Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pakistan, Islam and Blasphemy

Photo Credit: Joe Gratz
Blasphemy means to show disrespect or to speak against revered religious figures, beliefs and customs.  Although those of us that have deeply held religious beliefs can easily get offended when our faith is mocked or disregarded, few of us believe that others should lose their lives over the words they speak against our beliefs.

For example, the name of Jesus is commonly used as a swear word within our culture and, though highly offensive to Christians, I have never heard a call from conservative believers within the United States that those that take the Lord's name in vain should be executed for doing so.  Apparently, the laws in Pakistan are much different.

A Christian woman who is accused of insulting the Islamic faith and its prophet, Muhammad, is facing the death penalty for her words, which some consider blasphemous. shares the story:
"In this village in Pakistan's Punjab province a tearful 12-year-old girl ponders if the Pakistani government will soon hang her mother.

"Whenever I see her picture I cry," Isham Masih told CNN. "I want my mother back. That's what I'm praying for."

This month a Pakistani court sentenced Isham's mother, 45-year-old Asia Bibi, to death, not because she killed, injured or stole, but simply because she said something.

Prosecutors say Bibi, who is a Christian, broke Pakistan's strict blasphemy law by insulting Islam and the prophet Muhammad, a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment according to Pakistan's penal code.

The alleged incident happened in June 2009 when Bibi, a field worker, was picking fruit in a village two hours west of Lahore. Prosecutors say when Bibi dipped her cup into a bucket of drinking water during a lunch break, her co-workers complained the water had been contaminated by a non-Muslim."
You can read the rest of the story here.

Even though it grieves me deeply when I see or hear others making injurious comments towards my Savior, Jesus Christ, I'm glad that I live in country where I'm not looking for my government to kill those I disagree with.

A few years ago when a Danish cartoonist drew some cartoons of Muhammad, there was an uproar as some Muslims called for violence towards those involved.  Note, not all Muslims called for the violence.  And it wasn't even most.  Just some.  Shortly thereafter, John Piper offered a challenging perspective on how Christians should respond when our Christ is insulted.  As Piper noted,
"The work of Muhammad is based on being honored and the work of Christ is based on being insulted. This produces two very different reactions to mockery."
To read more of Piper's thoughts on the matter click here.

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