January 9th, 2015
12:35 AM ET

Blasphemy and the law of fanatics

By Fareed Zakaria

When governments try to curry favor with fanatics, eventually the fanatics take the law into their own hands. In Pakistan, jihadis have killed dozens of people whom they accuse of blasphemy, including a brave politician,Salmaan Taseer, who dared to call the blasphemy law a “black law.”

We should fight the Paris terrorists. But we should also fight the source of the problem. It’s not enough for Muslim leaders to condemn people who kill those they consider as blasphemers if their own governments endorse the idea of punishing blasphemy at the very same time. The U.S. religious freedom commission and the U.N. Human Rights Committee have both declared that blasphemy laws violate universal human rights because they violate freedom of speech and expression. They are correct.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (1,604 Responses)
  1. Philip

    Blasphemy? LMAO

    January 9, 2015 at 1:18 am | Reply
  2. Philip

    Oh shat. Blasphemy is a topic. LMOA. Have fun with this one. Am going to sleep now. LMAO

    January 9, 2015 at 1:20 am | Reply
  3. Philip

    LMAO. Oh shat! ol. I can believe it. Anywa.y. Zzzzzzzz

    January 9, 2015 at 1:24 am | Reply
  4. Philip

    LMAO

    January 9, 2015 at 1:25 am | Reply
  5. Philip

    Zzzzzzz LMAO Zzzzzzzzzz LMAO ZZZZZZZZZ :Lol

    January 9, 2015 at 1:25 am | Reply
  6. Philip

    Blasphemy. Really? LMAO Zzzzzzzz

    January 9, 2015 at 1:26 am | Reply
  7. Philip

    Rally. Zzzzzzzzzzzz

    January 9, 2015 at 1:27 am | Reply
  8. Philip

    Lol. Blasphemy? LMAO. Can't stop laughing. Sorry. Lol. LMAO! My gut hurts now. he he. Omg! Too freaking funny.

    January 9, 2015 at 1:29 am | Reply
  9. Philip

    Laughimy freaking ass off. Blasphemy? Really? LMAO

    January 9, 2015 at 1:31 am | Reply
  10. Philip

    ZZZZZZ zzzz zzzz

    January 9, 2015 at 1:34 am | Reply
  11. Philip

    Zzz!!

    January 9, 2015 at 1:35 am | Reply
  12. Philip

    Holy Sh/t!!! BLASPHEMY!! LMFAO

    January 9, 2015 at 1:37 am | Reply
  13. Philip

    Ohhhh. Need a glass of milk. Blasphemy? At this hour? Oh ad nausia

    January 9, 2015 at 1:40 am | Reply
    • banasy@

      Philip put the whiskey down. You are not drinking milk and acting like a drunk.

      January 9, 2015 at 9:41 am | Reply
      • banasy©

        Poor attempt.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:56 am |
  14. chri§§y

    Lol @ philip...you talk alot in your sleep eh? Lmao

    January 9, 2015 at 3:31 am | Reply
  15. chri§§y

    I do share your amusement but...some countries give out severe punishment for blasphemy! Same as Russia does for"hooliganism"!

    January 9, 2015 at 3:34 am | Reply
    • Philip

      True. Some countries also have severe punishment for shoplifting and driving under the influence of booze or mind altering prescription drugs. Some even have harsh punishments for business fraud and raype.
      Can you name those countries? Because we aren't one of them.

      January 9, 2015 at 7:30 am | Reply
  16. Public Announcement

    Blue Saffron's current an al temperature is 97℉

    January 9, 2015 at 3:38 am | Reply
  17. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    Persons of religion should be reasobly safe from so alled "blasphemy" in the privacy of their own edifice of worship.
    In public, persons who create violence because of their "beliefs" should be shot by policepersons or eliminated by drones.

    January 9, 2015 at 3:45 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Speaking of the police, New Yorkers were very fortunate to have Mayor Bloomberg,
      Now that Bloomberg is gone, and we have de Blasio, New York is unsafe for both police officers and citizens.
      It is possible to live in New York City if one accepts the possibility of being shot dead by a stranger whenever one leaves his home.

      January 9, 2015 at 3:53 am | Reply
      • dazzle

        @JIF, what's going on in the city today makes Ed Koch's day seem like a breeze. As a young college student then my folks would always tell me once you walk around the city your chances of being murdered are magnified. Today that really applies to law enforcement. Be super careful out there.

        January 9, 2015 at 10:39 am |
      • banasy@

        Dazzle you forgot to put Dr. in front of your name.

        January 9, 2015 at 12:16 pm |
  18. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    Any law-abiding citizen of New York City who does not carry a concealed weapon and know how to shoot it is asking for punishment.
    Police officers should watch out for their own safety. May God bless policemen and their families, especially in the Big Apple.

