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Debating Islam ( 11 Jan 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘People who say blasphemy law is not debatable, mislead the nation’: Pakistan Ulema Counsel Chairman

By Daily Times Monitor

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

* PUC chairman says those who issued edicts for Taseer’s murder are not muftis    

LAHORE: Pakistan Ulema Counsel Chairman Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi condemned the murder of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and said that those who issued edicts for the Punjab governor’s murder over blasphemy issues were not muftis, a private TV channel reported on Monday.

Alamdin Ashrafi said that Taseer was not Raj Pal and Qadri was not Ghazi Alamdin Shaheed. He said that Islam had bestowed more rights on minorities than Muslims in society. He urged that religion not be used for vested interests of politics. He said that Aasia Bibi and Qadri’s cases were in court and the court would give its verdicts regarding the cases and we should wait and respect the court’s verdicts. He said that Taseer’s matter was in God’s court now.

Ashrafi said that Taseer had repeatedly said that only a fanatic could commit blasphemy, adding that the blasphemy law was amended twice during Nawaz Sharif’s regimes, adding that Taseer was killed for just talking about the law. He said that laws presented by Ziaul Haq, Nawaz Sharif or Asif Ali Zardari were debatable, adding that those who say that a debate on blasphemy law was not possible were misleading the nation.

Ashrafi questioned as to how many people were sentenced under the law since it came into being in Pakistan?

He said that those who lodged fake FIRs were the real crooks. He asked why there was no law for those who commit blasphemy by mentioning fake statements in the FIR, which fall in the category of real blasphemy, and why religious parties do not raise their voices against them. Ashrafi said it was unfortunate that the nation could not understand what Taseer really wanted them to perceive, adding that people blame Taseer for committing blasphemy, but such people do not come on TV shows to prove their claims. He challenged anyone to prove any of Taseer’s statements in which he committed blasphemy and which warranted his death. He said that violence could not defend religion, adding that Islam was a religion of peace and we should adopt the holy Prophet’s (PBUH) way of life and not take the law in our hands. Ashrafi said that in his column, he was the first one who condemned a daily’s statement in which Salmaan Taseer was declared as murtad. He said that everyone considers himself a mufti in Pakistan. He urged that if any mufti, who declared a death penalty for the Punjab governor, or declared him as murtad, should come on TV and prove his claims in accordance with the holy Quran.

Source:  Daily Times, Pakistan