RELIGION AND LAW
The issue of law and religion is complex and has brought a lot of controversy since different people have different beliefs and values. The CNN News article titled “Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws” was published online on October 1, 2012 by author Rezah Saya. The article highlights a number of cases in which convictions are based on Islamic religious values. The punishment granted to the victims is not equivalent to the crimes committed. Therefore, there is a need to change these laws. This article is about the interrelationship between law and religion. The dominance of religion in legal issues leads to a weak justice system and exploitation.
Religion and Law
In Pakistan, the Blasphemy laws have granted severe punishment to offenders. The crimes committed do not match the punishment granted. For instance, the case of the fourteen year old teenage girl who was accused of blasphemy is unfair (Sayah 2). The law has been exploited to serve the conservative Muslims and persecute the minorities. This has resulted in an ineffective justice system (Sayah 13-14). The blasphemy cases are steadily increasing. This is an indication that many people have been affected by this unfair justice system. There is a probability that many individuals may be facing unfair justice in the future. This calls for an international intervention to ensure that the law is modified to serve the interests of all the citizens (Sayah 15-16).
Pakistan laws can be compared with the ancient laws, which lacked justice and were established though the human mindset. In the article titled “Code of Hammurabi,” author Claude Johns discusses on how religion was integrated with law to come up with severe unrealistic punishments for the offenders in ancient Babylon (Johns 3). This comparison implies that the Pakistan law is based on the archaic laws and should be moderated to fit into the modern needs of the society. International concerns have been expressed, but nothing has been done. An example is the case of Asia Bibi who was accused of insulting Islam. Her sentence was put under appeal, and Bibi remains in prison. The laws are oppressive especially to the minorities who cannot fight for their rights. The government is reluctant to modify and adopt laws that are less influenced by religion. The government has further delayed the process resulting in pain and suffering to those accused unfairly (Sayah 16-18).
According to Roman Colosseum, the Roman punishment was also very harsh and unfair. Anyone guilty of treason was punished with death. This involved being stripped stark naked and then whipped to death. This was a cruel and an inhuman form of punishment. Those guilty of killing their fathers were punished brutally by being stripped and beaten. They were then put in a sack that was sewn and thrown into the ocean. Such forms of punishment are too severe when compared to the crimes committed (Roman Colosseum 5-6).
The dominance of religion in the legal aspects leads to a weak justice system and exploitation. Basing the law entirely on religious values leads to exploitation of the justice system and persecution of the minorities. A good justice system should be sensitive to human rights. The traditional mindset was harsh and unfair as evident in ancient Rome and Pakistan. Today, the law should be sensitive to the needs of the society.
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