The BBC’s Asian Network, a ratio station aimed at British citizens of South Asian descent, today asked its viewers what the “right punishment” for blasphemy is, amid news that Pakistan has asked Facebook and Twitter to help it enforce its blasphemy laws.
Britain has a large population of South Asian immigrants, mostly from the Muslim-dominated countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as from India, another country with a large Muslim population.
What is the right punishment for blasphemy?
— BBC Asian Network (@bbcasiannetwork) March 17, 2017
In the segment, BBC reporter Shazia Awan asks informs views of Pakistan’s upcoming crackdown on social media blasphemy.
“Pakistan have asked for the help of Facebook to crack down on blasphemous content on the site. Facebook even agreed to send a team out there to help.”
Awan went on to cite the ruling party of Pakistan’s official Twitter page, which calls blasphemy an “unpardonable offence.”
“Do you agree with this?” Awan asks viewers. “Is this the right way to handle blasphemy? Or do you think that freedom of speech should trump all else?”
Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam or Mohammed can be sentenced to death. The country’s interior minister recently confirmed that Pakistani authorities have identified 11 people for questioning over alleged blasphemy, and will seek the extradition of any suspects living overseas.
Attitudes towards blasphemy amongst Britain’s Muslim population are highly regressive. A poll commissioned by Channel 4 last year found that 20 percent of British Muslims believe that British publications should have no right to publish cartoons of Mohammed.
The same poll also found large percentages of British Muslims favoured the banning of homosexuality (52 percent), the introduction of sharia law (23 percent), and the legalization of polygamy (31 percent). The poll also found that 39 percent of British Muslims believe that women should always obey their husbands, and 35 percent of British Muslims believe that Jews have too much power in the UK.
These numbers were all dramatically higher than the general British population, who were polled on the same questions.