Pakistani Professor Sentenced To Death For Blasphemy

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We have yet another example of the perils facing academics in some Muslim countries with a death sentence handed down by a Pakistani court against Professor Junaid Hafeez, 33, because he allegedly posted derogatory remarks against Mohammed on social media. Many of our closest allies routinely flog or kill those who simply question religious dogma.

Such blasphemy laws are not confined to Muslim nations, though they are most prevalent among countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and other Muslim countries. I have previously criticized such European blasphemy laws (here and here and here).  We have been following the international trend (here and here and here and here) to criminalize criticism of religions, including this prior column. The Obama Administration joined the UN Human Rights Council and agreed to create a “new” standard balancing speech and respect for religion. These new standards are merely thinly disguised blasphemy laws that are spreading throughout the world, including the West. As I discussed recently, many nations have shifted their efforts to impose blasphemy crimes in favor of broader hate speech and discrimination laws.  

The death sentence against this academic shows how these laws are designed to curtail free speech and free thought. These countries use the laws to protect religious dogma and make adherence to the majority orthodoxy a legal requirement. When a religion fears event the uttering of dissenting views, it reflects a deep insecurity about its appeal to individuals. It also gives religious figures state-sponsored muscle to silence any detractors or free thinkers who would challenge their authority.

Hafeez is an example of how these laws are used to target political opponents as well as dissidents. He arrested in 2013 and has cruelly been held in solitary confinement since 2014. He was exposed to modern studies and values. In addition to medical training, he studied English literature and was a Fulbright scholar to Jackson State University where he studies literature, photography, and theater. He was viewed as a threat from Islamic political parties like Islami Jamiat Talaba, Jamaat-e-Islami) and Tehrik-tahafaz-e-Namoos-e-risalat. Rather than engage in a debate or dialogue, the Islamic parties want him dead as a warning to others not to utter opposing views.

He has shown all of the courage and intellectual honesty missing in this court and the Islamic groups seeking his death.

63 thoughts on “Pakistani Professor Sentenced To Death For Blasphemy”

  1. I see such activities as positively advancing the cause of Christianity and the American Way; Christianity being the only religion capable of achieving mass mind that is truly pluralistic.

    And I would have to question use of the words, “closet allies,” since Pakistan is only an ally because it has the bomb. And how did they get the enrichment tech that allowed them to gain the bomb? Well, allegedly from the Chinese courtesy of the Clinton administration.

    Pakistan is NOT our ally and should NOT be receiving ANY aid from American taxpayers. Who incidentally view their often minimal disposable income as anything BUT “fungible.”

    1. Pakistan got its nuclear weapons from the dutch by having scientists placed in the EU’s civilian nuclear program. Not for Clinton. Typical of the American inverted christian churches to spout such dissemination. Christianity has no love of pluralism it was forced on it by the age of reason, a response to the centuries of murder and terror conducted by Christians whilst warring with each of as to who heresy was the real christianity. Never trust a religion with power.

    1. You doubt that the Pakistani military is a major supporter of the Taliban? How naive.

      1. Try some long division and remember that money is fungible. But only after your bathroom break.

  2. Stop sending $$ to the Pakistani military.

    Likely they use it to prop up the Taliban

    1. Pakistan uses the Taliban to control Afghanistan. This is not a “mystery.” Why you’re getting pushback for stating the obvious is a genuine mystery.

    1. Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself – Am I alone in thinking that Barak is setting the stage for Michelle to enter the Presidential contest after a brokered convention?

      1. @PCS- I can’t stop thinking about your comment. It has shaken me to my core.

        1. Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself – This is based on Barack’s comments on the need for women leaders who would solve all problems. I think he is presaging a move later in the game. There are some who think Hillary would jump into a brokered convention to save the Democrats, but she already lost to Trump. Michelle has high likabilities but NO experience except starving school children.

          1. The Obamas are the Olsen Twins of the Progressive set. The media would be all starry-eyed and ‘two for the price of one’ would poll a heckuva lot better than it did for Bill and Hillary. As to her lack of experience (not that she is that much less experienced than her husband was in 2008), St. Barack as senior advisor would be an odd take on the 22nd Amendment.

