“What is the right punishment for blasphemy?”

The Times of India reports:

H Farook, 31, from Bilal Estate in South Ukkadam here, was hacked to death by a four-member gang, late Thursday night. He was a member of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (DVK), and an atheist. According to police, Farook was administering a WhatsApp group where he posted rationalistic views against his religion. He also posted rationalistic messages on his Facebook page which came in for criticism by members of the community.

Meanwhile, Ansath, 30, a Muslim realtor, surrendered before the judicial magistrate court -V on Friday evening in connection with the murder.

“Farook’s anti-Muslim sentiments had angered people. This may be a possible motive for murder,” said S Saravanan, DCP, Coimbatore.

Yesterday BBC Asian Network tweeted this:

It has since apologized, but how clueless (or worse) do you have to be to say that in the first place?

BBC News reports:

Pakistan says it has asked Facebook to help investigate “blasphemous content” posted on the social network by Pakistanis.

Facebook has agreed to send a team to Pakistan to address reservations about content on the social media site, according to the interior ministry.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive and incendiary issue in Pakistan.

“Blasphemy” shouldn’t even be a meaningful concept in a reasonable world. We obviously don’t live in such a world, but we have our hopes and dreams.

Earlier this week Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif voiced his support for a wide-ranging crackdown on blasphemous content on social media.

In a statement on his party’s official Twitter account, he described blasphemy as an “unpardonable offence”.

Shame on him then. What theocratic zealots mean by “blasphemous content” is anything at all that questions supernaturalist claims. We should all be free to create and share that sort of content.

Then on Thursday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar reasserted Pakistan’s determination to tackle the issue, saying he would take “any steps necessary” to make sure Pakistan’s message got across.

He said he had asked officials to liaise with the FBI in the US and with social media platforms on a daily basis.

“Facebook and other service providers should share all information about the people behind this blasphemous content with us,” he is quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

There has been little official description of what blasphemous content has been found online so far, but in the past blasphemy accusations have ranged from depictions of the Prophet Muhammad to critiques and inappropriate references to the Koran.

Nonsense. Absolute nonsense. The Koran presumes to tell everyone what to do, down to the smallest details of private life. Of course we get to talk back to the Koran. The Koran is not the boss of us.

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