By: Farrukh Saleem
ISLAMABAD: A Google search under ‘Jesus blasphemy’ (PBUH) generates 84 million websites. A similar search under ‘Mohammad blasphemy’ (PBUH) and the search engine generates 25.5 million websites. Such is the world we live in. What are our options?
Option 1: Appealing to the US judicial system. Under US law, crime has two elements ‘mens rea’ or ‘guilty mind’ and ‘actus reus’ or ‘guilty act’. ‘Innocence of Muslims’ has both ‘actus reus’ in addition to ‘mens rea’ and has thus produced criminal liability. The US, however, is not willing to move against its own mentally deranged citizens who have committed a heinous crime.
Option 2: The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The OIC can pass an internal resolution but that would have no real impact on the outside world and may actually amount to further encouraging similar deranged behaviour. Can the OIC exert pressure on the US? The ground reality is that Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain are all aligned with the US fighting a political-cum-military battle against Iran. In all probability, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain will not be inclined to open up a front against the US (and perhaps they are not even capable of doing that).
Option 3: The United Nations General Assembly. On 16 December 1966, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a multi-lateral treaty known as the ICCPR (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the treaty commits signatories to respect freedom of religion among other civil and political rights). Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Malaysia and China are not even part of the treaty. Pakistan signed the treaty in 2008 and ratified the same in 2010. But approaching the UN would mean the opening up of a series of new Pandora’s boxes.
Pakistan could be held responsible for violating the ICCPR and Pakistan could also be made answerable to serious charges under the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. Would we be able to stand up in a mirror shop? Plus, creating all this excitement at an international level will further excite mentally deranged souls — seeking easy money and fame — to come out of their bee hives.
Option 4: Create Islamic think tanks. Form ideological defences; generate academic rebuttals and philosophical confrontation. Option 5: Continue burning Pakistan until there is nothing left to burn.