UN blasphemy law sends wrong message
Published: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 7, 2012 14:10
According to a Daily Times article released in late September, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf “announced that the government would fight on all diplomatic fronts to stop the evil forces in the world from all kinds of anti-Islam actions like the recent blasphemous film.”
Ashraf is joining the voices of millions around the world calling for the U.N. to create anti-blasphemy laws following the controversial Innocence of Muslims video and the subsequent violence that erupted in Libya last month. Unfortunately, there has been no small amount of support from outraged Muslims who haven’t stopped to think what this really means.
In simple terms, an offensive video was released, and Muslims — fringe, extremist, but Muslims nonetheless — attacked a U.S. Embassy, and there was international violence. As a result, the U.N. is considering banning blasphemy. This says two things: first, that violent reactions are legitimate ways to achieve political goals, and second, that Muslims are such uncivilized animals that rather than expect them to react civilly, we need to censor ourselves to avoid making them angry. It makes as much sense as the logic that if I were to punch someone in the face who said he didn’t like my shirt, the school tells him that it is now against the rules for him to make fun of my shirt.
More importantly, banning blasphemy reduces Muslims to nothing more than uncontrollable, violent animals — in a civilized world, one is expected to act civilly. You are expected, when offended, to talk about that offense and find a peaceful resolution. The vast majority of Muslims are willing to live in this manner, but due to the few — the few that go unchecked by the majority — we are now considering passing laws that clearly tell Muslims “We don’t trust you to behave like civil people, so we are protecting ourselves from your uncontrollable violent tendencies.” Is this the message we should be sending? Who does this help to simultaneously insult Muslims on a fundamental level while rewarding international violence?