Oct 28, 2011

Baroness Warsi is either ignorant or in denial of what is really going on

Baroness Warsi, in an article in today’s on-line edition of the Telegraph, writes in glowing terms of religious freedom in Pakistan.  She even claims ‘The idea of unity through diversity runs through Pakistan’s history and helps to define its society today.’

Clearly, the Baroness is either ignorant or in denial over the persecution of minority faith communities in Pakistan who face the threat of being arrested under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law.  Far more reliable a guide to the true state of affairs in Pakistan are the comments of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom;

In Pakistan, blasphemy allegations, which commonly are false, result in the lengthy detention of, and sometimes violence against, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, and members of other religious minorities as well as Muslims on account of their religious beliefs. Because the laws require no evidence to be presented after allegations are made and no proof of intent, and contain no penalty for leveling false allegations, they are easily used by extremists to intimidate members of religious minorities and others with whom they disagree. They are also often used by the unscrupulous simply to carry out a vendetta or gain an advantage over another.

Given that the Baroness writes ‘I went to a bishops’ conference and said that this Government would “do God”.’ she could write a piece in the national press next time on the steps she intends to take to put pressure on the Government of Pakistan to amend it’s legislation to prevent systematic persecution of non-Muslims and at the same time she might take the opportunity to put political pressure on other Islamic states that have either Blasphemy laws or apostasy laws that make conversion from Islam to any other faith a crime with severe penalties.

1 Comment

  • Thanks for this Neil.
    While some of the sentiments she expresses are laudable – about engaging with each other as communities, not just at a leadership level, or not imposing a ‘secularisation’ test on provision of public services – the whole article rings hollow while ignoring the issue of blasphemy/apostasy laws in Pakistan and other areas of the Muslim world. To be fair, she does talk about ‘pressing other governments to safeguard religious minorities’ and ‘giving all minorities in every country the courage and freedom to believe and worship in peace’, but she lets herself down by not highlighting the specific laws in place in Pakistan that make it so hard for Christians there.
    It’s interesting that she refers to Britain as a ‘Christian nation’ – not something I can imagine many other Cabinet ministers doing!

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