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Blasphemy: the medieval madness

Pakistan is up in arms because a Christian woman, Asia Bibi (born Aasiya Noreen), who was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death by hanging in 2010, has had her conviction overturned by the country’s Supreme Court.

Blasphemy is a particularly stupid offence, being the act of insulting something that no-one can establish the existence of. It’s like the world came to a halt in medieval times and still thought witch-burning was a sensible activity.

Saif-ul-Mulook, Bibi’s defence lawyer, has been driven out of the country, in fear of his life; Islamic hardliners have publicly called for the deaths of the Supreme Court judges; the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party, which was founded in 2015, has forced the Pakistan government to agree that the verdict can be appealed; the minister of law has been forced to resign; and Bibi is not allowed to leave Pakistan until the verdict has been reviewed, which could take years. Many of her supporters say she effectively remains under a death sentence.