            Hopefully you are just victim to some pathologically disturbing ideations.

          2. Bill Clinton was the first black president (riding the Reagan wave).

            Obongo was the first ineligible, failing, hysterical and incoherent woman president.

            Moochhell would be the first, foreign invader, hyphenate, conquerer president of whatever global communist country this nation would become, but distinctly not the United States of America.

              1. Could I just have all the unconstitutional tax I was charged for the past 50 years then?

          3. If Obama really thought that women made better leaders than men, due to some advantage found only on a double X chromosome, then why did he run for President? After all, his winning the primary prevented Hillary Clinton from being the Democratic candidate. Granted, she has perjured herself in Travelgate, is a one shot stock mastermind who became wealthy on cattle futures from reading the WSJ, laughed about getting a pedophile off because the crime lab accidentally tossed the blood soaked underwear of his victim, kept a private server in her bathroom to prevent State from having copies of her correspondence, in violation of the Records Act, lied about the server, uploaded her correspondence and classified information to the Cloud, gave people with zero clearance access to the server, wiped the server with Bleach Bit, lied about wiping the server, smashed her phones and laptops with a hammer while under Congressional subpoena (ohhhhh, can you imagine the riots if Trump did that?), withheld the requested security in Benghazi, lied about Benghazi, blamed a video, lied about landing under “sniper fire” in Bosnia…

            But, women have better leadership skills than any man because their gonads are special. If you object to a female candidate for any reason, you’re a misogynist sexist, even if you are a woman. Then you are a self hating misogynist.

            Identity politics suits Obama when he’s already been president. Now, all of a sudden, women make the best leaders.

            You know who really makes the best leaders? Those who combine the qualities of an excellent leader, regardless of what they look like, their sex, race, or ethnicity.

            To claim that anyone has a special talent because of their gonads is repulsive logic. I’m a woman, and I hate this pandering. All it’s missing is a head pat.

              1. In Benson’s mind, staying on topic involves bring up topics like plastic or beer.
                Topics he himself just brought up that had absolutely nothing to do with the columns, or with what was under discussion in the threads.

              2. Here, Benson illustrates the common phenomenon we see today. A conservative makes an argument. The Democrat goes ad hominem, without addressing any point or making any rebuttal.

                In this case, Obama was the topic of speculation as to whether or not Michelle will enter the race. I point out the hypocrisy of his suddenly woke position, as well as the qualifications that I believe make the best leader.

                Benson simply insults me. It illustrates the typical false logic ad hominem so common today, courtesy of Saul Alinsky. This has led to the mainstreaming of unreasoning bigotry against conservatives.

                We really do need to keep calling this behavior out. Conservatives have ignored this aggression for so long that we have allowed to define to this generation what we stand for, a tactical mistake. This constant name calling and hatred alienates many people.

            1. Women have nothing but Affirmative Action Privilege. Oh, and hysteria and incoherence. Why do you think the American Founders had no intention of ever allowing women to vote? Answer: Women have a duty to their nation which is to make the population – for those of you in Rio Linda, that is to have and nurture babies sufficient to grow and defend the nation. America’s fertility rate is in a “death spiral” and its population is imported of unassimilable foreign parasites. American women have committed the treason of placing the American population on the verge of extinction. There can be no more profound betrayal to a nation than insidiously causing that nation to vanish before our very eyes. It is incomprehensible; the kind of men who allowed acquiescence to caterwauling parasitic women.

              1. George, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are no brain cells in your gonads.

                Motherhood is indeed a high calling. A strong maternal bond and a husband’s support are statistically correlated with healthier children in better socioeconomic conditions.

                Women are not parasitic in this relationship, but rather critical to the survival of our species.

                At the time of the Founding Fathers, most women were illiterate and uneducated. Higher class women had tutors. It would be another 70 years before the first woman graduated with a bachelors degree. Women did not have property rights, and inheritance often passed them by as entailed to the male line.

