Is Islam compatible with Freedom of Expression? – Justin Brierly
Channel: Adnan Rashid
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Episode Transcript ©
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We're looking particularly at the recent case of Asya Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan for allegedly blaspheming, the prophet Mohammed, it's raised the whole issue of blasphemy law under Islam. And today on the show, john Joseph joins me he's a Christian human rights activist who has supported Christians charged with blasphemy in court cases in Pakistan. He now resides in the UK after an attempt on his own life. Stuart Windsor is also with me, the director of Christian solidarity worldwide who support persecuted Christians around the world, on the Muslim side today, Adnan Rashid, a regular contributor to this program, he's a Muslim speaker and apologist with the
hitting Institute. And we're going to be finding out his views in the whole area of blasphemy law, what the Quran has to say about it, whether Islam is ultimately compatible with freedom of expression, freedom to insult even. And we'll get into some of the distinctions of those a little bit later on in the show. So welcome along, gentlemen. Oh, it's great to have you with me. We have an incredibly full studio. Actually, we've sort of got an entourage as well. This is big filmed. And we've got a couple of onlookers. So it feels like a live studio debate today. But thank you for joining me today. And perhaps we'll turn first of all to to people who are very new to the show
never been on before. Those are john Joseph and Stuart Windsor. But Stuart, you're a great friend of Premier, because you've obviously been presenting the show voice for the voiceless for many years. Yes, highlighting the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.
I mean, how often do you deal with Islam in some sense or another in the in the issues you're talking about? Can I just say two things? First, just your introduction was brilliant. But Ron, no, no, no, no. And Christian solidarity is unlike most Christian charities that were an advocacy organization. And just for Adnan and those listening, we do not proselytize because it conflicts with advocacy. That's the first thing. And so we're very clear on our mandate of being a voice for the voiceless, mainly Christians, but others as well. And then so we not only help Christians who suffer under unjust laws around the world, but others as well, including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists,
those that have been suffering on regimes that we would deem as evil. And so I'd like to make that clear now. Yes. Now, in terms of my work, it does, actually interface of our work does interface with Muslim extremism, Islamic extremism around the world, for instance, and not only in Pakistan, but in the Middle East and Indonesia. Even in China, you know, we're looking at Xinjiang in the northwest part of China where the vegus are mainly a Muslim tribe. And so we deal a lot with
Islam and interface with it in terms of misuse. Really, one of the things that's been making the headlines, of course, recently is the case of Asya Bibi, this Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan. What what feat what has made this case particularly pertinent of late Well, first of all, as Here comes
there have been a long line of blasphemy cases in Pakistan for 100 years, probably only one case of blasphemy in the subcontinent, India, and then perhaps Pakistan as a country was formed. And then General gll, Huck, Islam is the Constitution. He brought in a code PPC to an AI five well, PPC to an AI five a, is actually a Sharia law that's enshrined in the Pakistan penal code that deals with insulting Islamic religion, PPC to enough i B is the desecration of a holy book like a Bible or Quran. And then PPC 295. c, is blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, he brought those two codes in at separate times and at we believe, not because of the issue of Islam, but for political and
ideological reasons. He wanted people to sub Muslim, the Muslim vote. And so for us watching and observing Pakistan, we believe the constitution was Islam ized for the wrong reasons. And of course, the other thing we could say is this. There have been more blasphemy cases against Muslims than Christians. In fact, 50% of all the cases and we know, between 900 to 1000 have actually been taken against Muslims, not Christians. Well, turning to the case of Asya Bibi, what do you know of this, john? Have you been following the details of this case as it's emerged? No, I don't know a lot of details about ask Habibi, but I have the experience in life. Because I'm working there long time,
from the ATC six to 95 for the human rights
So I have a lot of experience, because I'll go go to every time in the codes, I'll go to and meet to that peoples. And I know, what's the reality for for that cases? And what is the reality usually for these blasphemy cases? Is there? Is there a charge to be heard normally? Or are these very often non existent, sort of, but if you check it out all the cases, from Zelda to now have got a lot of cases, not a lot of cases, not just for the Christians, not for the Muslim is a Hindu, it thinks a lot of people involved in these cases. But all the cases when it's good in the high court, the US Supreme Court cases good to finish because no any reality there. So these cases are usually overturned,
because just they're just if you have any problem with your neighbor, any problem with your any big leader, so he may make a case for you, and you go to jail. So these are often actually personal vendettas of misuse? Yes. Yes. And we can say is, first of all, the case against us here is this that she was charged in 2009. Actually, she was working in fields with
other women. And she drew water from a well and she was a Muslim woman accused of making the water dirty, making the water and clean, I presumed because she was a Christian. And then later, they alleged that she had blessing the Prophet Mohammed. But most of the cases, as john said, that comes to the court. There's never any factual evidence. And we've done a check and we can't substantiate this. But from the people we know, in Pakistan, we've been told that very, very few Muslims very the government have actually not executed or very few people have been executed as a result of being found guilty of the charge most are discharged or the cases are dropped, or the the accused languish
in prison for many years, because the cases don't come to court. But there is the problem that that person may not then be free in the so they won't be fit that that the extremists will be out. They will be free. This woman's life has now ended in Pakistan. If we take the case that john was involved in even john john was a witness to three Christians who were charged with plasmin gunja Waller in 1993, there was a boy age 12 Sara Salamat Massey, a farmer, Ray, Matt Massey, and then the boy's uncle went down to the police station and gunja Walla to intervene on his nephew's behalf. They have been accused of scribbling blasphemies on the mosque wall in gunja Wallah by the tomb of
arneis. Actually, they were both illiterate, they could not read or write and when the boy's uncle intervened, he was charged to when they finally came to the High Court in Lahore, the judge refused to hear the charges because he said, rightly so in a country like Pakistan, that would have been an offense to Mohammed. And so he sent them away. And john was only a witness that he wasn't charged, right? But yet, Mansa mercy was shot dead outside the High Court by the mullahs who have made that accusation and john then had to stay, to give evidence against because he clearly saw the perpetrators of that. And obviously, that that itself developed into it. He could not stay in
Pakistan, and we had I mean, what what, what do you see the situation is out there, john, in Pakistan, and we'll come to Atlanta in a moment for his reflection on this, but
is it a case of a sort of extremist groupings within Pakistan who are kind of at odds with the government the way the government would like Islamic law to be understood that I mean, and do you see a lot of this kind of them taking it into their own hands? I mean, you yourself were shot at and I think you even had the bullet bullet still in you from from that experience and had to leave the country? I mean, what what is the situation like out there for for Christians, such as yourself and those that you've seen?
