Canada is trying to pass a motion called M-103. If passed, it might translate to mean that anyone found guilty of criticising any aspect of Islam can be prosecuted. Technically it is a toned down version of the clauses 295 to 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code – infamously known as the Blasphemy Law.
But Pakistan alone is not the country having a Blasphemy Law; many countries around the world, including some in Europe, have such a law.
Denmark is now in the news for using the blasphemy law to prosecute a man found guilty of burning the Quran.
Reports say that the 42-year-old man filmed himself committing the act in December 2015. He is accused of posting the on Facebook with the caption: “Yes to freedom – no to Islam. Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns.”
It is the first time in 46 years that someone in Denmark has been charged under the law.
Under Danish blasphemy law as dictated in paragraph 140 of the Danish penal code, the burning of holy books “such as the Bible and the Quran” are a violation of the blasphemy clause.
Denmark is one of the eight European countries where blasphemy is an offence.
We now come back to Canada because this case has sparked a debate on Reddit about the attempt Pakistani-born Liberal MP Iqra Khalid is making.
The M-103 is a motion that practically criminalises Islamophobia.
The motion poses as a defender of religious rights but singles out Islamophobia as the only problem that needs to be addressed. The wordings of the motion have been challenged but Khalid is adamant against changing them.
“Condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” the motion tells the Canadian government.
It is different from Canada’s existing laws that border on blasphemy but gives freedom to those who intend to impose a radical version of Islam within the society. How?
Writing for Toronto Sun, Lorne Gunter poses a few significant questions which the motion does not raise and define.
“For instance, who gets to define ‘Islamophobia?’ Does that mean an irrational fear of all Muslims based on a very real fear of several thousand radicals who truly do want to harm Western democracy? Or does it mean the much broader, politically-correct concept of Islamophobia, namely that anyone questioning whether Islam is a religion of peace is guilty of Islamophobia?”
“If M-103 passes, it will amount to an official policy that no Canadian should utter the words “radical Islam.” Even if the policy is “shouldn’t” rather than “cannot” speak such phrases, it will have the effect of silencing most criticism of Islam – the well-informed criticism as well as the more visceral sort,” he argues.
Indeed the Pakistani-born MP’s ‘liberal’ approach is disguised in a way that allows total freedom to puritanical laws of Islam, most of which are against freedom of women.