OOBERFUSE SING OUT FOR LATEST VICTIM OF PAKISTAN’S BLACK BLASPEMY LAW
A Pakistani 11-year-old with Down’s syndrome may face the death penalty for blasphemy over her alleged burning of pages from the Quran. Ooberfuse, a London-based electro-pop band, featuring Wizard MC from the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), have today released a song, Turn the Tide, raising their voices in protest against the latest victim of Pakistan’s black blasphemy laws.
Following the advocacy work for victims of Pakistan’s ‘black’ law, started by Punjabi Governor, Salman Taseer (gunned down by his own body-guard in January 2011) and Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti (brutally murdered by Taliban assassins in March 2011) Turn the Tide highlights the plight of young Rimsha Masih arrested by the police, under pressure from the mob, last Thursday at Mehrabadi village, on the outskirts of Islamabad.
Cherrie, ooberfuse front-woman, says ‘Over the weekend we got a call from Wilson of the BPCA alerting us to the events unfolding last Thursday (16 August 2012) which culminated in Rimsha’s arrest. She was persuaded to take a sack full of rubbish to the dust-bin but, unbeknown to her, the sack contained ash from burnt papers including fragments from the Quran. In no time at all and with a few days remaining of the extended ramadam fast preceding the day-festival of Eid an enraged crowd had gathered calling for her arrest and execution. ‘
Hal, from ooberfuse, adds : ‘When is this madness going to end? The intolerance of the Islamic majority towards non-Muslim faiths in countries like Pakistan is staggering. The blasphemy law gives legal credence to preposterous claims from disgruntled disaffected members of the community that Islam has somehow been defamed. These claims are very often fabricated by Muslims hell-bent of inciting religious hatred against peace-loving minorities like the Christians and Ahmadis.
Says Wilson Chowdhry, from BPCA, ‘this intolerance has sunk to new levels of depravity with the incarceration of a juvenile girl with physical disabilities. The founding father of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, said in his 1947 inaugural speech :‘You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.’ He would be turning in his grave right now if he knew how the apparatus of the Pakistan State is being cynically used against defenceless minority faiths. Turn the Tide is inspired by his words and the tragic story of a defenceless disabled girl called Rimsha. ’
Turn the Tide is released today (22nd Aug) and can be listened to at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfRMENeeDRc&feature=g-all-u or www.ooberfuse.com It will be sung live outside the Pakistan Embassy, during a 2 hour demonstration from 7pm organised by the BPCA – calling for freedom for Rimsha. Lead humanitarians from a variety of faiths will be joining us in solidarity seeking an end to the ongoing injustice. Further details of the protest can be found here:
NOTES FOR EDITORS :ooberfuse (www.ooberfuse.com) is an experimental music project led by Cherrie and Hal. They share a common vision to infuse the increasingly moribund traditions of western pop with fresh eastern vigour. By refusing the standard conventions that determine the contemporary pop scene they invite their audience to rediscover ooberfuse-iasm not just for contemporary pop but for life itself! In addition to performing in front of 2million young pilgrims in the Madrid World Youth Day in 2011 they also sang the Youth Anthem for Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK IN 2010. The band’s forthcoming second album Seventh Wave is launched on 28th September 2012 at AAA @ Archangel,11-13 Kensington High Street London W8 5NP.
Shahbaz Bhatti (9 September 1968 – 2 March 2011) was a Pakistani politician and elected member of the National Assembly from 2008. He was the first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs from November 2008 until his assassination on 2 March 2011 in Islamabad. Bhatti, a Roman Catholic, was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the only Christian in the Cabinet. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for his killing and called him a blasphemer ofMuhammad. Pamphlets by al-Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab, a branch of the Taliban in Pakistan’s most populous province, were found at the scene. Tehrik-i-Taliban said they carried out the attack. “We will continue to target all those who speak against the law which punishes those who insult the prophet. Their fate will be the same.”
Salmaan Taseer (31 May 1944– 4 January 2011) was a Pakistani businessman and politician who served as the 26th governor of the province of Punjab from 2008 until his assassination in early 2011. A member of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), he had served also as a minister in the caretaker cabinet of Prime Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro under Pervez Musharraf. Taseer was also the chairman and CEO of the First Capital and Worldcall Group. He was appointed to the post of governor on 15 May 2008, in place of outgoing governor Lt Gen Khalid Maqbool, by then-President Musharraf at the request of the PPP establishment. On 4 January 2011, Taseer was assassinated in Islamabad by his own security guard Mumtaz Qadri, who disagreed with Taseer’s opposition toPakistan’s blasphemy law
Cherrie Anderson e: email@example.com
Hal St John e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any coward can bravely face the applause of his peers in the Chattering Class by dissing Christians in England. This takes actual guts. Well done, Ooberfuse!