Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
In Pakistan, Aneeqa Ateeq, a 26-year-old woman, has been sentenced to be “hanged by her neck till she is dead” over a “blasphemous” WhatsApp status. The death sentence for the woman was apparently brought on by “hand-drawn” cartoons of Mohammed and Aisha.
Mohammed infamously “married” Aisha when she was only six years old. The precise age at which he then raped her is the subject of some debate among Muslim clerics, but is generally localized at an age that would have seen Mohammed serving decades in an American prison.
The Pakistani judicial system, which is based around the brutal codes of Islamic sharia law, refused to specify any more details about the cartoons except that they involved “derogatory, disgraceful, immoral filthy comments/remarks/representations in respect of the sacred name” of Mohammed and Aisha. Or as sacred as an aging serial rapist assaulting a little girl can be.
But pointing that out is the sort of thing that will see you “hanged by the neck” in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s fussiness on the subject of its pedophile prophet is in stark contrast to the Koran and the Hadiths which cheerfully brag about the details of Mohammed’s sexual conquests, whether unwilling or underage. Which other religion had it observed of its prophet that Allah “hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires” when referring specifically to his sexual desires?
Blasphemy cases are as common as mosques and terrorist training camps in Pakistan, but there’s more to this particular case than just Mohammed’s own sexual inappropriateness.
The blasphemy case against Aneeqa, a housewife, was brought by a man who had come to chat with her while they were both playing PUBG: a popular multiplayer shooter that seems to have a particular grip on Pakistan. One report had a Pakistani man opening fire on his family after they complained about his gaming habits while he was dressed in a PUBG outfit.
Reports say that the man was interested in Aneeqa and only filed the blasphemy case after she turned him down. That would not be surprising in Pakistan where blasphemy accusations are often a form of easy payback. And women, whether it’s Christian women like Asia Bibi, or women in general, are often the targets in a modern version of the Salem witch trials.
If anything in Pakistan outside the airport could be described as modern.
Another blasphemy court case against a woman, accused of burning Koranic verses quoted in a book, fell apart after it turned out that the accuser had, according to her lawyer, “tried to touch my clients’ breasts forcibly and accused her of blasphemy when she stopped him.”
Even the Pakistani Supreme Court found that in 60% of the blasphemy cases they overruled, “the complaints were made for political interests or because the complainants and witnesses were interested parties with personal rivalries against the accused persons.”
Last year, Aziz-ur-Rehman, an Islamic cleric who led anti-blasphemy rallies over Mohammed cartoons, was charged with sexually abusing his own students. The cleric who hated blasphemy so much traded grades for sex and was caught on cell phone videos “sodomizing” a student.
Blasphemy came full circle when Mufti Ismail Toru, a “global Islamic scholar and motivational speaker” and a supporter of Rehman, was arrested on charges of blasphemy for defending the clerical rapist, after claiming that similar events had happened in Mohammed’s time.
That’s clearly not true because there were no cell phones in Mohammed’s time, but considering that Islamic teachings document the sexual crimes of Mohammed, that’s hard to argue with.
Aneeqa has been sentenced to pay a fine of several thousand dollars, serve 20 years in prison, and be hanged by the neck until she is dead. Her Islamic accuser, who was allegedly attempting to commit adultery, will walk away a hero for denouncing her to the authorities.
The court case listed 36 pages of evidence that included computers, smartphones, and memory cards. Her only possible defense, pleading insanity, did not succeed. Arguing the underlying hypocrisy of the system would only worsen the situation and might get her lawyer killed.
But those underlying contradictions are at the heart of Muslim rage over Mohammed cartoons.
Muslims insist that Mohammed is too holy to be depicted and yet studiously recite teachings which graphically depict his sex life. No cartoon of Mohammed, no matter how obscene, has ever depicted him doing anything worse than the Koran and the Hadiths already admit to.
The war on Mohammed cartoons has little to do with any supposed Islamic teachings which were meant to suppress idolatry, but a furious response to the hypocrisy within Islam.
And even the blasphemy persecutions don’t originate from mere religious fanaticism, but from the filthier motives that were front and center in these two recent Pakistani blasphemy cases. The most charitable interpretation for why men who preyed on women then accused them of blasphemy is that they were projecting the malformed state of their souls onto their victims.
Much as Mohammed was able to transform his lusts into scripture by inventing commands from Allah that permitted him to marry his son’s wife, to marry more than four wives, and to flout his own teachings on marriage, never mind his frequent rapes and use of sex slaves, abusive men in Pakistan can easily transform their crimes into virtues with accusations of blasphemy.
The irony of a Muslim man trying to commit adultery and then accusing his intended target of blasphemy for cartoons criticising the sexual misconduct of Mohammed is its own poetry.
Just as Muslim mobs and terrorist groups reacting with mayhem and murder to cartoons depicting Mohammed as violent prove the underlying point about not only Islam’s prophet, but how his teachings live on today, the fusion of sex and blasphemy demonstrates the same thing.
It isn’t a supposed ban on depicting Mohammed that occasions cartoon violence, but a reaction to the contradiction between who Mohammed claimed to be and who he really was, between what Islam claims to be and what it really is, and who its followers claim to be and who they are.