                I am highly critical of the modern feminist movement. It is hostile to men, especially alpha males, as well as women who raise their own children rather than pursuing a career. It is more about identity politics than equality of rights and opportunity. I am also opposed to lowering standards for women to achieve some kind of quota, such as making the physical fitness test much easier on female firefighter candidates.

                That said, hostility towards women is just as unethical as hostility towards men. Bigotry is bigotry. Women today eschewing relationships and families are the product of years of conditioning. I recall when I was in my 20s, the general feeling was that it was wrong for a woman to settle down young and start a family. Almost shocking. I’m not sure how that cultural pressure began, it was so gradual. Of course it was also unhealthy. By the time many of those women reached their 40s, those men who wanted to get married, are, and it’s too late for them to have children. The regret and grief is palpable. “You can have it all” is a lie. If a woman feels no desire to be a mother, then she should not have children. But if she does want a family, then putting it off is a mistake. And if she wants kids, then realistically, she will have an easier time of it if she chooses a committed relationship with a guy with a steady job, who will stick around and provide for her. Our species evolved to favor this strategy, with the long rearing times for our young.

                So don’t feel bitter that so many women reject the idea of an alpha male courting them, marrying them, and providing for them while they raise children. Our culture conditions women that this traditional family is wrong, somehow. Something to be mocked. Studies have shown that a two parent household statistically fares far better than a single parent one.

                It is not only women eschewing marriage who have contributed to its decline. Men are far more commitment averse than they were in ages past. The proliferation of hookup apps render marriage unnecessary. Women no longer require courtship or any effort at all. So many men today create children out of wedlock and then abandon them. Men don’t feel needed, and women feel used. It’s very unhealthy.

                I would say that both genders have suffered as the culture has veered away from traditional committed relationships and more towards a hedonistic, total lack of responsibility lifestyle.

                1. “there are no brain cells in your gionads”.
                  That would make a liar out of every woman who has accused a man of thinking with his d**k.

                  1. Anonymous, so basically, if you think with that part, you’re not thinking at all, because…no brain cells. Hence the bad decisions to which this saying refers.

                2. @Karen- well said, and strangely apropos to a post on blasphemy.

                  There’s a good argument to be made that these changes are a cultural consequence of the great divergence, antibiotics, and effective birth control, all of which altered the cost-benefit of sex in the absence of a serious commitment.

                  The new cultural pressure is to forswear children altogether in the name of carbon neutrality, a la Harry and Megan.

                  Oh well, its time to re-stream the movie Idiocracy. Or maybe convert to LDS. But if anyone asks, its safer to do espouse something respectable, like reciting Gruber and “Marginal Child.”

        2. Epstein etc.,
          What if Obama is setting the stage for a late entry by Hillary🤪, not for Michele?

          1. I believe Hillary has kept the option open of getting late into the race. She has made coy comments that she’s not out of the game yet.

            Michelle has repeatedly stated how much she loathes the idea of running for office. She could change her mind, however.

            1. If I were Michelle, spending some quality time at the new compound on the Vineyard would be pretty alluring.

              Hanging out in Chappaqua with Bill, not so much.

            2. Hillary is done; she won’t be running again. Michelle Obama won’t be running either.

  3. While European blasphemy laws do not comport with our own values of free speech, you cannot compare them with Muslim blasphemy laws. You’ll get fined or perhaps serve a short jail sentence for “hate speech”, anathema to freedom, of course. But if you commit blasphemy and insult the Prophet in a Muslim country, you will be flogged or killed. You cannot, for example, criticize Mohammed for the fact of his being a warlord, rapist, pedophile, slave trader, slave owner, who “miraculously” got very convenient revelations that allowed him to sleep with his sex slaves in his wives’ beds, or take his adopted son’s wife. Nor can you remark that his favorite wife, with whom he consummated their relationship when she was 9 years old, told him she thought his God hastened to please him.

    Nope. You can’t comment critically on any of these historically proven facts, or you’ll die. That was a pretty neat trick for Mohammad to make questioning him a capital offense, in perpetuity.

    1. Most other regions do not share Western values. The culture of the Middle East, in general, is oppositional to ours in most respects.