Christian is suffering from the actually in the 1947 is still suffering
because when he started Pakistan and India is go to separate, right? Christian is still suffering because Christian, he haven't got any of the vote there.
He haven't got any right there is not allowed any Christian go to incharge. Any department there
in the cell hotdog is go to all the Christian properties go to nationalize there. Because Christian have got just one way go to follow it. Because before that he is steady, steady boss only good study is in the Christian school.
India Pakistan right all the school when you go to nationalize that way is good to finish because all the question if you have good teachers yeah and the other people's is go to job for the schools, college universities because have good Christian properties there. And after hospitals when it's good to everything's nationalized, all the Christian stuff is gone. And all the Muslim stuff is come to there and he started there. It's been all the ways block for the Christian. Christian Christian never go too far with it. So So Christians in that discrimination actually been discriminated against. Yeah. to mentor minorities as well on the minorities. Yeah. Yeah. And that's some, some
group of streamers.
Do Do you feel things are getting worse or better? Currently, oh, it's better. Not worse. Worse is going to verse No matter if you check the RBT.
ARV y yesterday, one woman
in the maybe not site. Also on the TV news.
She he gave to punish
30 time hit two lashes.
Actually, I'll just know about the new. I don't know about that Lt. It's in the news have got just problem for the V. Because she had got property there that people want to hear from there. She didn't give to me.
charged for? Well, obviously there there are many justices misusing that you're talking about Adnan?
What's your reflection on these cases in Pakistan? And the blasphemy law that exists there? Dude, is it a any sense justified to have a blasphemy law? And what about the way that it is actually carried out in Pakistan? Okay, there's a lot of email hamdulillah. But, Justin, thank you very much for inviting me to another interesting interaction with my friends.
Stuart, I kind of agree with them both. Christians are heavily persecuted, mistreated in Pakistan. I have experienced myself personally, some of the Christian having spoken some of the Christians in Pakistan, I've come across their difficulties as they put them to me.
To cite one example, I was with a taxi driver who was a Christian who happened to be a Christian. And I spoke to him in detail about how he likes to be in Pakistan. And he wasn't very happy. And I asked him the reason and he, he actually explained to me the kind of treatment which the Christians receive in general, or discrimination against them because of the status that they have the the unpaid Untouchables. And even in this particular case, I see a BBs case that when the whole thing escalated, because she offered water to someone and someone refuse water because she was deemed untouchable. This is a noxious, this is
pure ignorance about the rules and laws of Islam as well. I mean, you gave me water today, just outside and I took it from you and I drank it. And here we have an empty cup. So this is pure ignorance. It's got nothing to do with Islam in that sense, asking me this case is one of the cases which is an exception in the sense that this is the first case
where whereby we find someone sentenced to death.
And even if she was guilty of insulting the Prophet,
which is a law in Islam, there is no doubt about that Islamic last states very clearly that anyone who insults the Prophet insults, not criticize criticize Islam, because criticism is allowed, as I will cite some examples in due course, from from the history of Islam as well. Criticism is perfectly allowed, as long as it's put in decent language, which is acceptable when it comes to insulting the Prophet is it is not allowed in an Islamic State. It is governed by Islamic laws. As far as Pakistan is concerned, Pakistan is not an Islamic State. Pakistan is a secular country governed by secular law. And there are some
some legal codes adopted from the Sharia law and they they have been implemented at will. So as far as the Islamic law is concerned in Pakistan, it doesn't exist in its totality. This is this is why the Christians are suffering. my contention is the Christians are suffering in Pakistan because there is no legal system, which is effective enough to govern the affairs of the Christians. I believe the Christians are living at the Emmys in Pakistan, they would have been treated much better than than they are treated today. That's interesting.
point of view. I mean, it'd be interesting to, to ask then what is the difference between criticizing the prophet and, and disrespecting or insulting the Prophet?
