Sunday 2 February 2020

On tiptoes

Saiful Malook

Radio 4's Sunday featured a fascinating interview with Saiful Malook, the lawyer for Asia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced to death under Pakistan's Sharia-guided blasphemy laws.

He had to flee the country after Muslim fanatics threatened his life too, and had stringing criticism for Pakistan's Islamist-indulging PM Imran Khan and our own government for wriggling out of taking his client in. 

Knowing the story was coming on, I actively listened out to see if the BBC presenter, in typical Sunday fashion, would tiptoe around the religious angle with carefully chosen language, avoiding words like 'Muslim' and 'Islamic' and 'Sharia'. And she did. So much so that she even avoided the word 'Christian'.

This, then, is Emily Buchanan's introduction to the interview: 
Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, has written her autobiography. In it she says, "How could I ever imagine I would become a global symbol of the fight against religious extremism?" After her eventual acquittal she settled in Canada but not before two prominent Pakistani politicians lost their lives defending her. And now her lawyer, Saiful Malook, visiting Wales, has told me about the threats he's received from religious hardliners.


  1. I always get the impression BBC journos and presenters are vying for a medal in the "Not Mentioning" Olympics.

    Some sprint to the line, keeping it all short. But there are the longer distance events, the detailed analyses where the deception has to be sustained for many paras or minutes.

    Some competitors collapse just before the tape, admitting in the penultimate para that it was Islamic terrorism, or someone was wrongly inspired by the Koran or they described themselves as a Jihadist (which is properly a referencen to someone engaged in spiritual struggle) or this is an aspect of Sharia law as practised in "conservative" countries.

    If only, like Emily Buchanan, they could find that extra reserve within, to stay in the zone and plough on regardless, reaching the finishing line with not a single un-PC reference!

  2. Very little said about the wickedness of false accusations made by Islamic fundamentalists. The case being challenged is of illiterate Christian peasants having texted something offensive in English! They've been imprisoned on false evidence since 2014 when the couple had several children aged 1 to 9 who the Court simply ignored. The judges in Pakistan are clearly unable to avoid siding with religious bigots and the likely reason for this case is that someone wants to steal the land of this couple... it's usually about greed, jealousy and plain nastiness that Muslim neighbours know they can inflict of helpless neighbours because the police and Courts are biased and corrupt.

    The BBC said nothing about corruption and lies told by Muslims about Christians - but don't hold back on saying as much about Trump!


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