Archive for the ‘Blasphemy laws’ category

New Blasphemy Laws for Canada?

June 15, 2017

New Blasphemy Laws for Canada? Clarion ProjectShabnam Assadollahi, June 15, 2017

Wikimedia Commons/Carlos Latuff)

Criticizing Islam in Canada should not be illegal or disliking it should not be classified as a phobia. A “phobia” is a type of mental disorder. Isn’t the “Islamophobia” motion, which was unanimously passed by the Canadian government and calls for limiting the rights of Canadians to criticize Islam, contrary to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms? What is the purpose of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms then?

The definition of Islamophobia from a Google search is “dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.” What exactly has the Parliament of Canada made a motion against? Criticism of Islam? Criticism of Mohammed? Criticism and condemnation of the Islamic State and all Islamic terrorist groups affiliated with radical Islamic ideology? Petitioning against those Canadians who condemn Sharia law? If Canadians criticize Islam or convert from Islam, will they now be considered “Islamophobes” by Canada?

What’s next? Sending Iran and Hamas type morality police to the doorsteps of Canadians critical of Islam, while radical imams in the country continue to spew openly hateful and radical ideas in schools and mosques? What about Canadians who are suspicious of others plotting possible terrorist activities – will they be afraid to report it to authorities in case they are wrong?

The motion (M-103) which the Canadian government recently passed was initiated on June 8, 2016, by Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum. It condemns Islamophobia in “all” forms.

The details of the motion, which was sponsored by a member of parliament from the Liberal party, are extremely sketchy to say the least. The motion states:

“We, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to join us in recognizing that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam, and in condemning all forms of Islamophobia.”

It seems that many Western politicians, the mainstream media and our intellectual elites use the term “Islamophobia” without even knowing what is in Islam. There might be a lot of things about which one could be rationally “phobic,” or simply fearful of, in Islam.

For example, political Islam is known to be an ideology that produces Islamist terrorists. Islamic Republic of Iran is a prime example of it.

Since Trudeau Liberals came to power, Canadians have been constantly reminded that to speak negatively about Islam is supposedly acting as a fear-mongering, racist, xenophobic, “Islamophobe.”

Yet, many people are rightfully afraid of harm coming to them from Islamic (sharia law) and radical or political Islam. I am a living example of one who has experienced harm from radical Islam.

I was imprisoned at age 16 by the Iranian regime for simply expressing my disagreement with their policies (which now might be viewed as Islamophobic in Canada). They held me prisoner for 18 months in their notorious Evin Prison; I miraculously escaped the murder and rape I heard about every day in that dark place.

Read Shabnam Asadollahi’s story here

The memories of my imprisonment still haunt me. And the regime’s threats still follow me today in Canada. Therefore, I have a reasonable fear of radical Islam. To call my fear a phobia, an irrational fear, lacks compassion and fails to recognize the true reality of the present danger living close to me once again.

It was reported that the highest commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards recently said they would soon kill all dissidents living abroad. That means I am on their hit list.

People are jittery about radical Islam and sharia law for many justifiable reasons: They look at how shariais practiced in Saudi Arabia, Iran, by the Islamic State and Nigeria’s Boko Haram.

The Islamic Cairo Declaration of 1990, written as a direct refutation to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states that all human rights are defined under Islamic sharia law. Therefore, beheading, stoning, flogging, slavery, child marriage, wife-beating, amputations and a woman’s worth considered half of a man’s are all human rights.

Is that what we want for or in Canada? Or in any country?

To those of us who have experienced Islamic Sharia law first-hand, protecting Western values – free speech, common law, equal justice under the law, democratic (“man-made”) governance; individual freedoms, separation of church and state, an independent judiciary, to name just a few – is indeed a cause for concern. Every single one of them is contradicted by Islamic Sharia law or radical Islam.

Why should it be against the law to outspokenly disagree with aspects of a different political ideology, religion or culture? Especially if it outspokenly threatens one’s own?