Is is, is, is there a law under Islam, that he's justified to punish those who actually insult the Prophet? Yes, absolutely. I just stated that there is definitely a law and what would the appropriate punishment be? Okay? It carries capital punishment. It is a lot. That's how it stands. And it is well established in within the Islamic legal schools, that anyone who insults the Prophet,
whether Muslim or non Muslim, no matter who insults the Prophet, king or a pauper, it doesn't really matter. Anyone in sauce, the prophet in a way, which is extremely derogatory, then the penalty is death, if it's proven, and the person insists to stand by the statement made, whenever it was, and that's based on the Quran and the Hadith, the Koran and these bolts. Yes, yes. So that that you feel is is legitimate to have, but but in but that's under an Islamic State, you say that in this case of a secular state. And there's a clarification to be made here that
there is no justification of mob violence in Islam, there is there is no there is no jungle justice in Islam. If there is someone who has been accused of blaspheming the prophet or insulting the Prophet, the case must be taken to the court to the Islamic court when accardi resides called he listens to the case. And the way I understand these cases is that the cause he called he listens to the to the accused, and asks him or her to repent. And if the person retracts, then the person is simply allowed to go away, because the case of blasphemy is simply based upon accusations by others, and in this case, seems to be personal vendetta, as you put it, and if someone comes with comes up
with this accusation against some person, it can be easily established in the court, whether the person ever bluffing or not, by simply restating or retracting from the statement made. I mean, it raises the question, Stuart, what constitutes a blasphemy? Because, as I understand it, what what Asya is supposed to have said is that is that they entered a conversation about where that her co workers asked us, you know, what is Jesus ever done for you sort of thing? Yeah. To which she responded, well, you know, he's my Savior, et cetera, what is Mohammed ever done for you? And that is, has been used as the basis for this, this being the the blasphemy in question. I mean, is the
problem here that, you know, regardless of whether Pakistan should be implementing a blasphemy law, under its constitution, that the issue of what constitutes a blasphemy is is very elastic. In that sense. It is, and it's really elastic. And I mean, I've very glad to hear some of the things that Atlanta said that
there are several issues here, first of all, unfortunately, in Pakistan, and apostasy is deemed as blasphemy against a prophet when a Muslim converts, for instance, to Christianity, that is deemed as a blasphemy against Mohammed because the person has turned their back on the prophet of their religion and then generally what happens is, a family then feels with a Mullah sanction Mulvaney sanction to take action. And generally what happens is there will be an attempt or they will kill the apostate. So blasphemy in a country like Pakistan can be very wide, it can be saying something derogatory, but or alleged to have said, or even, as we said, the past there's no law against
apostasy and passed on the statute books, but there'd be many, many, many cases of apostates being killed by family members. And we've been involved with cases like that, simply because they've turned their back on the Prophet. So but, you know, it's, it is elastic, it's a wide definition. But our contention is this. In Pakistan, if we we, over the years, we have tried to work with our friends in Pakistan, including the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan, which is chaired by a Muslim, very eminent Muslim journalists to try and make it so that a senior policeman has to verify and authorize a first information report. Because if it's done at a senior level, then a lot of the
cases would have got no further they wouldn't have been even listed or heard. The problem is is done at low level by people who are not, you know, just not aware of what what happens in the world and so
These 1000 cases we've had have gone and have taken place
when there could have been a way in the in the procedure of stopping that. And that's what we tried to do. So we we stand for repeal of these laws, or if we can't get that at least amendment to make it so that that many, many of these cases was just settlement of personal scores, but they've been with cases with neighbors. Many of them are land disputes. Yeah. I mean, it appears that I'll be Adnan agrees with you, john, in your assessment that most of these cases are settling vendettas and really shouldn't constitute anything that you know, you could call insulting of the Prophet Mohammed. But what do you make of Adnan's belief? JOHN, that those who do genuinely insult the
Prophet Mohammed should be put to death under an Islamic State? Do you see that as,
as incompatible with if you like, freedom of expression, freedom of expression to you know, freedom of speech? That's wrong?
That's wrong. I believe that's wrong. Yeah. to insult the Prophet is wrong.
Number one, if all the
religion is good to same position, that's better.
If it just for the profit for of the Mohammed, not profit of the Jesus, not profit of the other religions. That's wrong. I think I think that's a very important because I forgot to sorry, one, Peru. Yes.
Awesome blogger. He's living the heart. In the shahdara. He wrote a lot of time magazine.
And he stuff that Jesus Christ, I'll go to complain the police station. And he say, No, you go to DC office, he first give to order, take order, then I'll put on the FAA. I'll say okay, I'll go to DC office. I'll give to get proof of the magazine. This is magazine. And he wrote like, this is okay. And this paper is goodwill in the inquiry office.
First he decide about the charge.
Then you come back after one month or two months, I'll say okay. Maybe nearly six months ago there.
