Pakistani Killing Latest in Deadly Debate around Blasphemy Laws
The recent murder of Pakistani governor Salman Taseer for opposing blasphemy laws tragically showcases the high stakes of the fight for religious tolerance and against extremism. Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, Pakistan and a member of the nation’s ruling Pakistan People’s Party, was allegedly murdered by a member of his security team as a result of his opposition to blasphemy laws and for speaking out against the proposed death sentence of a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, accused of blasphemy. Taseer’s murder is the most recent illustration of how deadly the debate over blasphemy laws has become—but unfortunately there is a long list of cases where laws have been used to squash religious freedom and repress religious minorities. In December, the U.N. voted on a resolution endorsing a global blasphemy code. Human Rights First worked relentlessly through the fall to urge delegations to reject this dangerous initiative. Unfortunately, it passed—but with a lower margin than ever. International support for these laws is dwindling. Instead of outlawing “blasphemy,” governments should focus on fighting discrimination and intolerance. Listen to our podcast and read how these laws have been abused in a recent report.