It is interesting to note that there are no comparable terms for other religions, such as Christianophobia or Judeophobia that define a dislike or prejudice against Christianity, Judaism or the Judeo-Christian worldview.

What is true is that Christians and Jews would never be allowed to call for a similar motion in any Middle Eastern country in the world.

While M-103 has been stirring in our halls of government, there is also another trend sweeping through these same halls to rid the Canadian Charter of obsolete, unconstitutional or redundant laws, thanks to other Liberal MPs.

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, the liberals unveiled Bill C-51 that would clean up the Canadian Criminal Code. This Bill would remove the outdated blasphemy law that has existed in Canada since 1892. Government feels this would clean up old law that isn’t consistent with freedom of speech and religion in Canada.

Strangely, C-51 and M-103 seem to contradict one another. While M-103 condemns Islamophobia in all forms, including speaking against Islam, C-51 is loosening law to allow anyone to freely express themselves concerning anyone’s religion without fear of reprisal or imprisonment. Will C-51 only apply to every religion except Islam?

“Intolerance of Intolerance” is the de-facto blasphemy law of the secular state. Is the Government of Canada scrapping one blasphemy law, only to replace it with another?

A complete version of this article appeared on Mackenzie Institute.

The Great Price of “Blaspheming” against Muhammad

May 15, 2017

The Great Price of “Blaspheming” against Muhammad, Gatestone InstituteRaymond Ibrahim, May 14, 2017

Because the word of a Christian “infidel” is not valid against the word of a Muslim, accusations of blasphemy, often with little or no evidence, routinely lead to the beating, imprisonment, and possible killing of Christians and other minorities every month in Pakistan.

“The available evidence in all these cases suggests that charges were brought as a measure to intimidate and punish members of minority religious communities… hostility towards religious minority groups appeared in many cases to be compounded by personal enmity, professional or economic rivalry or a desire to gain political advantage.” — Amnesty International.

“Iran sentences a 21-year-old man to death for ‘insulting Islam’ … after confessing when police promised he would be pardoned if he came clean.” — Daily Mail.

A few days ago in Pakistan, a Christian pastor who has been “tortured every day in prison” since 2012 when he was first incarcerated, was sentenced to life in prison. Zafar Bhatti, 51, is accused of sending “blasphemous” text messages from his mobile phone; but human rights activists contend that the charge “was fabricated to remove him from his role as a Pastor.” His wife, Nawab Bibi, says:

“Many Muslim people hated how quickly his church was growing; they have taken this action to undermine his work. Yet despite their actions the church grows. I wish our persecutors would see that Christians are not evil creatures. We are human beings created by God the same God that created them although they do not know this yet.”

She adds, “There have been numerous attempts to kill my husband — he is bullied everyday and he is not safe from inmates and prison staff alike.” In 2014, he “narrowly escaped assassination after a rogue prison officer,” Muhammad Yousaf, went on a shooting spree “to kill all inmates accused of blasphemy against Islam.”

Bhatti is one of countless Christian minorities to suffer under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which has helped make that country the fourth-worst nation in the world in which to be Christian.

Asia Bibi, a Christian wife and mother, has been on death row since 2010 on the accusation that she insulted the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to Section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code:

“Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Because the word of a Christian “infidel” is not valid against the word of a Muslim, accusations of blasphemy, often with little or no evidence, routinely lead to the beating, imprisonment or killing of Christians and other minorities every month in Pakistan.[1] An Amnesty International report from 1994 summarizes the situation:

Several dozen people have been charged with blasphemy in Pakistan over the last few years; in all the cases known to Amnesty International, the charges of blasphemy appear to have been arbitrarily brought, founded solely on the individuals’ minority religious beliefs… The available evidence in all these cases suggests that charges were brought as a measure to intimidate and punish members of minority religious communities… hostility towards religious minority groups appeared in many cases to be compounded by personal enmity, professional or economic rivalry or a desire to gain political advantage. As a consequence, Amnesty International has concluded that most of the individuals now facing charges of blasphemy, or convicted on such charges, are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for their real or imputed religious beliefs in violation of their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Other Christians accused of blasphemy never get the chance for even a mock trial and are dealt “justice” at the hands of angry mobs — such as the young Christian couple burned alive on a spurious accusation of blasphemy in November 2014. A report from 2012 found that “Since 1990 alone, fifty-two people have been extra-judicially murdered on charges of blasphemy” in Pakistan.