Nothing any result when I go there, every time he said, or I'm waiting for the result. I'm waiting for the cell waiting for the cell. After six months panels. Me and my son friend is going to their DC office and I discuss with him. And you say, Okay, I'll check there. What's wrong there wise not give to me any order? I'll say, Okay, well, we'll check there is no, sorry. I lost that. That makes him so I haven't got any proof. So I can't do anything.
Because of that.
This is crazy. Anything? Isn't that Christian? If it is any Christian, do anything wrong? Nobody's answer any questions. stapley go to I accept places in Pakistan. This is exactly what's happening with this is exactly what's taking place. As far as the Christians are concerned, as I already put it. They're not treated as equals or they're not treated with justice.
In Islam, as far as Islam stands, we have examples like Omar bin Khattab, the second Caliph of Islam, a Christian boy came to him from Egypt and and complained to him that a Muslim man hit him on the head, because he was the son of the governor of Egypt. And Omar invited the Son and the father both and asked a Christian boy to punish them, punish the son, the one who struck him and the father because the father did not teach his son good enough
to how to be a good Muslim. So this is the kind of justice which we are lacking today, in Pakistan, to be more precise, I don't think any good Christian wants to insult the prophet of Islam or any profit for that matter. I don't think any Christian wants to go that go go down that road. And, and, and this is where we have to understand this. If someone insults the Prophet by mistake, even in case of us embb. It was alleged that she accepted that she did insult the prophet in anger.
However, she was sorry, she she apologized that she if she if she did it, she was sorry. I believe that apology should have been accepted. Because I'll give you an example. For historic historical example, historical example in
in Cordoba in the ninth century, from the year 850 to 859. There was a movement called
the martyrs movement, whereby some Christian monks, clergy, deliberately went to the Muslims and insulted the prophet in their presence to die.
as martyrs to stop the fast or the rapid rate of conversion to Islam, as far as the Christians were concerned, to stop that conversion, they wanted to become martyrs in order to raise the Christian spirit in those days.
And the Muslim jurists were facing a very difficult situation, a lot of the Christians are coming voluntarily insulting the prophet in the presence and refusing to retract. And, and the cardies, the judges would ask them again and again to retract, Repent, and they would insist on insulting the Prophet. And there were almost 49 people killed in due course, from the 850 to 859.
So from this case, we learn that Islam doesn't allow freedom to incite any Prophet, any Prophet,
neither Moses, Lord Jesus, and even Mohammed, because we considered him to be a prophet of God, together with Jesus, Moses and Abraham. So Islam doesn't allow freedom to insult any profit. If someone wants to criticize the prophet in an intelligent way, come together to debate, there is a book in this regard, were written by
Sidney H. Griffith. He's an academic from Australia, and he has written a book titled,
The Church in the shadow of the mosque. In this book, he discusses how the Christians are living under the Islamic rule
in the history of Islam, and he has given many examples where Christians and Muslims would come together and debate in an in an intelligent way, in a respectful manner, where the Christians would openly criticize the prophet or reject Him, they would pick up something from the Quran, I would say, We don't believe in this, this is a forgery, this is not real. And the Muslims would take it as criticism, not as an insult, and they will refute it in due course. So this kind of interaction, this kind of discourse, is actually in fact, encouraged. Koran speaks to the Muslim telling them go and speak to the people of the book, with wisdom. And with kindness. Obviously, we're all in
agreement that it's for the sake of religious harmony and getting on and coexistence. blasphemy or, or criticize or even insulting, really, the prophet Mohammed is is a bad idea. But when it does happen, I suppose my question is, is there any justification in your mind for Islamic states in particular, imposing the death penalty on absolutely not? No. And I'm glad that none raised the issue of Cordoba, because today, in Cambridge, I don't know if I don't know Sarah Snyder, who we know, she is involved in an a move to have dialogue and co readings of the Quran and the Bible together. And that's happening now at Cambridge. And there are a group of Muslims and Christians
doing that together. If we look at countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, and the countries or Nigeria, northern Nigeria, where there is persecution of Christians discrimination, because they're the minority. If we can't have meaningful dialogue, then there's no hope for these countries. We've got to be able to sit down and discuss and dialogue and seek for peace and for people to live in respect, and tolerance of each other. And their views otherwise, in places where there are populations like in northern Nigeria in some of the big cities where I've been to where Baroness Cox with Cano Joss Kaduna, where we've got 50% Christians, if we can't live in dialogue together, then
there's no hope for those population. So we have to do that. I think then we leading on to the other issues about conventions the UN Convention on International Civil and Political Rights charter. Now it's interesting that Pakistan has just ratified the iccpr, but with reservations, and this is one of the problems with pure Islamic states, like for instance, Afghanistan, which is
partly ratified the iccpr.
