Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blasphemy, blasphemy laws, Pakistan, Charlie Hebdo..

I just picked this out of a past post about the cruel blasphemy execution (by being burned alive) of a Christian couple in Pakistan. I am posting this here because blasphemy is in the news again and I cannot count the number of times someone has managed to say "colonial era blasphemy laws in Pakistan" in a misleading manner. I wanted to have a post handy where I could direct them, so here it is, a quick overview of the blasphemy issue in Pakistan (some thoughts about the Hebdo events are at the end of this post, you can jump to that if all this familiar to you):

A blasphemy law was part of the 19th century Indian Penal code as section 295.. It was not a bad law at all and the lazy habit of blaming it for later blasphemy law crap in the Indian subcontinent is just that: a lazy habit. 
Here is section 295 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860: 
 Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class.—Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defile­ment as an insult to their religion, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

The aim of the law was to prevent/punish things like someone throwing a dead pig into a mosque or a cow's head into a temple. An actual physical desecration is to be punished. 
This seems like an eminently sensible law  and cannot really be blamed for all the evils that came later. But in the 1920s there was a famous case in Lahore where a Hindu publisher was arrested by the colonial authorities after Muslims agitated against him for having published a book called Rangila Rasul ("merry prophet"). The British colonial authorities tried to prosecute him for hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims, but the high court in Lahore (quite properly) found him innocent because there was no law on the books against just publishing a book, no matter how offensive it may be to some religious group. Fearing future communal discord from such provocations, the British then had the legislative assembly add section 295A to the law in order to criminalize deliberate attempts to "outrage the religious feelings of any community". This section states: 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Slaughter of blonde Muslims

"So, in Bosnia, the case was there were white, blond-haired, blue-eyed Muslims who were being slaughtered and identified as Muslims. That really touched me."

The great brown hope for every British Pakistan, local Essex lad Maajid Nawaz, talks about how Animal Farm turned him away from extremism (he needs to join a post-apocalyptic book club).

http://www.npr.org/2015/01/15/377442344/how-orwells-animal-farm-led-a-radical-muslim-to-moderation

Friday, January 16, 2015

The power of blasphemy

There is never a point to deliberately offend; in fact BP is a perennial victim of that.

There was a time in our first year when we were hitting a tipping point and then we became a target, which led to several website issues. Ever since we moved from WordPress to Blogger our user engagement is a fraction of what it was.

Who reads BP anymore?

Leave a comment if you do; I'm not expecting many to be honest even if we do have robust viewing figures.

The first couple years of the blog had an excellent comments section especially when we were WordPress.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is Showering a white people thing?

http://uk.eonline.com/news/614318/naya-rivera-says-showering-daily-is-a-white-people-thing-watch-now

After her comments, Rosie O'Donnell proceeded to call upon a stunned African-American woman in the audience, who insisted she is a "frequent showerer" before Rivera defended her remarks. 
"My mom is half black, half Puerto Rican. She showers every day, so I can say this. But I'm now married to a white man," she said, referring to husband Ryan Dorsey, whom she secretly wed in July 2014. "And he showers a lot, like two, three times a day.