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Witch Hunts Over Quran Burnings 'Ruined Pakistan's Reputation for Decades'
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Pakistan officials have arrested a young Christian girl after furious mobs surrounded her house, accusing her of violating the nation's rigid blasphemy laws, which can result in a death penalty.
Professor of religion and Islamic studies, Duke University
Moosa specializes in contemporary Muslim ethics, Islamic law, theology, and current affairs involving the Muslim world.
"The most recent accusation of Quran-burning is just one more disturbing instance of the Christian religious minority in Pakistan being targeted by mobs. This ongoing pattern of witch hunts directed at religious minorities, from which even Muslims are not spared, has ruined Pakistan's reputation for decades.
"More disturbing is the inability of Pakistan's government -- parliament and politicians, the silence of right-thinking Muslim religious leaders and the total paralysis of civil society to provide remedies. Unless Pakistan's sweeping blasphemy laws are revised or abolished these often scurrilous witch hunts will harass people and impede free speech.
"Several politicians who had petitioned for the reform of the blasphemy laws were assassinated in the past three years. Courageous religious leaders who called for the moderation of the laws have gone into self-imposed exile. A thin silver lining beckons in the form of one or two traditional religious leaders who have proposed ways to amend the blasphemy laws, not abolish them, as a first step toward reform. These voices need to be encouraged and supported since they are working in the best interests of all of Pakistan's people."
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