But where national law will have priority over international protocols, that's an issue and when Baroness Cox and I have sat down with mullahs in Kano, and Kaduna and said, Look, what a Sharia law is really against the UN Convention on Human Rights because people should be free to worship which way they started writing, and also article 19 to choose the region
to another regime out the question of others. We said Sharia is against the worldwide accepted conventions. Of course, the US
Convention on Human Rights isn't binding if you sign it, but it is a widely accepted convention. And we believe that Sharia in some parts is contrary to accepted convention. And this is an issue. And the mothers we spoken to in Africa said, Well, we Muslims in Africa have our own definition of human rights, which would include the right to live under Sharia, while Christians in Nigeria have said, just not to bring in Nigeria, but to say, Well,
you know, we can't live under Sharia and that the demands of the mullahs as well, you have to trust us. The trouble is they can't trust them. That's the issue. And in a sense, however, civil a dialogue, maybe if if there is a danger, that someone will interpret your words as insulting, and that that carries the death penalty, it's very hard, in a sense, not to feel in some sense,
worried for your safety, if you are trying to to kind of engage seriously, as you say, with the issues at hand? I mean, isn't this is this a problem that as long as there is any kind of death threats involved in Islamic law, as regards what you say about the Prophet Mohammed, that, that people are going to feel that
these could easily be used against me? I could you know, what, you know, my mic, you know, criticism could easily be seen as, as an insult. And that's a good point. It's funny that Stuart mentioned, Snyder, I had
Exactly. The one you advocated. Yes, exactly. I had a dialogue with her a couple of weeks ago. She's an amazing woman, and we have agreed to work in the future on the same project she's working on. So I am already part of that project. As part of I do advocate similar
interactions between Muslims and Christians and Jews and atheists, for all people to come together. And at the same time, being able to converse with each other with respect and dignity, coming back to the issue of being able to criticize the profit or not,
and not fear the
contrast again. So this is where the courts come in. Even if even if the Islamic law stance today as I speak to you, even if someone insults the Prophet by mistake, once the case gets to the court, the judge decides whether this was an insult or not, because judge simply turns around and asks,
accused, whether he or she intended to insult the prophet and if the person simply refuses to admit any guilt on his or her part, then the judge simply lets the person go, is this law simple Islamic law is, and this is exactly what happened in Cordoba, in quarter one. And Maliki, they were given repeatedly, you say the chance to absolutely and this this is confirmed by clear withdraw that there's a book called
martyrs of Cordoba, written by Cooper, published by Nebraska University Press, and if you can, if you read the book, you'll get all these details. You look like you want to respond. Well, I was just gonna say that's great. And you know, but even the poor judges in Pakistan have an issue. Now in the case that john dealt with, okay, in 1995, February 1995, when Ray Matt and Salomon came before judge batty in the High Court in Lahore, he asked the prosecutors on behalf of the movano Nice to bring the evidence that the boy and the farmer had actually scribbled the blasphemies. They couldn't, they were actually illiterate. They couldn't read or write neither of them. And so the judge set them
free in 1995. Then john was held by Asma Jahangir, a Muslim lawyer, who dealt with the case and had been mentored by Muslim barrister. They felt very strongly against the blasphemy laws, john gave his evidence against the mothers and then we had to move in, covertly in 1998. To muslim extremists walked into judge Patty's office and shot him dead and left a note saying, the reason was he had set the affairs, the unbelievers free. So the US judiciary and Pakistan have to be very careful when dealing with blasphemy cases. This judge when this case of Asya comes up. And let me ask that it would you like to be the judge that deals with it? Absolutely. Absolutely. And I would simply, I was
absolutely not, because I would, I would simply argue my case against people because if you
given I'll give up and in the face of oppression and injustice, then who will defend justice so I would simply stand up for
Asya if she is someone who didn't solve the profit, and if she retracts, even if she didn't solve the profit, and if he says she's sorry, she didn't mean to do it, she was angry, she would simply be allowed to go away. This is how this law works. I mean, and these are the laws of how it should work. I mean,
exactly how it works.
The law works in this way how people practice it.
Pakistan is a very bad example of Islamic law and how it's practiced. No, no, there was another case earlier this year two brothers were accused of scribbling blasphemies against the Prophet Mohammed. And the police took them into custody. They gave the handwriting to experts to adjudicate. And once the experts were adjudicating muslim extremists shot the brothers dead. whilst they were in police custody to Christian Brothers. Then the experts said the handwriting wasn't compatible. The guys were innocent, but it's too late. They've been shot dead. And so hundreds and hundreds of people who've been involved in blasphemy cases in Pakistan, Muslims, Christians at Monday's they've had
summary judgment dealt against them when they've been innocent. Your Rights do it. But to be fair to bringing bringing another point in America, we have cases where christian fundamentalist Christians extremists have killed Muslims, just because of what happened on the day of 911 911 kill Christians over the abortion is exactly exactly why Nigeria was another bad example. In Nigeria, both sides are equally guilty of ignorance and bigotry and barbarity. Unfortunately, there is no civilization in the country. In that sense, Christians and Muslims are equally behaving in a barbaric manner. Again, we need to come back to the spirit of the Golden Age of Islam where people could actually sit down
together and converse with each other in a dignified and respectful manner. Sydney, he preferred to quote him again, give gives an example of 19th century Baghdad. So the 10th century back that way, and under Lucien traveller, went to Baghdad, and he saw a debate taking place in the city, governed by the Muslims at the time, were atheist, heretics, Christians, Jews, and Muslims sitting together in one place debating.