Last month, three burqa-wearing sisters shot and killed a man accused of committing blasphemy in 2004. “[W]e couldn’t kill him at the time because we were too young then,” they explained.

Also last month, a 23-year-old college student “was killed and another seriously injured by a vigilante mob for allegedly ‘publishing blasphemous content online.'” The incident occurred on campus; the mob was yelling “Allahu Akbar” throughout.

Although Islam’s blasphemy law is most associated with Pakistan, several other Muslim nations use it to persecute Christians and other minorities. Days ago, around the same time Bhatti was being sentenced to life in Pakistan, in Indonesia, Ahok, the Christian governor of Jakarta, was sentenced to two years in prison on the charge of insulting Islam and desecrating the Koran.[2] Similarly, on March 30, a report appeared saying, “Iran sentences a 21-year-old man to death for ‘insulting Islam’ … after confessing when police promised he would be pardoned if he came clean.”

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – MAY 09: Members of various hardline Muslim groups celebrate after Jakarta’s Governor was convicted of committing blasphemy on May 9, 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Hardline Muslim groups gathered outside Jakarta’s court during the trial of Governor Basuki Tjahaja Pernama known widely as “Ahok”, who was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday after being found guilty of blasphemy as the trial continues to threaten social harmony in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. (Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images)

Earlier this year in Algeria, Samir Chamek, a 34-year-old Christian man, was sentenced to a year in prison after a court found him “guilty of insulting Islam and its prophet over items he posted on his Facebook page.” They were described as “accusing the prophet Muhammad of terrorism and murder and comparing the prophet to Hitler, mentioning the persecution and massacre of the Jews.” Also in Algeria, last August, a Muslim convert to Christianity was sentenced to the maximum five years in prison for saying that the light of Jesus will outshine Islam and its prophet Muhammad on social media, which the court ruled as “blasphemous.”

In October, in Ethiopia, four Christian girls — aged 18, 15, 14, and 14 — handed out a booklet entitled, “Let’s speak the truth in love.” Because it challenged Islamic accusations against Christianity, local Muslims deemed the book blasphemous and rioted. They attacked a church and assaulted Christians. The girls were arrested and, after a brief court hearing on November 15, sentenced to a month in prison.

As in Pakistan, Muslims mobs and “vigilantes” often take “the law” into their own hands. In March, in India, a Muslim-turned-atheist “was hacked to death by a four-member gang” of Muslims. Last September, a Christian writer and activist was murdered outside of a courthouse in Jordan. The 56-year-old man was earlier arrested for sharing a “blasphemous” cartoon about the Islamic prophet Muhammad. As he was walking into court to stand trial for “contempt of religion” and “inciting sectarian strife,” a man dressed in traditional Muslim garb shot him to death.

Last August, in Nigeria, after two university students got into an argument, the Muslim student accused the Christian student of insulting Muhammad. Soon a mob of Muslims assembled and said the Christian must die. Then they savagely beat and nearly killed him. The following day, mobs of Muslims rioted and vandalized Christian campuses and churches.

Such nonstop accusations, incarcerations, murders, torture and death penalties meted out to non-Muslims on the mere accusation of “blasphemy” — at the hands of mobs, vigilantes, and court judges — call into question any claims of tolerance, modernity or pluralism in many Muslim-majority nations.

Raymond Ibrahim is the author ofCrucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians(published by Regnery with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).

