Pakistani woman faces death for “blasphemy,” UN moves to support similar laws
In this week’s podcast: A Pakistani woman from Punjab was sentenced to death by hanging for defaming the Prophet Mohammed. Aasia Bibi, a Christian farm worker and a mother of five, was accused of making blasphemous comments following a run-in with Muslim co-workers who refused to drink from a water container that she carried. They thought that water was tainted. On December 20, the United Nations General Assembly will be voting on a controversial resolution that would in essence create a global blasphemy code—and provide a basis and justification for laws such as those used to condemn Bibi to death. Aasia Bibi’s case is not unique—and underlines why this resolution must be stopped. Human Rights First has documented dozens of cases in 15 countries where blasphemy laws have been used to stifle dissent, repress religious minorities, and violate freedom of speech and religion. Human Rights First has long argued that suppressing free speech is not the answer to discrimination and intolerance. Supporting freedom of expression—which concerns individuals and not religions—backed up with a strong system of enforcement against hate crimes and other violent discrimination is. Podcast produced by Stephen Brownell.