It sounds a bit like I'm gonna have to disagree with an ad in Andover, northern Nigeria. Look, we've been there. We know what happens. And unfortunately, Christians do
defend themselves when they're being attacked. And this is, you know, and now we've been there to just Kaduna. bouchy Maiduguri. There are other issues that I I would, I would agree with you on what you said, if you look at the cases where the Christian the Christians have been walking into Muslim villages and burning them alive as the Muslims have been doing the same to them. It's appalling that the point I'm making is is equally appalling from both sides. And I mean, obviously, we could nitpick on on what what what which cases are, you know who's to blame in In these instances, but But either way, it's a tragedy that that the communities are essentially, you know, at war with each
other. I suppose I want to get back though, to the fundamental point, which I think a lot of people listening will be thinking at this point Adnan, okay, fine, your offer, mutual dialogue respectful. And where, you know, in an ideal world, under an Islamic law, people wouldn't be put to death, because people would all be civil to each other, and be able to respectfully disagree with each other, etc. But people still may have a problem. I have a problem, for instance, with the idea that Islam would put to death those who don't retract the an insult of the Prophet because there's this fundamental issue of freedom of speech, I should be able to, to to do these things. And is it in any
sense fair that because I happen to live in an Islamic state that I will therefore be killed? What is the justification for that kind of mode of action? Okay, if
if someone wants to commit suicide, we simply cannot help these people. They need to they're not asking me Yes, perhaps in practice, what they're doing is committing suicide because to do that is to effectively limit because when you should, should, should that doing that whole, you know, Muslim Institute, Muslim law, Islamic law, or the Quran or the Sunnah of the prophet or the Prophet himself didn't want to kill people, for criticizing him. If If someone wants to insult the prophet and persist in insulting the Prophet, then this this is someone who wants to commit suicide in an Islamic State. And the state
doesn't allow anyone or any more or any people to take the law into their own hands or state governments as a state. I think the problem that many Christians will have this this Atlantis is that we have such a diametrically
oppose a different view and Jesus who took insults and, you know, accepted them, but said, Father, forgive them, they don't know what they're doing or not. And, and to hear the prophet of Islam, being one who issues the death penalty when people insult him is, is so so very different to the Christian view that from a Christian point of view, we don't see that, that that is the response to that kind of thing. But God, God will be the ultimate judge.
It's a very fair point. I mean, if you as a Christian, you're you are absolutely allowed to disagree with this law. But if the law is there, if it stands as the law of the land, then as good Christians, Christians must abide by it, as the Bible clearly puts it. In the writings of St. Paul, you've read it clearly, that once you live in a land, you obey the rule. This is how simple it is in the book of Romans is clearly stated that you obey the rules, you do not again, go against the rules. So if there's a KDF, governing a land, as good Christians, all of the Christians should obey the law in that in in that sense, and not insult the Prophet. If they want to criticize the Prophet,
if they want to defend Christianity, if they want to write works, in order to pick faults in Islam, there is nothing wrong with that they can do that Christians have been doing that in the past, and they have been doing it successfully. And the Muslims have been responding to them, at the same time criticizing Christianity. And we've had these interactions and we want to continue with this kind of work. But at the same time opening a door for insulting others and not
respecting anyone's religion, for that matter, is something Islam doesn't allow, doesn't encourage and doesn't appreciate. At the same time. Islam doesn't allow Moses to be disrespected, or even Jesus. So it's not only about Muhammad Sallallahu sallam, it's not only about the prophet in Islam is about the integrity of the family of the
of the family of all profits, basically, because they all brothers in the same religion, this is what we believe in Jesus, Moses, Abraham, David Solomon, Mohammed, they came with the same message. So in order for us to preserve the message and maintain the respect of this message, we must preserve the personalities and the credibility of these, on that basis. Do you do you think that Pakistan should repeal its blasphemy laws or not? Pakistan is not an Islamic State, I believe Pakistan having blasphemy laws? doesn't doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense.
I should repeal we'll come back to what I said about the possible whilst he said that we're subject to the laws and the powers that be, were those laws, it came into conflict with God and His word, as the Apostle Peter did. He said when he stood before the Sanhedrin, he said, whether we should obey you or God, for us, we must obey God. And so where there's a conflict between spiritual and biblical,
let's say laws and earthly powers, Paul and Peter always obeyed God. So there is, and this is the problem is that the in that instance, was not in power.
The Roman was in it, it was a principle. Peter said, we're not going to be you were under submission to God. So whether and there is sometimes a conflict between earthly powers earthly governments and the spiritual authority of God. valid point. Yeah, at the same time, if you look at Paul, what Paul was talking about, Paul was talking about the Romans, anyone Jesus render unto Caesar, what is Caesar's render on to God, I agree, but there is this difference. And then of course, what if the Caesar is?
