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While the Canadian government studiously avoids removing Criminal Code Section 296 from Canada's criminal code and earnestly hosts Malala Yousafzai, it is difficult not to dip, even if only briefly, into current events to see how these things relate to one another.

The mob kicked in the door, dragged Khan from his room and beat him to death, witnesses and police said. The death in the northwestern city of Mardan is the latest violence linked to accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan Those who knew Khan described him as an intellectually curious student who openly professed devotion to Islam but asked many questions.

At least 65 people have been murdered over blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to figures from a Center for Research and Security Studies report and local media, and dozens more convicted of the crime are currently on death row in
 Pakistani jails.

As a sidebar observation, it is not exactly clear why this story about a faith-based murder in Pakistan contains a video of anti-Muslim graffiti spray-painted on a car in Calgary.  Does this insertion assist Canadian news consumers in an understanding of the Pakistani murders?

The previously mentioned Ms. Yousafzai is a Pakistani student who was shot by the Taliban for attempting to defend her right to an education.  In other words, Ms. Yousafzai was saying things that offended the religious ideals of some fanatics.  In that regard, Ms. Yousafzai is not unlike Mashal Khan, the murdered journalism student.  During her visit,  Ms. Yousafzai informed the Canadian government that:

The man who attacked Parliament Hill called himself a Muslim - but he did not share my faith. He did not share the faith of one and a half billion Muslims, living in peace around the world. He did not share our Islam - a religion of learning, compassion and mercy.

I am a Muslim and I believe that when you pick up a gun in the name of Islam and kill innocent people, you are not a Muslim anymore.

Based on Ms. Yousafzai's assertion Mashal Khan's murderers were not Muslims. Presumably neither were the people who attempted to murder her.  Possibly Ms. Yousafzai would not agree with an opinion article posted in the Daily Pakistan Global which begins as follows:

If we, as a society, want someone dead because of some words they said then we should:
a. Be very clear on what those words are 
b. Ensure that a person who has not actually said those words does not receive any punishment

We already agree that there exists a combination of words that, if said in a right sequence, makes you deserve death. From our presidents to lawmakers to scientists to accountants - people from all walks of life agree that such a combination exists. We have coded it into law. Not only we have coded it into law, we have killed people who have even talked about changing that law.

This law exists, and if this law exists, it must work. What many people who advocate abolishing these laws or making them ineffectual don't realize is that if the blasphemy laws are abolished we will see even worse vigilantism against alleged blasphemers. This is the kind of issue that people are obviously ready to kill, die and break all laws for. Such people will always exist until Muslims, as a nation, regain their dignity at the global stage and, more importantly, in their own eyes. I don't see this happening anytime soon.

Till then, to minimize damage there are certain steps we can take. The most urgent and most important step we need to take is to make the blasphemy law stronger by bringing it closer to Quran and Sunnah.

There's not much point (nor pleasure) in examining the morality of the Daily Pakistan Global article.  Except that....

There are many Canadians ready to support the underlying argument that blasphemy laws are a valid protection against the inability of fanatics to control their tempers.  As the article asserts...blasphemers deserve the retaliation they get.

Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government is currently retaining (when they have recognized in Parliament an option to take action) a law whose fundamental argument is that one person's pride is worth more than another person's human rights.

We are exhorted, via anti-Islamophobia motions in the House of Commons, to embrace a moral authority which urges that anybody who does not agree with us deserves the retaliation that we collectively (and individually) choose to mete out.

There really is no more essential or fundamental action for Canadian secularists, humanists, atheists, agnostics and skeptics to take. Canada's blasphemy law must go.  On this detail, we could have some agreement with Ms. Yousafzai - if Canada leads, others will follow.

(The above observations by a friend of CFIC are not necessarily policy statements or opinions of the organization.)

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