on a few facets of history here. The Christian woman has been accused of disseminating vulgarities against the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who by the way is the greatest person to have ever lived, and cannot possibly be belittled by vulgarities at all. He was the person who was beaten to an inch of his life in the city of Taif and yet all he did was pray to Allah to guide the people of Taif onto the right track despite the angel Gabriel telling the Prophet that he would drop entire mountains on the population. He was also the one who smiled every time an elderly Jewish woman would throw heaps on garbage oh him and lay thorns in his way. Now this is how the Prophet whose honour and dignity we claim to be defending responded to his detractors. He forgave them because that’s the best way of rankling up your enemies until they saw the goodness in him and joined him. And look at us, deciding to send a Christian mother of 5 kids (who is most probably innocent) to the gallows. Isn’t it but shameful of us?

Some Islamic scholars even claim that the blasphemy law cannot be applied to the non-Muslims. I don’t know the technical details of Islamic law so I cannot comment on that, but my brain refuses to believe that Islam can be anything but logical and sentencing Aasia Bibi to death is extremely illogical. The ghairat brigade is fiercely active in condemning everyone who says that Aasia Bibi deserves to live. They’ve even threatened to kill her if she is released from prison. Which reminds me, how many mangy curs have been arrested and prosecuted till now who burnt down the houses of Christians in Gojra? Or does the law of the land only apply to non-Muslims where religion is concerned?

The clerics have declared Salman Taseer to be an apostate and “anyone who kills him will go to heaven”. No, I did not make that up. They decreed that because he went to visit Aasia Bibi in prison and assured her that he would personally submit her clemency application to the President.

For far too long we’ve let the blasphemy laws be an excuse for unfair prosecutions. Either we amend them to remove all loopholes from them, or we, the great Muslims of the Indian subcontinent drop our mala fide intentions when we invoke them against the minorities. And yes, Aasia Bibi deserves to live.