      This should inspire caution when managing refugees and immigration. A reasonable number can be absorbed and assimilate, as Professor Hafeez did before he was arrested for it. Having Western values or wanting Western freedoms makes you a target in many regions of the world.

      That is why we must be cautious to accept immigrants who want to have American values, rather than those who do not. We want more like Hafeez, not those who would kill him for his Westernized ideals.

      We gave nearly half a million dollars in aid to Pakistan in 2015. On the one hand, maintaining a relationship with Pakistan and combating terrorism is important. On the other, why should we give a dime to a country who would kill a bright man for emulating our value of free speech? Why not expel him from their repressive country? We could take him, or any number of Western nations would. He’s a Fulbright Scholar who could prove to be an asset to our country.

      The main problem is that these countries kill those who question their ways, especially their religion. They don’t give them the opportunity to leave. They kill them for it. It’s not our way or the highway; it’s our way or death.

      We are caught in this web of giving our hard earned taxpayer dollars to countries who hate us, don’t share our values, and abuse their people. We do this for military access to the region, to try to fight terrorism, which is ironic since supporting it is so common in many of these places, and to maintain a tenuous truce in a region infamous for antiWestern sentiment.

      Are we getting our money’s worth? Are we really helping? It might be time to renegotiate this arrangement. Perhaps we might be willing to negotiate if they give us those who want Western values.

    2. While European blasphemy laws do not comport with our own values of free speech, you cannot compare them with Muslim blasphemy laws. You’ll get fined or perhaps serve a short jail sentence for “hate speech”, anathema to freedom, of course. But if you commit blasphemy and insult the Prophet in a Muslim country, you will be flogged or killed. You cannot, for example, criticize Mohammed for the fact of his being a warlord, rapist, pedophile, slave trader, slave owner, who “miraculously” got very convenient revelations that allowed him to sleep with his sex slaves in his wives’ beds, or take his adopted son’s wife. Nor can you remark that his favorite wife, with whom he consummated their relationship when she was 9 years old, told him she thought his God hastened to please him.

      Karen, we’ve had this discussion before. Where do you fancy this happens, and how often? The last time we had this discussion, you were yammering about capital sentences in the United Arab Emirates, which executed 18 people over the period running from September 1994 to November 2017, none of them for blasphemy or for any morals charge. That amounts to 0.78 persons per year, in a country whose population averaged about 4.5 million during those years. At an equivalent rate, we’d execute about 55 people a year in this country (which approximates the number we do execute).

      1. Absurd: “Where do you fancy this happens?”

        Me: Check out the title to the post: Pakistan.

        Absurd: “How often?”

        Me: Once is enough to frighten everyone onto silence.

        1. Her reference wasn’t to Pakistan. It was to the generic ‘Muslim country’.

          1. The answer is still the same. We could add Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. Its the real threat of death that causes everyone to fall in line.

            1. We could add Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.

              Actually, the number of executions in Saudi Arabia each year is a subset of the number of murders, and Saudi Arabia has an abnormally low murder rate.

          2. TIA – blasphemy laws are intrinsic to Sharia Law. You can research the blasphemy laws of each Muslim country. I do assure you that if you travel to any number of them, and should insults about Mohammed or Islam, you will be arrested.

            The number of arrests or executions on the matter does not mean the laws don’t exist. It means the deterrent of severe punishment, and lifelong conditioning, is effective.

            Saudi Arabia also has a low rate of theft because they cut your hand off for it. Their eye for an eye laws, or Qisas, are also literal. The low rate of thefts does not mean there is no law against theft or no strict punishment.

            1. Blasphemy and apostasy laws in Saudi Arabia:


              “Like many Islamic states, “blasphemy” is conceived as a deviation from Sunni Islam and is thus treated as apostasy. Apostasy is criminalized and punishable by death. The death sentence (usually by beheading and crucifixion) is also used to address “crimes” of “witchcraft” and “sorcery”.

              In March 2014, the Government brought into law new anti-terrorism legislation, which defines atheism as terrorism. Article 1 of the law defines terrorism as: “Calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.” Since the government system is grounded in Wahhabi interpretations of Islam, non-believers are assumed to be enemies of the Saudi state.”

