TORONTO - The Muslim Canadian Congress has reiterated its demand that the Canadian government consider criminalizing accusations of apostasy and blasphemy often levelled by Islamists against their Muslim critics.
The MCC was reacting to the attack on Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin by Islamist Indian legislators last week. The exiled Bangladeshi writer was physically attacked at a press conference and later accused of being an apostate and thus worthy of death.
Akbar Hussain, a director of the MCC said, "This behaviour is unacceptable. The Indian authorities must exercise tighter control to prevent such mob politics from threatening or causing bodily harm to people who hold divergent views. This is against the principle of freedom of expression which a secular democracy like India must uphold."
The incident took place on August 9th in Hyderabad, India, where two fundamentalist Muslim groups openly declared their intentions to kill Taslima Nasreen. They consider her writings hostile to Islam and Muslims. Officials of the The Majlis-e-Ittehadul- Muslimeen( MIM) and the Majlis Bachaao Tehreek issued statements calling for Taslima Nasrin's murder for insulting Islam. Hussain noted with dismay that Majidullah Khan of the Majlis Bachao Tehreek said "we were all set to kill her" and MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi declared "we are proud of our MLAs and activists who assaulted her" with impunity.
Akbar Hussain, a Bangladeshi-Canadian, further noted "the ferocity with which these threats are uttered is frightening because the underlying sentiment is that people regarded as blasphemers are enemies of God who rightfully deserve to be executed."
He said that "the trend has assumed dangerous proportions even in Canada where Tarek Fatah, Farzana Hassan and other notable members of the Muslim Canadian Congress have received death threats left at the answering machine of the Muslim Canadian Congress." In light of growing Islamic extremism across the world, Canada too must investigate ways of combating fundamentalism and extremism. Declaring accusations of apostasy and blasphemy a crime will be an appropriate amendment to existing hate laws," Hussain said.