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October 1st, 2012
04:30 PM ET

Explainer: Pakistan's blasphemy laws

By Reza Sayah, CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - It has been more than a month since a teenage Christian girl was charged in Pakistan under the country's blasphemy laws . Her accusers say she burned pages from the Quran, Islam's holy book. Amid twists in her case, including changed statements by witnesses, she is facing life in prison.

On Monday, CNN reported that three witnesses whose testimony could absolve the 14-year-old Rimsha Masih have changed their statements, a potential setback for her. She has denied the charges.

The case has drawn the country's complex laws about blasphemy into the spotlight. Here is a primer on those laws.

What are the major stipulations of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, and what exactly do they prohibit?

Pakistan’s blasphemy law makes it a crime to destroy or damage the Quran or to insult the Prophet Mohammed.

The following are two sections of the law as they appear in Pakistan’s penal code:

Whoever will fully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable for imprisonment for life.

Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

When were Pakistan's blasphemy laws adopted? What fueled them?

 According to the public policy think tank Jinnah Institute, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws originated in British colonial laws drafted in 1860 to protect religious beliefs and customs.

In the 1980s, under the rule of hardline Islamist and military dictator Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the laws were amended to include life imprisonment and the death penalty.

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Zia-ul-Haq accused previous governments of leading the country away from the principles of Islam and openly stated his mission to return Pakistan to a conservative Islamist state. Zia-ul-Haq’s reign is widely viewed as the “Islamization” of Pakistan.

Critics say that soon after the blasphemy law was amended under Zia-ul-Haq, many accusers began misusing the law and exploiting Pakistan’s ineffective justice system to settle personal scores and persecute minorities.

The Jinnah Institute says nine cases of blasphemy were reported in Pakistan between 1929 and 1982. Over the past 15 years, the number of cases has reached into the thousands.

What are the big Pakistani blasphemy cases in recent years that got international attention? How were they resolved?

In November 2010, Christian laborer Asia Bibi was sentenced to death after a fellow worker accused her of insulting Islam. The sentence is under appeal, and Bibi is still in jail.

Months after Bibi’s death sentence, provincial Gov. Salman Taseer and Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti – both moderate Pakistani politicians – were assassinated after public calls to amend the blasphemy laws.

In May 2010, militants attacked two mosques and killed more than 90 worshipers of the Ahmadi sect, minority Muslims often viewed as heretics and blasphemers by hardline Sunnis in Pakistan.

Why have some hardline Islamist groups in Pakistan rejected the call to change the blasphemy law and gone as far as praising the assassination of politicians who pushed for change?

Aasim Sajjad, a political analyst and professor of history at Islamabad's Quaid-i-Azam Univeristy, blames a succession of governments, leaders and institutions that have directly or indirectly either promoted or tolerated a hardline Islamist mindset.

“There are very well-entrenched structures of power that exist in this society,” Sajjad said. “Some of them have to do with how this state and its institutions are set up. Those deeply established structures are part of the answer why this continues to happen.

“What one needs to emphasize is how since its inception, the state has depicted itself as citadel of a particular kind of religious ideology. And what’s well-established is the direction of the state towards a self-proclaimed Islamic state during the late '70s and '80s. I think that was a fundamental turning point," he said.

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“Today, there is a wide cross-section of society that tolerates this, and I think there’s also an environment of fear where they feel that if they do stand up against it, they will be targeted. The primary sentiment is one of ‘keep your head down and don’t get yourself involved, because if you do, then you’re going to be set up to be jailed or killed,' " the professor said.

Is there any chance of meaningful debate or change when it comes to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws?

“I think it’s going to take a visionary political leadership which is willing to be courageous and take a stand to generate popular support,” Sajjad said.

“But my sense is that the mainstream political forces in this country have the same approach as most everyday Pakistanis, which is just put your head down and don’t take up these issues. Until a popular constituency develops, political will won’t be generated. Until a political will is generated, a popular constituency may not be developed.

“It’s like what came first, the chicken or the egg?”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Islamic law • Pakistan • Quran

soundoff (1,048 Responses)
  1. Sports Fan

    I am reminded of the boys in the Dominican Republic who learn to play baseball in their bare feet and using sticks and rocks as bats and balls. The children in Pakistan are similar in that they have no shoes.

    August 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • krm1007 ©™

      but our bums do nothing except throwing rocks on buses or burning tires on streets.

      August 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      @krm1007 ©™

      That reminds me of the rivalry between supporters of the Blue and Green chariot-racing teams in Constantinople that led to 30,000 deaths in the Nika riots of 532. That was wild!

