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Using blasphemy laws to stifle free speech just isn’t cricket, Imran Khan.

A leftist playboy on a Muslim prayer mat is now Prime Minister of Pakistan – look no further for a portrait in incongruity. The world-class cricketer and Pakistan’s most successful captain playing the quintessentially gentlemanly sport is now a poster boy for Pakistan’s barbaric laws of blasphemy – search no further for a striking study in cognitive dissonance.

Oxford-educated Imran Khan, dressed in a mink coat and Mao cap, is equally fluent in the double-speak of radical Islam to his in-house audience and moderate Islam as a mode of public relations discourse. Since his time at Oxford University, Khan also learned to speak the progressive tongue of the social justice warrior tribes.

Khan’s carefully cultivated and calibrated image of incongruity is directed at reinforcing and expanding Islamic hegemony over the West. In the last few days, while the Western politicians were fast asleep like Rip van Winkle and the media were dancing like witches around John McCain’s coffin, Khan nuked free speech in Europe and at the United Nations. And nobody said a mumblin’ word.

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In June, Geert Wilders, Dutch Member of Parliament, invited artists to submit cartoons of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. He offered a prize of £7,700 ($10,000) for the winner. The competition was due to be held in November. Wilders received over 200 entries.

Pakistan, the powder keg of Asia, erupted with outrage. Tehreek-e-Labbaik, the main political party organizing the protests, called for jihad against the West. Its leader, Khadim Rizvi, had earlier said he would order a nuclear strike against the Netherlands (if he came to power in the elections) were the cartoon contest to go ahead.

The elections went ahead. Imran Khan was elected prime minister. The useful idiots walking European corridors of power all thought that Imran Khan was “our man” because he was a Western-educated “moderate Muslim” who was three times divorced and married to a sex bomb like Jemima Goldsmith.

Instead, Khan turned the volume of Islamic fundamentalism to a full fortissimo and resoundingly affirmed that he’d defend Pakistan’s blasphemy laws to the hilt if his party won the elections. Last week, Pakistan’s senate passed a resolution condemning the competition and Khan turned his firepower on the West vowing to take the matter to the UN General Assembly later this month.

Khan is asking Islamic countries to create laws against blasphemy similar to those against Holocaust denial in European countries. He said:

“Our government will raise the matter in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and ask the Muslim countries to come up with a collective policy that could then be brought up at international forums.”

Another Pakistani cricketer, Khalid Latif, has joined Khan’s chorus of “death to free speech” and “death to the West”. Latif, who was banned from cricket for five years for his role in match fixing during Pakistan Super League 2017, has placed a three million rupees bounty on the head of Geert Wilders.

To top it all, Pakistani pop star Rabi Pirzada, who dresses like a Westerner in modern clothing and pretends to be a “moderate Muslim” has used her verified Twitter account to call for cartoonists who draw the Prophet Mohammed to be “hanged immediately”. This prima donna in Pakistan’s opera buffa claims that drawing Islam’s founder is “the worst act of terrorism”.

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Pirzada’s tweets are a compendium of contradictions. She parrots the mantra of “Islam is peace” and tweets, “We never did never will do such a barbaric act ever (sic). In islam (sic) we are not allowed to kill innocent people, women or children”.

But it’s fine to bump off Wilders because he isn’t innocent. “But that doesn't mean we can let any dog bark on our Prophet…” is how Pirzada justifies killing blasphemers.

Geert Wilders canceled the cartoon contest “to avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence”. While Wilders has stuck out his neck for free speech and continues to do so, what is staggering beyond belief is the pusillanimous acquiescence of the West to the fatwas of religious fanatics in a backward nation stuck in seventh century Arabia.

Instead of the civilized West civilizing Pakistan, backward and barbaric Pakistani hotheads led by a turncoat Prime Minister are de-civilizing the freedom-loving Western world. Islam sentences apostates to death. But apostates are Muslims, to begin with. With blasphemy, Islam sentences even non-Muslims to death, thus declaring its rule over everyone who is not a Muslim.

This is an outrage against the most basic tenets of liberty and justice and free speech. By not standing up to Imran Khan and his bloodthirsty hate mongers and by acquiescing to Islam’s blasphemy laws, we in the West are submitting to the religion of Islam and to the rulings of its four schools—all of which prescribe the death penalty for blasphemy.

If only we could look in the mirror, we will see an even more striking study in incongruity—our cowardly, spineless selves. By and large, we in Western Europe have rejected religion—i.e. Christianity, the religion of our heritage and culture. Paradoxically, we have capitulated to the authority of another religion “Islam”—which does not mean “peace” but “submission”.

Khan’s strategy is perilously clear for all who have eyes to see. And it just isn’t cricket, it just isn’t fair, it’s just isn’t sportsmanlike. Our response is pathetically obvious for Pakistan and the rest of the Islamic world to see.

Silent submission.

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Jules Gomes

by Jules Gomes

The Rev’d Dr Jules Gomes, BA, BD, MTh, PhD (Cantab) is a journalist and academic.

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