    January 9, 2015 at 4:06 am | Reply
  19. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    Maybe there will be a day when NYC city has another mayor as good as Bloomberg.
    Thank you for coming to us, Mayor Bloomberg.
    You were wonderful.

    January 9, 2015 at 4:10 am | Reply
  20. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    TYPO
    Omit "city" after "NYC."

    January 9, 2015 at 4:13 am | Reply
  21. Philip

    Yeah. Nothing like both parties being armed. How else can a simple robbery become a homicide?

    January 9, 2015 at 7:01 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      A "simple robbery?"
      I don't want it to be "simple" for a thug to come into my home or store and "simply" rob me.
      Contrary to much currently received wisdom, robbery is undesirable as a social norm.
      Even the Robin Hood legend does not cause me to be merry.
      I will stand my ground.
      Forever.

      January 9, 2015 at 7:53 am | Reply
      • Philip

        Simple in that homicides are more complicated than robberies. And the last thing you want is for the average American to be carrying a gun these days. Because the average American is stupid and uses a lot of mind altering pharmacy products that interfere with things like quick thinking.

        January 9, 2015 at 8:13 am |
  22. Blasphemy

    blas·phe·my /ˈblasfəmē/noun the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk. "he was detained on charges of blasphemy" synonyms: profanity, sacrilege, irreligion, irreverence, taking the Lord's name in vain, swearing, curse, cursing, impiety, desecration; archaic execration "the nuns would punish me at least three times a week for my blasphemy"

    January 9, 2015 at 7:14 am | Reply
  23. Strong Arm Robber

    I don't want you. I want your money and your TV. That all changes if you pull a gun on me.

    January 9, 2015 at 7:43 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Remember the book IN COLD BLOOD, or the film?
      The murdered family did not pull a gun on the robbers, but the robbers murdered them anyway.
      Back then, Kansas hanged the simple murderers.
      Now, there are few executions, as it isn't nice. An execution might even hurt the murderer.
      We can't have that!

      January 9, 2015 at 8:01 am | Reply
      • Philip

        I'm talking about real life situations. Not some writer's fantasies.

        January 9, 2015 at 8:36 am |
      • Philip

        One day I found myself with my pregnant wife in a long line of cars at a gas station. As I sat there I observed several big ugly men wearing hoodies going from car to car robbing people. By the time they got to my car I had my wallet and my wife's purse already emptied out for them. And my credit card with my PIN number written down for them. Guess what would have happened had I pulled a gun.

        January 9, 2015 at 8:57 am |
      • banasy©

        Philip, In Cold Blood is non-fiction.

        I am sure Herman Clutter, his wife, and two children wish Truman Capote's account was fictional.

        Alas, they're dead; they were the victims JIF was referring to.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:29 am |
  24. Strong Arm Robber

    Did citizens of Ferguson MO take the law into their own hands when they started looting each others stores and setting each others buildings on fire. Yes, they did. Fanatics!

    January 9, 2015 at 8:00 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      That was a non-violent protest, conducted with a city permit, and it was extremely peaceful.
      History books will record the candles of Ferguson as they do the processions at Fatima and Lourdes.

      January 9, 2015 at 8:10 am | Reply
      • Philip

        Lol. Good one Joey.

        January 9, 2015 at 8:17 am |
  25. Philip

    Strong arm robbery and the law of fanatics. Displayed well in Ferguson MO lately.

    January 9, 2015 at 8:20 am | Reply
  26. Philip

    Thou shall not murder says one of God's over 500 commandments. Keep reading past the first 10 and you will find where Justice requires the killing of raypists and those who cause the deaths of unborn babies.

    January 9, 2015 at 8:23 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      You can also read where God commands an unmarried rape victim be forced to marry her rapist, and the Divine Recipe for an abortion-inducing drink.

      January 9, 2015 at 9:38 am | Reply
      • Philip

        That's beside my point. Go start your own thread why don't you? Stop trashing mine all the time. Thanks. Bye.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:40 am |
      • banasy©

        Um, no; I am answering you, as this is a public forum, and I really do not think reiterating what else God commands is "trashing your thread."

        It isn't beside the point at all. It's a continuation of the point.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:45 am |
    • Philip

      @banasy isn't going to touch *this* one with a ten foot pole. Lmao.

      January 9, 2015 at 9:39 am | Reply
      • banasy©

        I just did; did you not read what I wrote?

        God commands a lot of things, as I just illustrated.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:41 am |
      • Philip

        You ignored the thrust of my comment and tried to sidetrack it is all. Go away you little ankle biter. You are annoying as all get out. Go start your own thread instead of harping on others. Thanks. Bye.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:44 am |
      • Philip

        Btw. There IS NO "Divine Recipe" for abortion pills recorded in the bible. There were, however, pills available from Greek physicians that would cause a baby to be born dead. Only pagans and Jews took them. Christians were banished from the practice of using Greek pharmaceutical products. And still are, they just don't realize it because their priests and preachers keep it secret from them.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:47 am |
      • banasy©

        No, I didn't; I merely added to your post; since you chose to being up God.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:49 am |
      • banasy©

        Divine recipe was tongue in cheek; of course it's not called that.