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[1] At least one but often more blasphemy-related cases appear practically every month in Pakistan and are documented in the monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” reports. The following are incidents that occurred in the last report, January 2017:

  • An evangelical Christian was arrested on charges of blasphemy and faces the death penalty. According to a complaint by a Muslim, Haji Nadeem, Shahbaz Babu desecrated the Koran by writing his name on some pages, tearing them up and then scattering them on the street in front of a mosque. Although the Muslim admits he did not see the accused in the act, Babu—whom rights activists say is “completely illiterate”—was nonetheless arrested. In a nation where the mere accusation that an infidel insulted Islam could get the non-Muslim killed by the mob, executed by the state or simply imprisoned, Babu’s defenders wonder at the notion that he “is supposed to have desecrated the Qurʾān in secret, but then left the evidence for everyone to see.” Others say that he was disliked by the mosque because several members had stopped attending it and listening to the evangelist who is popular in his region.
  • An imam in Lambanwali accused an elderly Christian of writing and sending to him a series of “derogatory letters” in which he defamed Islamic prophet Muhammad. Once the blasphemy accusation was made, police promptly stormed the Christian’s home in the night and arrested his entire family. Although the man denies the accusation—correctly pointing out that only a suicide would do what he is accused of doing in Pakistan—he “is likely to face an imprisonment of 10 years while there are assumptions that Section 295-C might be invoked in order to aggravate the punishment to death penalty,” said the report.
  • A blasphemy case was registered against Shaan Taseer—son of Salman Taseer, a human rights activist and defender of persecuted Christians who was assassinated by Muslims—for saying “Merry Christmas.”
  • Five Christian rights activists were known for their public opposition to the country’s blasphemy laws all went missing within the same week.

[2] The blasphemy controversy erupted when a video appeared online of Ahok saying that many Muslims misunderstand Koran 5:51 — which commands Muslims not to befriend Jews and Christians. That a Christian would dare try to distort the Koran’s call for hostility against Christians and Jews in order to boost his chances at reelection was deemed blasphemous enough to prompt mass riots and calls for his death in Indonesia.

Muslim countries to press at UN for “legal options” against “blasphemy” on social media

March 27, 2017

Muslim countries to press at UN for “legal options” against “blasphemy” on social media, Jihad Watch

“He said that sections of the Western world must get out of double standards about Islam and the Muslims. On the one hand, they have laws against any kind of distortion or disrespect towards any religion…”

They do?

“The meeting decided that after response is received from the governments of Islamic countries, the matter would be taken up at the level of United Nations besides looking into legal options available to follow up the matter legally in the courts of the respective countries from where such content was being generated.”

This is just cleanup at this point. Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are already moving energetically against speech that violate Sharia blasphemy laws. The establishment media in the West is cowed and compromised, eager to appease and not interested in defending the freedom of speech. Their efforts at the UN will meet with little, if any, pushback.

“Muslim countries to raise online sacrilege at UN,” by Tariq Butt, Gulf Today, March 26, 2017:

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of ambassadors of the Islamic countries with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the chair has decided to raise the issue of blasphemous content on social media in the United Nations.

The meeting was convened by the interior minister on one-point agenda i.e. to discuss the blasphemous content on the social media and how to effectively raise voice of the entire Muslim world against the madness unleashed against Islam and holy personalities in the name of freedom of expression.

There was unanimity among the participants that the entire Muslim Ummah is united to protect the sanctity and dignity of the religion and Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

It was decided that a comprehensive strategy paper encompassing all legal and technical aspects would be circulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs among the ambassadors of the Muslim countries which they would be sharing with their governments to evolve the future plan of action.

FORMAL REFERENCE

It was also decided that a formal reference would be sent to Secretary General of the Arab League (AL) and Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), raising the issue of blasphemous content on social media and how such a tendency had been hurting the sentiments of the Muslims across the world.

The meeting decided that after response is received from the governments of Islamic countries, the matter would be taken up at the level of United Nations besides looking into legal options available to follow up the matter legally in the courts of the respective countries from where such content was being generated.

The interior minister pointed out that distortion of religious beliefs and sacrilege of holy personalities of any religion is intolerable. He said that no law permits showing disrespect or distortion of any religion.

