One leg up Christianity has over Islam is that most practitioners have long ago abandoned the prosecution of blasphemy laws whereas it’s still a serious crime in many Islamic nations. It doesn’t help when the authorities take a zero-tolerance approach to anything that could possibly be conceived as being blasphemous whether that was the intent or not. Take, for example, the otherwise innocent act of disposing of an unwanted business card:
Naushad Valiyani, a Muslim doctor in the southern city of Hyderabad, was arrested Friday after a complaint was lodged with police alleging his actions had insulted the Prophet Muhammad, said regional police chief Mushtaq Shah.
The case began Friday when Muhammad Faizan, a pharmaceutical company representative, visited Valiyani’s clinic and handed out his business card. He said when the doctor threw the card away, Faizan went to police and filed a complaint that noted his name was the same as the prophet’s.
Shah said police were investigating whether Valiyani should be charged with blasphemy.
How convenient for Mr. Faizan that he just happens to share the name of the prophet and thus can exact retribution against people who piss him off.
Dozens of Pakistanis are sentenced to death each year under the blasphemy law, though most cases are thrown out by higher courts and no executions have been carried out. The law, however, is unlikely to be repealed because the government’s ruling party — largely secular — relies on the support of Islamist groups.
Which is one of the bigger problems with laws like this is that they often are used to settle petty grudges rather than actually defend the honor of some long-dead prophet or mythical deity. Not that the latter is any more acceptable than the former.
They must believe in a pretty weak God if he needs to be defended by his followers from perceived insults against him. You’d think any God worth worshiping would be able to handle that on his own or, even better, be above worrying about it to begin with.