Archive for October 27, 2011

Petition Targets Blasphemy Law

Posted in Media, news on October 27, 2011 by saskskeptic

The Star Phoenix has this article regarding a petition requesting that Canada pressure Pakistan to eliminate its Blasphemy Law.  One problem with this is that Canada still has a Blasphemy Law, so it might be asked why is it ok for Canada but not for Pakistan.

A Saskatoon man who recently fled his native Pakistan has collected hundreds of signatures on a petition calling for an end to the Islamic republic’s controversial blasphemy laws.

The laws allow sentences of life in prison for defiling a copy of the Qur’an and the death penalty for anyone who, “by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed.” These laws are unjust, but have also been used to persecute Christians and other religious minorities, said petition organizer Imtiaz Nadeem Bhatti.

“Anybody can accuse anybody. Every day, the abuse is increasing,” said Bhatti.

Hundreds of people have been imprisoned under the blasphemy laws in the past few years. But even those found not guilty are still in danger. Dozens have been killed by fundamentalist mobs after being released. Bhatti’s uncle, Shahbaz Bhatti, served as Pakistan’s only Christian cabinet minister and campaigned against the blasphemy laws before he was assassinated in March.

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The Pathology of Honor Killings

Posted in news on October 27, 2011 by saskskeptic

The National Post has this article by Barbara Kay on Canadian honor killings:

The deaths of Montreal teenagers Zainab, Sahar and Geeti Shafia, along with their “auntie,” their father’s first wife, bring to something like 17 or 18 the official number of murders in Canada allegedly motivated by the need to redress family honour. Now on trial for their murders are their father, brother and mother.

As immigration from countries dominated by honour codes proceeds apace, it’s likely that there will be more such killings. As is typical, it was the Shafia girls’ Canadian social life — mall-surfing, open flirting, boyfriends — that reportedly triggered parental alarm over their family’s honour. And as we saw in the iconic 2007 case of Toronto’s Aqsa Parvez, the 16-year-old girl murdered by her father and brother after an eerily similar trajectory, the victim’s appeals to teachers, social workers and police — even though taken seriously — were no match for the determined machinations of her honour-obsessed family.