Mohammed Hanif, the author of this disgraceful op-ed published Friday in the New York Times, is a Pakistani novelist, and so it is perhaps understandable that he may wish to observe Islamic blasphemy laws, but why is the New York Times, which is supposedly a journalistic outlet in a nation that upholds the freedom of speech, validating his doing so?
In it, Hanif writes this about Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman charged with blasphemy and held in prison for years, and whose recent acquittal touched off nationwide riots in Pakistan: “There are many versions of what led to the charges against her, but all revolve around a verbal altercation with Muslim neighbors in Punjab, an eastern province, about drinking water from the same vessel. Some Muslims won’t share utensils with non-Muslims, a belief that has more to do with (Hindu) casteism than (Islamic) scripture.”
Nonsense. It comes from this Islamic scripture: “O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are unclean…” (9:28)