      August 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Follow Up:

      Baseball is different from any other sport, very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out.
      Also: in football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.
      In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you'd ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform, you'd know the reason for this custom.
      Now, I've mentioned football. Baseball & football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.
      I enjoy comparing baseball and football:
      Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.
      Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.
      Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park!
      Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.
      Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
      Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.
      In football you wear a helmet.
      In baseball you wear a cap.
      Football is concerned with downs – what down is it?
      Baseball is concerned with ups – who's up?
      In football you receive a penalty.
      In baseball you make an error.
      In football the specialist comes in to kick.
      In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.
      Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
      Baseball has the sacrifice.
      Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...
      In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.
      Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
      Football has the two minute warning.
      Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end – might have extra innings.
      Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.
      In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
      In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.
      And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:
      In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.
      In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! – I hope I'll be safe at home!

      August 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • krm1007 ©™

      gooooooool goooooooool goooooool gooooooooool goooooooooooool ...

      August 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  2. krm1007 ©™

    Salaam Saab, Salaam Babuji,

    This is Karim from Pakistan. I just woke up and I am thinking of doing something for the country. Any suggestion Sir!

    Are oye Fatima, Gulshan, Nazima, Salma, where you all? Can someone put hot water in bathroom NOW!!. I have four wives and all of them are lazy b|tches. All eating like pigs whole day and doing nothing. (wink wink, Gulshan is my favorite, she is 16 years old, very fresh)

    I hope I find something to do today.

    August 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Keep believing in the lies of the talmud and you will be swimming with satan in hell. I just spilled my potty tray and the cats are drinking it. Start your walk with Jesus and learn His truth if you want to live forever in paradise.

      Amen.

      August 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • krm1007 ©™

      Hello Sir, ask Jesus if it is okay to keep my wives in walk with him HeavenSent Sir! My youngest wife Gulshan is just tuned 16 and she is like my daughtern (wink wink), I don't go anywhere without her. I am also looking for work Sir do you have anything I can do in your Church?

      August 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @krm1007 ©™ / hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Whoever you are using your multiple handles. I come on these blogs to tell of Jesus' truth which he told us in his letter to us, the Bible. I am a hoarder but only trash and feces. Maybe someday you will lose your pride and humble yourself before the true Lord God.

      Amen.

      August 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  3. ME II

    Wow. The Christians got nothin on the Hindu/Muslim thing.

    August 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Damocles

      Won't be too long before they march hand in hand together, leading us toward oblivion.

      August 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You athiests are on these blogs to tell the lies of satan, aka, God's enemy. I have a rash inside my bell-button. the Holy Bible tells us the true truth of God, given to us by his perfect son Jesus Christ.

      Amen.

      August 25, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • krm1007 ©™

      You have a rash inside your bell-button? Sir! Mam! I know good Pakistani doctors in Karchi, my second wife had the similar rashes all over her body, so I know how you feel.

      August 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi HS/Prayer-bot.

      August 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Hell NO. Infidel prayer changes nothing. Muslim Namaz changes everything. Folks you need to do Namaz five times a day.

      August 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @HeavenSense

      I have told you on several occasions, I am not the prayer person. Look back through these blogs for the last years. My cats clean the crumbs from me toes. Buckle up and fly right or burn burn burn.

      Amen.

      August 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  5. realbuckyball

    Islam is a moon-god cult. Why would a moon-god cult advertise itself with a Crescent Moon, in 2012 ?

    August 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      where did you get this? I am a strict Sunni Wahhabi follower and I am not aware of your claim. Prophet Mohammad, PBH, was looking far beyond Moon. He was looking in Universe for Jannat with hoors for his followers. Stop feeding garbage to people.

      August 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @hinduism source of hindufilthyracism

      Lies lies lies. The Holy Bible is God's truth on earth and in heaven. Follow the talmud's teaching and enjoy the snakes in your belly. I thought roaches only came out in the dark but they are on me. All you non-believers will have a home in the eternal flames while I watch from Jesus' side.

      Amen.

      August 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      @HeavenSmell – I am not quite sure if I understand you but hey I have faith in my Allah. He promised to give us 72 virgins. How many virgins are you Christians getting? Just one!!! Who got the good deal you or me? hahahahahahaha

      August 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      You are not even funny making smell jokes and you are laughing in the face of Jesus who loves you. My lady parts are difficult to find so I just use a trash bag. The joke will be on the followers of the talmud when the rapture comes as stated in the truth know as the Bible.

      Amen.

      August 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      @HavenSent are you serious, are you sending curse on me? what happened to your teaching? Hand is the best partner when you don't have someone good. Don't use trash bag.

      August 25, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  6. HeavenSent

    Fake heavensent in full force hijacking my handle because he didn't want me to post truth about the health agencies crying that there is an outbreak, so run, run, run to your nearest doctor to get a shot, costing how much? I still cannot find my lady parts. Which pays for the elections.

    Amen.

    August 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Islamism Is healthy for any other living things, but not for humans since no other living things give a $H|T for 72 hoors in Jannat waiting for them.

