¿Es la blasfemia lenguaje de odio?

NUEVA YORK – El asesinato de Salman Taseer, gobernador de la provincia del Punjab del Pakistán y crítico sin tapujos del extremismo religioso, ha centrado la atención en la draconiana ley antiblasfemia de su país. La ley antiblasfemia, aprobada en su forma actual por la dictadura militar del general Mohammad Zia ul-Haq hace más de tres decenios, impone la pena de muerte obligatoria a quien sea declarado culpable de insultar al islam.

El agente de policía que asesinó a Taseer lo hizo, al parecer, porque el gobernador lanzó recientemente una campaña para derogar la ley. Desde el punto de vista de los extremistas religiosos del Pakistán, que han aplaudido el asesinato, eso en sí constituía ya un acto de blasfemia.

Durante mucho tiempo, las leyes antiblasfemia estuvieron consideradas una desafortunada herencia de las medidas adoptadas en Inglaterra, durante las luchas religiosas de los siglos XVI y XVII, para reprimir las interpretaciones heterodoxas de las Escrituras entre los cristianos. Se propagaron por los países del Asia meridional y en otras partes con el gobierno colonial británico. La severa versión de ella promulgada por el general Zia en el Pakistán fue aprobada como parte de su propósito de utilizar el islam para legitimar su represión de todos los disidentes.

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