BIGGEST VICTIMS

He said it was unfortunate that the Muslims, being the biggest victims of terrorism, were being portrayed as the perpetrators. He said the Islamic Ummah must strive together to impress upon the international community to shed off Islamophobia. The minister said that distortion of any religion is also another form of terrorism that the international community must acknowledge.

He said that sections of the Western world must get out of double standards about Islam and the Muslims. On the one hand, they have laws against any kind of distortion or disrespect towards any religion and, on the other hand, the most revered personalities of Islam are being ridiculed….

The ambassadors and envoys present the meeting represented UAE, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Qatar, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Palestine, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Maldives and Brunei Darus Salam.

How Pakistani Law Enshrines Extremism and Weakens Counter-Terror Efforts

February 24, 2017

How Pakistani Law Enshrines Extremism and Weakens Counter-Terror Efforts, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Ammar Anwer, February 24, 2017

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Pakistani extremists have killed nearly 50,000 people since 9/11. But government ineffectiveness has stymied efforts to contain terrorist violence. The government and military often are not on the same page, or have chosen a narrow and selective approach towards extremism, fighting one outfit and at the same time supporting the other.

For instance, former President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that Pakistan cultivated and possessed a soft spot for the Afghan Taliban. In addition, Pakistan has failed to take a firm stand against Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a radical outfit famous for its hateful rhetoric against India. The U.S. designated the organization as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2001, and the United Nations designated it as a terrorist outfit in 2005.

Lately, signs of hope have started to emerge. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief of Staff General Raheel Sharif seem to agree about extremism and also seem to lack the selective approach that their predecessors had often adopted. As evidence, more than 250 people have been arrested for propagating hate speech, and a ban has been imposed on loudspeakers, which were often used to promote sectarian violence.

In addition, Pakistan launched a host of military operations against militants, including 2014’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which targeted militant groups including the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Haqqani Network. As a result, most of North Waziristan is now controlled by the military.

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2015, complied by the international research group the Institute for Economics and Peace, analyzes the impact of terrorism on the global community. The report conceded success of Zarb-e-Azb and stated, “Pakistan was the only country in the ten most impacted countries that saw a decline in deaths” but still ranked third in the world.

Pakistan still has a long way to go to eradicate Islamist extremism.

Pakistani law remains an obstacle to accomplishing this goal. Its constitution paves the way for religious intolerance as the following examples show:

Declaration of Ahmadis as non-Muslims

Discrimination against Ahmadis began shortly after Pakistan’s inception in 1947. In 1953, a series of violent attacks was instigated against the Ahmadiyya community in Lahore. The Lahore riots resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims.

In 1974, due to the strong pressure from fundamentalists, Ahmadis were officially declared non-Muslims in Pakistan. To this day Ahmadis suffer religious discrimination and persecution while the state shows no inclination toward amending the law or eradicating the discrimination.

Ehtaram-e-Ramadan Ordinance

The Ehtaram-e-Ramadan ordinance was passed in 1981 during the tenure of General Zia-Ul-Haq, and is part of the constitution. It prohibits public eating during Ramadan’s fasting hours. It is a blatant violation of religious freedom for non-Muslims and secular Muslims. The ordinance requires that restaurants remain closed during fasting hours. Violations are punishable by up to three months in prison or a fine.

But vigilantes often take this law into their own hands. During the last Ramadan, an elderly Hindu man was badly beaten for eating publicly.

Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy law

Blasphemy is the act of insulting, showing contempt or a lack of reverence for God or that which is considered sacred. The blasphemy laws are now enshrined in section 295 A, B and C of the Penal Code, with their focus to protect Islam.

Pakistan uses this controversial law at a level unparalleled in any other country. The law has had a disproportionate impact on minority communities. Minorities, which comprise just 4 percent of Pakistan’s population, are targeted in more than half of the 702 total blasphemy law cases. The laws routinely are used to target religious minorities like Hindus or Christians for personal or political motives.