        It is in there, though.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:55 am |
      • Philip

        Jesus brought up God all the time. Go chew his ass out why don't you. Now shoo! Go away you little barky dog.

        January 9, 2015 at 10:00 am |
      • banasy©

        You're not Jesus; and if you don't want people answering you, do not post. It's a relatively simple concept.

        You're not a very good conversationalist, are you? Because that's all I'm doing; having a conversation.

        Sheesh.

        January 9, 2015 at 10:08 am |
      • Philip

        I never said I was Jesus. Now shoo!

        January 9, 2015 at 10:20 am |
      • banasy©

        You brought up both Jesus and God; why would you get so defensive about something you, yourself brought up?

        Buy a diary.

        January 9, 2015 at 10:32 am |
  27. Philip

    We used to hang a man to death for stealing another man's horse. Now they are put on probation. If Americans keep watering-down their own laws, before long there won't be any laws left.
    For example, Colorado's law making it illegal for a man to cheat on his wife was just last year watered down to allowing it.

    January 9, 2015 at 8:48 am | Reply
    • Philip

      I got two bits says @banasy likes our new watered-down law allowing men to cheat on their wives legally. How much you wanna bet.

      January 9, 2015 at 9:42 am | Reply
      • banasy©

        I don't approve of adultery; I'm aghast that you do.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:53 am |
      • Philip

        again you twist my words. I was referring to laws regarding adultery, not the act of adultery you stupid little ankle biter. Shoo! Go away. Sheesh.

        January 9, 2015 at 9:58 am |
      • banasy©

        You don't approve?

        Then we're on the same page.

        January 9, 2015 at 10:05 am |
      • Philip

        Stop ying stupid. The question is Do YOU approve of new laws making it perfectly legal for a man to cheat on his wife.

        January 9, 2015 at 10:19 am |
      • banasy©

        I neither approve nor disapprove; I could not care less what Colorado does, being as I don't reside there.

        State rights and all.

        January 9, 2015 at 10:36 am |
      • Philip

        Well, you better start caring then. Your president Obama refers to Colorado's new laws as a pattern America should follow. Even our new laws requiring a person fess-up about being addicted to doctor drugs before trying to buy a gun. If you are on meds in Colorado, you ain't gettin' no gun from a fun store. And soon we will be taking guns away from all of our overly-medicated citizens. Here in Colorado, AND nationwide. Drivers licenses and permits to fly as well.

        January 9, 2015 at 10:56 am |
    • Philip

      Why did you bother trashing my thread if you didn't even have an opinion about it? Why? Because you are a little ankle biter doggie. It's what you do. grrrrr bark! bark! all freaking day long.

      January 9, 2015 at 11:15 am | Reply
  28. Philip

    It is stupid to pull a gun on a robber. And is why hardly any bank guards carry guns anymore.

    January 9, 2015 at 9:38 am | Reply
  29. Philip

    Drug use was rampant during the 1st century when men like Jesus and Paul walked the earth. (google it if u don't believe) By then, Greeks had already learned how ancient Egyptian rulers and men of medicine had conspired to drug the people and fool them into thinking pharaoh was a living god, etc. Even birth control pills that killed sperm were available along with pills that caused babies to be born dead. About 700 different drugs were available to Christians during the 1st. century. They did not practice using them. The practice of using mind altering drugs is clearly outlawed in God's word the Holy Bible.

    January 9, 2015 at 9:57 am | Reply
    • Philip

      *side note The story of modern contraceptives

      A few hundred years ago, a German Catholic nun travelled to Egypt on vacation. There she learned of how ancient Egyptians were able to keep women from becoming pregnant. (an ointment derived from crocodile dung) She took the recipe back home to the nunnery where she worked. And where she noticed her little sisters becoming made pregnant by priests and bishops. And started the modern day use of contraceptives.

      January 9, 2015 at 10:15 am | Reply
      • Philip

        Of course modern-day nuns do not have that problem. Today's priests and bishops go after little boys. Hardly ever little girls anymore. How did that happen?

        January 9, 2015 at 10:50 am |
  30. Philip

    That "all seeing eye" on the backs of US One Dollar bills is in fact the eye of Horus the god of Medicine. His official sign was and still is Rx. He has fooled people into becoming avid users of all kinds of Rx pharmacy products. For centuries he has duped doctors into serving him rather than serving health.
    Satan is the great Deceiver. His very name means just that. He is going about drugging all of mankind into becoming fat and happy. Free of pain and remorse. Happy happy joy joy in pursuits of pleasures rather than the True God of the bible.

    January 9, 2015 at 10:05 am | Reply
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