Friday, 01 February 2013 09:54
A response to Henk Vroom by Professor Oddbjørn Leirvik, University of Oslo
by Nasir Khan
I read with great interest your response to Henk Vroom in ‘Blasphemy, Offence, and Hate Speech’. The historical evolution of blasphemy laws in Norway and Pakistan you present clarifies many points in a scholarly way. (I have been aware of your serious approach to inter-religious discussions and understanding for a number of years, an admirable trait of your outlook and activity that makes a constructive contribution to the notion of peaceful coexistence and social cohesion.) The historical evolution and legislative enactments on blasphemy in the two countries have also a geopolitical and cultural context and the differences we see are enormous. Norway has been a democratic state in the modern times where the state religion did not have an open field but has operated within the confines of the state regulations. But Pakistan had a difficult political history since its inception and the people of Pakistan have been less fortunate because the political and power culture that developed in Pakistan had no substantial democratic traditions or the whole thing in the hands of our rulers after Mr. Jinnah’s death was a tug of war for personal power and prestige.