      August 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Good Day Father HeavenSent

      I am going through the same problem. I am Pakistani Sunni muslim and some one has hijacked my handler too (being an Allah fearing muslim, I hate to use the "hijack" word, it brings back the bad 911 hijackers memory). I am Wahhabi practicing Sunni muslim and I don't like Hindus, Jews, Christians, Shia muslims, or any living things. But the FAKE "me" does not want me to to post the truth about Wahhabi Islam. So you are not the only victim here on Belief Board. Hope this heals your wounds.

      August 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  7. jp

    read between the lines Mo-Ham-Mad

    August 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  8. jp

    when I look at these people, I can't help but think they are mentally challenged.......was mo-had-mad as stupid?

    August 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  9. jp

    Pakistan......one big pile of poo..with mo-ham-mad under it wrapped in bacon!!

    August 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  10. Naveed

    Stop humiliating us Pakistan... It is becoming more and more shameful for us to call our self Pakistani-Americans.

    August 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Andy

      Surely you're either Pakistani or American? Can you have it both ways?

      August 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Naveed

      Andy, one of the many beautiful things about America is that you are permitted not to give up your heritage! Point here is that the B.S coming out of Pakistan is making that choice very difficult. It is an embarrassment on a daily basics without you having to add to it.

      August 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  11. Reality

    AND ONCE AGAIN:

    THE SAFE AND EASY SOLUTION: (Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..)

    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi--–

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
    be upon him) alone."

    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    August 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  12. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Islamism Is healthy for any other living things, but not for humans since no other living things give a $H|T whether there are 72 hoors in Jannat waiting for them if they die unnatural deaths.

    August 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  13. pat carr

    what kind of modern country has "blasphemy laws". oh that's right Pakistan isn't.

    August 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  14. AcclaimedMan

    Either HOLY or QURAN , but cannot be both like "HOLY QURAN" as it is oxymoron !!!

    And, secondly how can a human cannot resist to oppose a PEDOPHILE like MOHAMMED?

    So, this law is invalid as it is only meant to promote terrorists !!!

    August 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  15. Ram Ram Ram

    India is infested with so many people it reminds one of cattle. On top of that these hindus can't keep themselves out of such medieval and barbaric news and practices. First, $ex trafficking of young girls, then worship of rats, drinking of cow uR#ne and now this and the list goes on. We need to bring Indians into the modern world even though it may take centuries.

    August 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You don't seem to know the difference between a hindu and a muslim.

      August 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  16. India: A Death Trap for Women

    ARE INDIANS UBER TERRORISTS OR WHAT???? Forget the GDP, focus on these murder statistics.
    In India, millions of girls are strangled, slowly starved or simply tossed in the trash. Moreover, in India, at least 1,370 girls are aborted every day. As a comparison, some 250 Indians die every day in road accidents. Terrorists killed about six people, on an average, every day in 2009. In the last two decades of economic progress, 10 million girls have died as such in India.
    SHAME ON INDIA AND ITS BARBARIC AND MEDIEVAL CULTURE !!!
    Indians have killed more human beings (girls particularly) than Al Qaeda and Talibans put together.

    August 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • AcclaimedMan

      But Pakistan is a death trap for ALL its inhabitants !!!

      Have you ever given a thought about it?

      August 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  17. In the tank

    The only growth left in India is the hair between the legs. Value of rupee has tanked, inflation is in the clouds, stock market has crashed, corruption is rampant, hospitals are burning, people are dying in scores, power blackouts have shut the industries down, minorities are coming out on streets to demand independence and societal values have rotted, Microsoft and GE are pulling the plug on call centers...Dell and Delta Airlines have almost packed up and shifted the call centers to Canada. Implosion is in process.

    August 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  18. Hindustani Humor

    LIPSTICK ON A COW: Making India (Hindustan) look pretty

    There is so much one can do to make an ugly country look good.
    But whatever you do in case of India is analogous to spattering some cheap lipstick on a cow.
    Now one may not want to kiss this cow but sure would love some steaks!!
    LMAO!!!

    August 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Reality

      Why a Muslim can never be humorous as long as:

      the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      Some examples:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT

      BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.

      The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

      25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT
      (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

      August 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  19. Abigail White

    INDIA: On a Goat and a Stick:

    The problem with India is that is built on a system of cultural and societal values based on Hinduism which is a cult. Nations built on a cult seldom survive in the long run. You can only take it so far based on symbolisms of a goat and a stick with a skinny little man aka gandhi banging boys at night and spinning wheels during daytime.

    August 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • lweba

      What about a cult under the icons Crescent and Star?

      August 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  20. Bob

    This is why Pakistan is and shall forever remain a backwards, third-world craphole of a country.

    August 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Ghani

      Pakistan is and forever will not be a puppet of USA. If that is defined as craphole...then be it.

      August 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.