Blasphemy laws and EU discourse

Written by The Frontier Post

Pakistan’s Foreign Office has expressed its disappointment at the adoption of a resolution at the European Parliament on blasphemy laws in the country. Foreign Office Spokesperson Mr. Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry noted that the European Parliament’s discourse reflects a lack of understanding in the context of blasphemy laws and associated religious sensitivities in Pakistan and in the wider Muslim world. According to him, the unwarranted commentary about Pakistan’s judicial system and domestic laws are regrettable. He underscored that Pakistan has a parliamentary democracy with a vibrant civil society, free media, and independent judiciary, which remained fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights for all its citizens without discrimination. Mr. Chaudhry observed that Pakistan is proud of its minorities, who enjoy equal rights and complete protection of fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution.

While reminding the world about growing the anti-Muslims and anti-Islam trends in the world, Chaudhry noted that at a time of rising Islamophobia and populism, the international community must exhibit a common resolve to fight xenophobia, intolerance and incitement to violence based on religion or belief, and work together to strengthen peaceful co-existence. He further observed that Pakistan and the European Union have multiple mechanisms in place to discuss entire spectrum of bilateral relations, including a dedicated Dialogue on Democracy, Rule of Law, Governance and Human Rights and expressed Pakistan’s resolve to continue its positive engagement with EU on all issues of mutual interest.

In fact, most of the countries of the world have legislated against hate speech or hate crimes based on difference of religion, ethnicity, believes, opinion or thoughts of an individual or a faction of the society by other individual or group in the past. Although, each citizen has right of freedom of expression through any mean but targeting other’s belief or constricting or hindering other similar rights is unlawful and contrary to the sense of freedom of expression, because it is like interfering into others personal life.

Therefore, most of the countries of the world has criminalized these acts through legislations. There had been numerous incidents across the Europe in which Christian Religious clerics had filed petitions against such liberals who committed hate crime against other Christian sect during the past. Several European nations had specific law against Holocaust denial, and against hate speech and racial vilification and tried to curb the sentiments of any potential revival of Nazism in their countries including Austria, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, France, Germany, Greece, Czech Republic, Australia, Hungary, Italy, Lithonia, Netherland, Luxemburg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and others. In fact, most of the religions of the world Islam, Christianity, Sikhs, Buddhism, and Hinduism had preached to respect other religions, believes and upheld humanity and denounced intolerance, hate and extremist behavior based on religion or ethnic disparity. However, religious bias has not yet end in the EU. They had criminalized the denial of Holocaust but resistant to act similarly in case of rising anti-Islamic sentiments in their countries. It is high time for European Union to think about the increasing sentiments of Islamophobia and xenophobia in their societies. Targeting other believes and emotions is not freedom of expressions but a nasty source of fueling hate, violence, and intolerance in the societies. Therefore, instead of criticizing Pakistan’s law the EU must think the ways to halt the extremist incidents and hate crimes in their member countries.

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The Frontier Post

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