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God and Government: Pakistan at a crossroads
January 24, 2019
Blasphemy laws in this young country allow for the persecution of non-Muslim religious minorities. But now, after a landmark case, Pakistan is at a crossroads. Originally aired on Dec. 27, 2018.
Religious minorities in Pakistan face persecution, due to blasphemy laws January 22, 2019
Pakistan was created as a space for the Muslim minority in India, but was founded under the ideals of secularism and freedom for all religious traditions. But, blasphemy laws derived from colonial rule are still on the books, and are now commonly evoked in disputes between Muslims and non-Muslims. Meher Ahmad, a reporter based in Pakistan, brings us this story of an Ahmadi Muslim man falsely accused of burning pages out of a Quran. Plus, we discuss the recent ruling on the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent 10 years in prison under threat of execution, for allegedly insulting the prophet Mohammed.
Meher Ahmad, journalist and documentary producer

Our God and Government series is produced with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation.
The history of Pakistani blasphemy laws January 22, 2019
When blasphemy laws were originally put into place by the British Raj, the intent was to prevent the various religious groups in Pakistan from insulting or provoking each other. However, over time, as the country was “islamicized” by subsequent leadership, the laws became a means of targeting minorities. Our guest says that Pakistan is at a crossroads, and must decide on a balance between those who believe in the pluralist vision of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, and those who believe Pakistan to be a strictly Islamic state.

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University’s School of International Service
Are blasphemy laws compatible with Islamic thought? January 22, 2019
Along with nine other countries, Pakistan was recently cited as a “country of particular concern” regarding religious freedom by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. As the current incarnation of blasphemy laws serve to limit religious freedom in Pakistan, we asked, is there an Islamic justification for these laws?

Asma Uddin, senior scholar and faculty at the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute
Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center