Pakistani’s prime minister just made the outrageous statement that Jesus never existed.
In a speech translated by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), Imran Khan said:
“There were prophets of Allah other [than Mohammed], but there is no mention of them in human history. There is negligible mention of them. Moses is mentioned, but there is no mention of Jesus in history. But the entire life of Mohammed, who was Allah’s last prophet, is part of history.”
What makes it outrageous is not only the fact that it’s false, but the context in which it was made: Apparently, Khan believes freedom of speech to insult Christianity is fine. It’s just when it’s the other way around that the freedom is objectionable.
Witness the fact that in the same speech, Khan launched into a diatribe against those who insult Islam and its prophet Mohammed, saying freedom of speech could not be used “as a cover for hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims around the world.”
Continuing his breathtaking hypocrisy, Khan urged, “We want the countries of the world to sign a convention which will be called the International Convention on Preventing the Defamation of Religions [my emphasis].”
Of course Khan is referring to the defamation of Islam — not necessarily “religions,” as evidenced by his remarks about Jesus. As he explained about the convention, “[This] means that freedom of speech cannot be used as a pretext to hurt the world’s 1.25 billion Muslims.”
Khan is well on his way to seeing this convention enacted. The European Court of Human Rights recently set a precedent for this when it ruled that defaming the Islamic prophet Mohammed was prohibited and exceeds the permissible limits of free speech in Europe. (This is in contrast to a ruling by the same court which allowed the insulting of Christianity in 2012.)
Khan cited this ruling, which significantly bolsters his program. “The European Union’s Human Rights Court said for the first time that you cannot hurt somebody’s religion under the pretext of freedom of speech, and especially it said that you cannot blaspheme against Mohammed’s honor,” Khan noted.
So, it should not come as a surprise that Khan consistently upholds Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which are predominantly used to persecute and carry out vendettas against Christians and other minorities in the country.
As reported by Breitbart, Pakistan was placed on a special watch list for “severe violations of religious freedom” less than a year ago. It made the list for “having engaged in or tolerated egregious violations of religious freedom.”
Khan recently made a deal with his country’s Islamist mobs. The mobs have been agitating for the death of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian mother who spent almost a decade in jail (much of that time in solitary confinement) on blasphemy charges and was sentenced to die for her “crimes.”
When Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted her this past October, Khan prevented her from leaving the country (which was basically a death sentence for Bibi) and allowed a petition to be filed against the court’s decision (in exchange for ending the violent protests).
In the same speech as he denied the existence of Jesus, Khan even absolved responsibility for the violence of these mobs, especially in cases where Mohammed is perceived to have been insulted in the West, saying the insults themselves were a ploy to tarnish the name of Islam.
“Every few years, in some Western country, our dear Prophet is blasphemed against and dishonored,” Khan said. “What is the consequence of this? Muslims become angry. We take to the streets in protest…[protesters] break things in our country…It enables the enemies of Muslims to tell people in the West: ‘See, Islam is a big religion that spreads violence.’ They get an opportunity to spread propaganda against Islam.”
It is ironic just last month Khan announced another one of his goals: to present a peaceful image of Islam to the world.
Let us give some advice to the Pakistani prime minister. Stop blaming others for your problems. Peace is fostered in an environment of equal rights for all citizens, including the freedom of speech to say what you think (without violence ensuing from perceived “insults”). It’s a great way to put all issues on the table so they can be debated and talked about.
Ask America, it’s a formula that has worked for more than 200 years.