Friday, January 21, 2011

"Apostasy and Blasphemy in Pakistan"

David F. Forte, Apostasy and Blasphemy in Pakistan, 10 Conn. J. Int'l L. 27 (1994).

Forte's article begins with an excellent background into the political and constitutional history of Pakistan in the twentieth century which makes it clear just how integral Islam is to the legal apparatus of the government. Forte then moves on to explain the relationship between apostasy and blasphemy in Pakistan, noting that "blasphemy serves as a surrogate [for the crime of apostasy] in suppressing those who dissent from Islam by word or deed." (p. 49) Finally, the article discusses at length the problem of private violence and vigilante "justice" against alleged blasphemers, the results of which are often sudden, shocking, and cruel. Although this article is now over fifteen years old, it doesn't seem at all dated, as the problems of blasphemy law in Pakistan remain very real.

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