            2. Again, Karen, Muslim countries have actual law codes. They incorporate Sharia selectively.

      2. TIA – apostasy and blasphemy laws have been part of the Muslim faith for its entirety. It is well known that if you insult the prophet, you will be punished severely or killed. Therefore, most people in Muslim countries do not pop off about the Prophet. Do you claim this is not the case because so few people dare to do so publicly on Muslim soil?

        Severe punishments do actually work as a deterrent. I have known quite a few people from various Muslim countries. You can leave a suitcase on the sidewalk in Dubai, and return in an hour confident it will still be there. They chop off your hand for stealing.

        Killing those who insulted Mohammad has been well documented, throughout history and up to modern times. It is not done. Even prominently insulting or questioning Mohammad here in the States will create a whiplash frenzy in Muslim countries. An example was when that pastor publicly burned Qur’ans, people in the Middle East freaked out. Youtubers on Acts17Apologetics routinely get death threats, as does Ayan Hirsi Ali. Neither of them are in any Middle Eastern country criticizing Islam, because if they did, they would be arrested.

        Penning cartoons about Mohammed generally leads to murder or attempted murder.

        Since it has been a while since we had this discussion, please clarify your position. Do you believe that criticizing the Prophet is not a capital offense in Middle Eastern countries? Do you believe when people in the US do it, publicly, it does not lead to backlash and threats?

        Are you fancying that because so few people are put to death for insulting the Prophet, that there is no cultural taboo on the topic? If you are, my answer would be that it is so well known to be dangerous to do so, that it is generally not attempted on Middle Eastern soil.

        You can review the laws of various Muslim countries, and also research their traditions:

        “Under the new penal code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, blasphemy was given a dedicated new chapter, and remains punishable by death.

        The penal code of Iran was formally changed in 2012. In addition to numerous other human rights issues that remain under the new penal code, the crimes of “apostasy” and “blasphemy” are still in force and are punishable by death.”

        In the following case, a cleric falsely accused a handicapped child of desecrating the Koran, for which she was arrested. He did this to stir up animosity towards resident Christians. Since insulting the Prophet or Islam is a crime, he weaponized this law to persecute Christians.

        “A court in Pakistan has acquitted a young Christian girl of blasphemy after she was accused of setting fire to a copy of the Koran in a case that sparked international controversy.

        In the latest twist to a case that gripped the country, and which campaigners said underlined the need to reform Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws, the court in Islamabad ruled that the Rimsha Masih was not guilty, her lawyer said.

        Earlier this summer, the young girl, who is believed to be 14-years-old, was arrested in the nation’s capital after a Muslim cleric accused her of desecrating the Koran and furious crowds demanded that she be punished. Rimsha was then held in a maximum security jail, prompting outcry from international rights organisations.

        However, she was granted bail in September after the cleric, Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, was himself later accused of tampering with evidence and of damaging the Koran to stir up resentment between religious communities.”

  4. If you cuss then you swear…
    You swear like a hog…
    From your first hooker in Vegas to..
    Your last dying day.

  5. The Catholic Church did finally see the error of its ways and end the “Inquisition” (proximate to the adoption of the U.S. Constitution), didn’t it? I haven’t seen any “witches” or “blasphemers” burned at the stake in the public square lately.

    Blasphemy laws are unconstitutional.

    A nation cannot have freedom of religion and a theocracy.

    Freedom of religion precludes government by any particular religion, aka theocracy.

    People and governments around the globe have the choice of persisting under a dictatorship or in freedom.

    This is a simple exercise of freedom of speech and religion by Professor Junaid Hafeez.

    The American Founders, being geniuses, declared their freedoms and rights to be natural and/or God-given.

    Dictatorship, tyranny and oppression are unnatural and/or not of God.

    Pakistan is certainly within the dimensions of nature and/or God.

    America must “jawbone” from the “bully pulpit” that all nations must adhere to the infinite rights and freedoms of individuals provided by nature and/or God, understanding that statutes against property damage and bodily injury are legitimate and binding.

    Not all governments around the world have taken receipt of the memo.

