A pharmacist threw away the business card a salesman had given him and now faces charges of “blasphemy”—because the salesman’s name happened to be Mohammed. A Christian woman faces the death penalty for insulting the Prophet, after arguing with her neighbors when they called her unclean.
In Pakistan as elsewhere, blasphemy laws have been used to repress religious minorities—in the name of protecting religion.
Two Pakistani officials were assassinated after speaking out against the blasphemy laws. Governor Salmaan Taseer and Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti both supported the Pakistani woman facing the death penalty—and for this support they lost their own lives.
Human Rights First is working at the UN and with governments to repeal versions of these laws, and instead to focus on fighting discrimination and intolerance. Blasphemy laws do not protect religion—freedom of expression does that—rather, they create fear, intolerance and violence.