Blasphemy or Freedom of speech?

Recent incidents like the death of a student for alleged blasphemy and an Indian singer commenting negatively on Azaan (the call to Muslim prayer) has led me to re-think about blasphemy.

So what is blasphemy?

By definition: Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverenceto a deity, to religious or holy persons or sacred things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable.

In Mashal’s case , there are those who say he was not guilty of blasphemy but then there are those who say, “Even if he was so what? That is freedom of speech.”

You know why Mashal is dead and Sonu Nigam still alive? Because Mashal was born in a country where the punishment for blasphemy is death penalty. And Pakistan’s government has proven time and time again that it is very strict about the blasphemy law, even if it is overly lenient about other things that actually matter like corruption.

Also there is no such thing as Pakistan as freedom of speech, but this is another topic. Let’s leave Pakistan alone for a second. What is freedom of speech?

Freedom of speech: the right to express an opinion without restraint


Don’t you think that the line between blasphemy and freedom of speech is too thin? 

I think you are a blasphemer for insulting Christianity. But to you, you’re just practicing your right, your freedom to speak.

So who decides what is blasphemous and what is safe to be uttered without being lynched by an angry mob?

Honestly speaking, I do not understand the need to insult any religion or set of beliefs. Why the duck would I be concerned with the bindi of a Hindu lady or the way the Buddhist monks live their lives? What the duck do I care?

Also, freedom of speech is the right to express your opinion without restraint. It is not the right to insult or disrespect a religion or even a human being. Insulting a religion and justifying with a freedom of speech excuse is akin to saying “Please don’t be offended but I would really like to duck your mother.”

But back to blasphemy again. Should it be a crime? If not, then why is it that so many countries (and not just Muslim ones) do in fact punish for blasphemy? 

Another question: does the punishment have to be as severe as death? If i comitt blasphemy, can’t I be forced to spend five days with a person of the that religion or set of beliefs? You never know, your atheist neighbour and you might be supporting the same football team all along.

Should countries re-think their blasphemy laws and revise the punishments? And if we abolish all blasphemy laws, is there any guarantee that people would stop killing over religion? 

I ask mainly because I too do not have definite answers to these questions. But the way I see it, I live my life peacefully because I do not give a duck about what others think of my beliefs because they are my beliefs and not theirs. Also, I have a tad thicker skin than you, which is why I am not going around murdering students in university. 

But jokes apart, maybe the only solution to this is tolerance and respect of others, period.

P.S May I just add that I have added Sonu Nigam’s example along with Mashal’s because it was also about religion. Nigam’s tweet wasnt merely blasphemous to me, more of a rant really. The singer has also now defended his tweet by saying that it was the loudspeaker and not the Azaan that bothered him (although had he been in Pakistan, his fate would have been similar to Mashal’s). If I was half as rich as he is, I would buy a mansion in a place where there is no mosque within fifty feet. If I was poor, I would suffice with earplugs.

P.P.S I have intentionally used duck instead of the original word.

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