    1st Amendment

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  6. Believe it or not, the United States has no control over the actions of other nations. It’s up to them as to what laws they impose on their people. Whether it’s laws against blasphemy or eating dogs, it’s not up to Americans to determine what they practice. We can rant all we want but there’s nothing we can do about it. As for Pakistan being a close ally of the United States, there is a long relation between the two countries going back to World War II. We used Pakistan as a base to keep watch on the Soviet Union and now it’s used to keep watch on Russia and China. The campaign against the Taliban religious group is a sideshow. Pakistan is only important to us because of our military role there. If we abandon Pakistan, they’ll become a Russian ally.

    1. I didn’t get a sense from reading the piece that the author was suggesting that the US was responsible for issues outside the US, such as blasphemy laws, instead I read the article as a cautionary tale.

    2. “We can rant all we want but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

      Horseshit. We can cut off billions in foreign aid, we can end any form of cooperation, we can impose sanctions, etc.

      Pakistan is not, and will never be, a “close ally.” The relationship is one of temporary convenience between our intelligence agencies. We would be better off without them.

      1. It’s arguable that the Pakistanis already have a closer relationship with China than they do with us, and have had this relatioship for many decadee. The ominous part of this is that both China and Pakistan have tried to grab land from India and its close allies, both historically and recently. The Beijing – Islamabad axis could be a major cause of World War 3 at some date in the future (as three nuclear powers continue to fight over land in both strategic and out-of-the-way areas.

    3. No control other than deliberation, sanity, intellect, morality, logic, rationale, coherence and composure.

      The Constitution and Bill of Rights are perfection in the lives of men. The American Founders were geniuses. They proffered the one and only thing they could: Freedom. Dictatorship is the sole alternative and most consider it disagreeable.

  7. Dogma. To even suggest that Muslim extremists are related to the ma of a dog is being mean to dogs. Dog spelled backwards is God. Dog is good. Dog is great. Yeah Dog.

    1. According to Jill Abramson, the formtr executive editor of the New York Times, the Obama administration was the most secretive one since Nixon’s, and has tried an unprecedented number of journalists.

  8. Many of our closest allies routinely flog or kill those who simply question religious dogma.

    Define ‘closest ally’.

    Foreign countries which have (1) a critical mass of Muslims in their population and (2) a resident population of American soldiers and sailors exceeding 600 are as follows: United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Djibouti, Turkey, Qatar, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Afghanistan. The sum of billets in this menu of countries is about 34,000, just a tad short of the population of American soldiers and sailors in Germany.

    None of these countries merited a mention in this report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s case studies on blasphemy prosecutions:

    Of those nine countries, the UAE, Qatar, Iraq, and Afghanistan incorporate the Sharia into their law codes

    NB, they don’t necessarily incorporate the Sharia into the penal code (as opposed to estate law or banking law or family law).

  9. “Such blasphemy laws are not confined to Muslim nations, though they are most prevalent among countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and other Muslim countries.”
    True enough but only those pious adherents to the “Religion of Peace” behead violators. Distinction without a difference? False equivalency?

    Anxiously awaiting the time we realize that Islam is incompatible with Western values.

  10. Mr. Turley is unfairly critical of countries who punish or execute those individuals whose speech or actions conflict with the state. The actual tests for whether we should be concerned is whether those countries have military contracts with us or who provide aid to our presidents in their re-elections.

    1. I don’t think he was suggesting invasion. What I heard in the article was an allusion to cancel culture in the West. In Pakistan they kill you for wrongthink. In America they render you unemployable and kill you slowly through economic stangulation

    2. “Mr. Turley is unfairly critical of countries who punish or execute those individuals whose speech or actions conflict with the state. ”

      It sounds like you love authoritarianism. Islam and the West are incompatible. There is no room for freedom of speech in their culture and we should stop them from infiltrating our society.

  11. Pakistan may be giving US Democrats some workaround ideas

    Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death & presiding judge calls for body to be ‘dragged’ and ‘hung’ in public.

    The court announced the death sentence in Islamabad on December 17, 2019 saying Musharraf, currently living in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates, had been found guilty of high treason and subverting the constitution for a state of emergency he imposed in 2007 while president.

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