Will Mo Shafiq Please Outline The Correct Application Of ‘Blasphemy’ Law?
I recently wrote about the British Imam from Bradford who openly proclaimed his support for Malik Mumtaz Qadri, a man who gunned down a Pakistani governor named Salman Taseer in the service of ‘blasphemy’. Qadri was executed for this crime last week1, sparking outrage amongst many Muslims who consider Qadri be more of a martyr than a murderer.
Over at The Daily Beast, anti-extremist Maajid Nawaz laments the support for Qadri amongst his fellow Muslims and highlights a number of examples from so-called ‘moderates’.
Amongst those named and shamed is Mohammed Shafiq, the Chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation and former Liberal Democrat. You may recall that Shafiq had previously referred to Maajid Nawaz as ‘Ghustaki Rasool’ (defamer of the prophet) for tweeting out a Jesus and Mo cartoon of Muhammad. Nawaz did this to demonstrate his lack of offence at such drawings and to show his support for freedom of expression.
Shafiq’s behaviour was tantamount to incitement to violence. As Nick Cohen reported in The Guardian:
On Twitter, Shafiq went further and gave a masterclass in double speak. “Ghustaki Rasool Quilliam,” he tweeted. Most of his audience had no idea what he meant. A few knew all too well. “Ghustaki Rasool” is “defamer of the prophet” in Urdu: a charge that incites Islamists to murder. Fanatics took to Twitter to prove the point. “Have spoken to someone in Pakistan,” one of Shafiq’s followers replied. “They will have a surprise for him on his next visit!” Another Twitter user contacted Nawaz to say: “Gustak e rasool is punishable by death anywhere in the world. Btw I’m in the UK not Pakistan.” A third cried that “dogs like Maajid Nawaaz will be punished!”
Anyhow, in Nawaz’s Daily Beast article he states:
Mohammed Shafiq, who runs the Ramadan Foundation website, a regular pundit on the “community leader” circuit, posted a prayer eulogizing Qadri and criticized Pakistani media for not condemning Qadri’s execution.
The links contained lead to the following screenshots of comments made by Mohammed Shafiq on his personal Facebook profile:
I was keen to press for an explanation of these comments so reached out Mohammed Shafiq on Twitter:
I tweeted him images of the above screenshots to ask whether or not they were fake:
After claiming they are fake, Shafiq appears to then confirm they are not:
Broadcaster Nicky Campbell, who recognises religious obfuscation better than most, presses him on Blasphemy laws:
Here is a perfect example of the problem we have with so-called moderates. Instead of condemning the implementation of any blasphemy laws, Shafiq engages in weasel talk.
Shafiq has indicated he will be blogging a response to Nawaz’s article. I’d be incredibly keen to see him detail which ‘application’ of blasphemy law he feels is the ‘correct one’.
- I do not support the death penalty or this execution ↩