Well, you give him to him. But then there would be for instance, there would be a problem when the conflict comes from. The question is, then of course, what constitutes a blasphemy because Jesus was put to death, for blasphemy for saying, I am, you know, the son of Son of God. But the point is, then, a would would a Muslim, in this particular instance, interpret a Christian saying, I believe Jesus is the Son of God, well as john 14 and hence committing shark, you know, against the would that constitute a common example, in the Quran where Prophet Muhammad had a debate with the Christians in the mosque of Medina. He's debating the Christians Christians came from the city of
Iran, in the south of Mecca, a city supplement in the south of Mecca. These people they came, and they
challenge the Prophet openly. While he was the ruler, he was the king of Medina, telling him that we simply don't believe in your message, what are you going to do with us? and Quran Chapter Three, verse 59, deals with this issue. Prophet was asked by God Almighty to challenge them, that bring your families and your children and your daughters
And we will revoke or sorry, we will invoke, we will invoke the curse of God. For those who are liars. I'd like to bring in john, again, at this point, john, you've heard everything that Atlanta had to say, and the way he spelt out how, ideally Islamic law should operate here, and that it should allow for free exchange of opinions and disagreements, etc. And the only in the most, if you like, obvious cases where people are deliberately not, you know, giving up their insults that should should a death penalty be instituted. But but the government, okay, and but but, I mean,
does that just sound like pie in the sky to you? It's just an imaginary situation, because, in fact,
when you look at Pakistan, and the things people are brought to court for, is it even possible that Atlanta, ideal state could exist in any way as an Islamic State?
This is actually hard point. It's not easy to answer for this is true? Because
if you go to check that Islam, Islam is something other. But on the contrary, on the people is doing anything different? Yeah, yes, you're right. Yeah. Right. That's the cause. If you read a book for the
it's my crush, she is an advocate in the US Supreme Court. And he was the professor. He read one book.
And you know, what he wrote there in the book? If somebody is do anything and got engaged after Islam, yeah, against Dr. Muhammad Yeah. Against of any
God, give to him.
punish your God give to him. Release. But you must be give to punish to him.
That's that book he wrote in the after that sale, Huck, have to seal how and when is the start for the better Islamic law?
In Pakistan, he was going to in the court appeal for that. Confirm that.
Everything for the Islamic law. Right. Right. And the if you go to the by on the current side, he said a good example from the Mohammed. Fun lady. When he walked from that in the state, he put on rubbish on the Yes, absolutely. And he will never give to punish. Yes. And so in practice, but
this is this is everything. Yeah.
ignorance with the religion. I mean, there's not the people, these people don't study the mob, which is usually running around in Pakistan, the thugs who are killing and persecuting Christians, and other minorities are not educated Muslims, they don't know anything about their religion. Someone comes to them and tell them this person, this Christian this so and so insulted the Prophet, or
put the Quran in the rubbish or something like this. People will just run just and they just react
to court, two brothers were accused of,
of carrying out a robbery and they were killed by a mob. Second, absolutely. Why Why is why is the tension so high in that sense of what why do Muslims on the ground? You know, who unfortunately don't have the benefit of your study? And your you know, not enlightened?
Muslims I don't get why do they respond so, so aggressively to these stories? I think it's absolutely unfair to say that if you if you go to South America, where we have Christians, if you go to even America, if you go to a place where you will find evangelical Christians, for that matter, if you say the wrong thing in the wrong place, where you have some of the Christian they will react in the in, in the same manner, they won't go and Lynch, I mean, they won't Well, in Africa, if you're in Africa in the wrong place, the wrong time, you will be lynched I so it's
monopoly. We find ignorant people in all, of course, of course, religion, that's true, but there's a difference in in the scale of the reaction, let's say When, when, when, you know, for instance, you know, the the well known cases of the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed v. What the Pope said in a very academic lecture, in fact, but which was actually that was seized upon by certain Muslim groups provoked widespread violence, demonstration death, and it seems out of all proportion to, I think,
extremist in that case, for instance, when the cartoons were published in medu green
Nigeria 27 churches were burnt down and Christians were killed. You know, and that's why when that pastor said he was going to take that action in New York, we, for our brothers and sisters in Africa to say, Please don't do that. Please don't do that, because Christian is going to suffer all around the world. But it's the extremists. The thing is in Pakistan, the problem, one of the problems in Pakistan is the state is unable to protect the minorities. Yeah, that's one thing. That's right. If the state were better at protecting minorities, if the police gave protection to Christians who were faced with blasphemy charges, we've had them killed in prison. Tarik pow, who, who john visited in
prison was a Pakistani airman. He was poisoned today, he was facing a battery charge. He was poisoned to death in a police cell, you know, and so we're dealing with extremism and the police are unable to, because they're ignorant. they're unable to protect Christians who've and others who fake it given given the the radical nature of what happens when people do have these reactions to criticism of Islam, which as you say, at man, in your view of Islam is simply not justified and any educated Muslim would not take that that response. But given that it does happen, and it seems to happen widely in very many places, what is the hope for Islam, as it were having that sense of a
renaissance or some kind of enlightenment? Actually, with people on the ground, though, you know, make up the vast majority of most people who react in this way, we're never governed by Islam in the first place. Pakistan has British law governing its masses. The rest of the Muslim world, if you go travel to the Muslim world, you'll see some some countries are being governed by French law, American law and a cocktail or a cocktail of different laws and regulations, including some code from Sharia, as well. So these masses, these mobs are never governed by Islam. They don't know what Islam looks like, what they don't know what Islam tastes like, what it feels like. So once
masses are or a people have been governed by Islam for a while, they would be educated in an Islamic way, in an intelligent Islamic way. Then they would know how to react, then they would know who should be reacting, who should be carrying out the penalties, we should be carrying out
the procedure proceedings against those who are accused. So in this case in Pakistan, what happens is that put by Stephen, quite rightly, that people who are accused they go to prison and they get killed in prison. Unfortunately, in even even in case of us ICRC, as
punishment, the court has declared the punishment and there is some guy in the shower some way. Some some Muslim, I don't like the word molar, by the way, very derogatory.