This action contradicts Pakistan’s constitution which guarantees the right to profess religion, equality of citizens and protection of minorities.

The law perpetuates an environment of intolerance and discrimination. To guarantee equal treatment and fundamental rights, the blasphemy laws must be eliminated or dramatically changed. Without this improvement, the state will never be able to achieve peace, tolerance and equal human rights.

Conclusion

The facts are before us, though they might be difficult to face. However, as Aldous Huxley said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

We in Pakistan cannot claim that we are fighting a war against extremism if there are extremist tenets within our constitution. Until we change those laws, the fight can never be won.

Maryland Mosque Memorializes Islamist Assassin

February 16, 2017

Maryland Mosque Memorializes Islamist Assassin, Clarion Project, February 16, 2017

pakistan-mumtaz-qadri-supporters-1-aamir-qureshi-afp-getty-640Pakistani supporters of Mumtaz Qadri (Photo: © AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty)

Baltimore-based Imam Ijaz Hussain, stated, “Mumtaz Qadri was not a terrorist and whoever says, “We are with you O Prophet” cannot be a terrorist.”

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A mosque in Maryland held a celebration in honor of an Islamist assassin who killed a governor in Pakistan for speaking about against the country’s heinous blasphemy laws.

As reported by Rabwah Times, the Gulzar E. Madina Mosque in Pikesville, Maryland, hosted an Urs celebration, a traditional commemoration reserved for saints and holy people, for Mumtaz Qadri who killed the governor of Punjab province Salman Taseer in 2011.

Qadri was Taseer’s bodyguard and was incensed that Taseer called for the reform of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws. Taseer had also expressed support for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman framed for blasphemy, arrested and sentenced to death in Pakistan.

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which carry the death penalty, are often used to exact revenge against Pakistan’s mistreated minority populations. Often, just the hint of a blasphemy accusation will spark mob violence resulting in death for the person charged.

After Qadri shot Taseer to death, he was lauded as a national hero.  More than 100,000 people attended his funeral and riots ensued for weeks after he was arrested, tried and hanged for his crime. He is viewed as a saint by a large sector of the population and a shrine is being built in Pakistan to memorialize him.

The Urs event at the Maryland mosque was advertised in the Urdu Times, the largest Urdu newspaper in the U.S. Rabwah Times reported a robust turnout, with participants including young children and teenagers.

The speakers included Syed Saad Ali, an Islamic scholar based in New Jersey, who chastised the crowd, saying:

“Warrior Mumtaz Qadri kissed the noose in love for Prophet Mohammed When Qadri was in jail for five years. What did we do? What effort did we make (for his release? Why did we not go where he was being held? Qadri did everything for us and for the love of Islam and we could not even stand by him? People say Islam teaches peace…..I say Islam teaches us ghairat (honor). Who will now stand up?

Ali also praised another killer, Tanveer Ahmad, a British-Pakistani man who stabbed to death Asad Shah, another British-Pakistani in Scotland. Shah, from the Ahmadi sect, made posts on social media that Ahmad deemed blasphemous.

Speaking about Ahmad, Ali said,

“Our warrior Tanveer, who is sitting in a jail in Scotland, I don’t know if someone knows or not, when that Mirzai (Ahmadi) spoke his ‘sacrilegious rubbish,’ he went there and stabbed him 27 times, and the police arrested him and right now he is in a jail in Scotland. So if we just take a step forward, angels will automatically come for our help. But what Mumtaz Qadri has done is something amazing, he has surpassed all these warriors.”

Another speaker, Baltimore-based Imam Ijaz Hussain, stated, “Mumtaz Qadri was not a terrorist and whoever says, “We are with you O Prophet” cannot be a terrorist.”

Hussain praised the American system of free speech, saying it allowed events such as these to be held:

“We have some freedoms here (in the U.S.) which we do not even have in other Muslim countries. This is the beauty of this country. There are some countries where we can’t even praise the prophet, we can’t celebrate the Day of Imam Hussain. This country has freedom of religion, and this is the beauty of this country.”