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Islamists call for Bible ban in Pakistan: The Church of England Newspaper, June 10, 2011 p 6. June 14, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Persecution.
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Bishop Alexander Malik of Lahore

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

An Islamist political party has asked Pakistan’s Supreme Court to ban the Bible under the provisions of that country’s Blasphemy Laws, arguing the Christian Scriptures defame the moral reputation of the Patriarchs and Jesus.

In a May 30 press conference in Lahore, a leader of the Sami ul Haq faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Assembly of Islamic Clergy, or JUI-S) Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi, said certain passages from Genesis, Exodus, I Kings, 2 Samuel, and the Gospel of Matthew were “immoral” and “pornographic.”

These passages “strongly offend Muslims, who hold all prophets and holy books in high esteem as part of religious belief and never even think of committing any blasphemy against them,” Mr. Farooqui said.

The Islamist leader’s objections focused on Genesis 19:33-36, the drunkenness of Lot and his daughters; Genesis 29:23 ff, Laban’s tricking Jacob by exchanging Leah for Rachel on the night of their wedding; Genesis 38:18, Judah and Tamar; Exodus 32:2-6, Aaron’s fashioning of the golden calf at Sinai; I Kings 13:2-29, Jeroboam and the prophets; 2 Samuel 11:2–27, David and Bathsheba; 2 Samuel 13:1–22 the rape of Tamar by Amnon; Matthew 16:23, Jesus’ rebuke of Peter … “Get thee behind me Satan”; and Matthew 26:14–47, the Last Supper.

A member of Pakistan’s senate, Farooqi has been tied to the Taliban by the Pakistani press and is also the chancellor of the Darul Uloom Haqqania, a Deobandi Islamic seminary that has trained a number of Taliban leaders.

The JUI-S’s protestations are not solely prurient, but are tied to the recent flap over the burning of the Koran by Florida pastor Terry Jones.  “Our lawyers are preparing to ask the court to ban the book,” Farooqui said, adding the JUI-S “will not follow in the footsteps of Terry Jones and burn the holy book.”

Church leaders in Pakistan tell The Church of England Newspaper they do not expect the courts to affirm the petition, but worry this latest anti-Christian move is the start of a new round of persecution by fanatics.

The Church of Pakistan’s Bishop of Lahore, the Rt. Rev. Alexander Malik denounced Faqooqui’s petition.  Banning the Bible would violate the religious freedoms guaranteed by Pakistan’s constitution, the bishop said, and would serve only to inflame sectarian tensions.

Christian human rights activist, Bruce Bhatti, told the Minorities Concern of Pakistan, “It is a dangerous move, and this demand is based on hate. It is totally against the human values and will further promote religious intolerance in the country where Christians have been persecuted because of their faith.”

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