Pakistani ambassador accused of blasphemy on account of opposing the death penalty for blasphemy.

Sherry Rehman is a Muslim, and Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States.  She has recently been accused of blasphemy, a “crime” for which she could be put to death.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman, an outspoken advocate for freedom of the press and for reforming the country’s harsh death penalty laws, was charged with blasphemy last month in Pakistan for comments she made on a television news show more than two years ago.

What were those comments?  Well, her blasphemy was saying that maybe we shouldn’t be killing people for blasphemy.

Rehman appeared on the Pakistani news channel Dunya TV on Nov. 30, 2010 to talk about an amendment she had introduced to eliminate the death penalty for blasphemy cases.

“The prophet, peace be upon him, fought against injustice, and for protection of minorities, throughout his life. And we can’t stain his name and his legacy with this kind of thing,” Rehman says in the video, according to a HuffPost translation of the footage.

Although her comments may not seem controversial, section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code clearly states that even imputation and indirectly derogatory remarks against the Islamic Prophet Mohammed can be punishable by death.

And ‘lo, we have a perfect example of how dogma perpetuates itself.  It’s one of my favorite sayings: “Catholicism lost its best argument when it stopped burning people at the stake.”

Make no mistake: the good guys are the ones who care more about the reliability of the methods they used to arrive at their beliefs far more than they care about holding specific beliefs.  The good guys are the ones who want to know when they might be wrong, and the agents of ignorance are the ones who insist certain questions must not be asked.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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