Or maybe, yeah, someone, some alum, allegedly some cleric, yes, offered some money to kill, even though the court has already declared his verdict. This is obnoxious. We've talked a lot about the wrongs of the Islamic blasphemy laws in Pakistan and Adnan, you've agreed to in a great deal with actually the assessment of john and Stuart here in the studio of the way it's carried out there. Obviously, you guys disagree on whether any kind of death penalty should be instituted for insulting the Prophet Mohammed. But, but in any case, in practical terms, given that there is a situation we all agree is not good in Pakistan. What are some of the practical things that could take place do
you think to bring about change there, I understand you, Stuart and CSW Christian solidarity worldwide are working for repeal of these law. We we have a link with the Minister for minority Shahbaz Bhatti, he's a personal friend of mine. And he has been tasked with looking at the blasphemy laws and he was preparing a bill to go before the parliament to repeal the laws and so we're working for them to repair BB were repealed basically are because so many Muslims and Christians have unjustly being killed when they've been innocent, and not guilty of the charges that have been made. We accept that probably in this current environment, it will be difficult, but we certainly want
amendments. And we certainly want to stop these cases going further than the police stations and the policeman, if they were far more enlightened and not ignorant, could stop these cases at the very lowest level and dismiss them. And that would be one thing. But the real issue, I think is they're unjust. They really are out of context in today's world, where we believe that there should be freedom and democracy and that people as Adnan said, should be able to express themselves without insulting I don't believe Christians go
out of the way, I sit as Adnan said to insult the Prophet, but we must get rid of these laws where there's always a danger, I suppose of of them being perverted to to make the case that there has been an insult. And then do you think it Muslims should stand up more against these types of laws as they exist in Pakistan, and as they're implemented numb, I believe Muslims stand up against the way these laws are practiced in Pakistan. And the way some of the Christians are treated in Pakistan and other minorities are treated, for that matter, with the hitting Institute advocate for the repealing of the laws in the way that CSW no 18 Institute would advocate the implementation of Islam in its
totality rather than repealing this law, just implementing implementing this law and disregarding the rest of Islamic system is not the solution in Pakistan. This is why Pakistan is in the state. It isn't today. Hitting Institute would advocate that the law of Islam should be implemented in its totality, so that the Christians, the Muslims and the Jews can live together again.
In peace and experience convent.
Gina Jenna, who's the father of the Pakistan constitution, never envisaged that Adnan. He said when he set up the Constitution of Pakistan, and let's face it, the Muslim League, when Pakistan was set up depended on the Christian vote in the Punjab, he said, the Jews should be free to go to their
places of worship. Hindus should be able to go to their temples, Muslims to the mosque, you
know, that's what I'm advocating that but that's what Jenna said he never envisaged what Islam says In that case, we have
the right of the minorities to live as they please worship. But why can't we go back to the father of Pakistan who didn't? Well, in that case, the father of Pakistan is about who invited you know, in the first place to advocate the case of the Muslims in India, as well was the author of the idea of Pakistan. cabal was the man who invited Jenna and Nicobar was not a secularist, if you read his poetry, and if you read his works, you will come to realize that equal was one of those people who promoted Islam as a solution rather than secularism. You obviously feel that in a properly, if you like constituted Islamic State, these injustices would not happen, I believe. Yes. If they do look
and sound Well, I was gonna say,
doesn't govern. Its massive. Okay. But then, is there an existence today at an Islamic state that you will not know of, and some of the
Islamic State would rule with this justice in this harmony Have I ever seen? Well, have you seen it? And how can you even say that it would, because we have historical examples to refer to, but you could you could you could point to Indonesia, up until 1990 when he was injured, never government jovia law? No, it didn't know it was a very enlightened, moderate Islamic, because he believed that you?
Yeah, until until the last Koji had set up and then invaded. In a way we're starting to tread into the topic that will be next week's program, which I think I think we're Where is a good place probably to end this because we've had a very interesting discussion. Thank you all gentlemen, for being with me. A lot of agreement, some disagreement as always on this program, but you've all put the case very well. And if people want to find out more about what you do, Adnan and the hidden Institute, is there somewhere they could look any? I know you've got multiple YouTube videos of you in this. I've watched him on Yes, absolutely. Where should they go? And then if they want to find
out more, they can go to the Haiti Institute website or IRA Islamic
education and research Academy. Okay. They can go on that website and look at my profile there and some of the will post the links as well with this podcast. So thanks, gentlemen. All for being with me.