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Thursday, 10 March 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Pakistan - murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities

  Jaroslav Paška, on behalf of the EFD Group.(SK) Mr President, the provisions of Islamic Sharia law literally state that anyone who offends Islam shall be condemned to death.

I do not know what actions may be considered an insult to Islam in the Islamic world, but cases of murdering defenders of human rights and religious freedoms in Pakistan, as well as in other Islamic countries, show us that some Islamic spiritual leaders regard our civilised values, which give people a broad freedom to decide, as a threat to their faith and do not hesitate to declare, in accordance with their law, a fatwa against anyone who openly promotes adherence to human rights and civic freedoms in their territory.

Shahbaz Bhatti, a minister in the Pakistani Government, Salman Taseer, Governor of the Province of Punjab, or Sabir Jamaldini, Coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, have become for us innocent victims of the fanatical application of Islamic law. The example of these victims is supposed to terrorise not only the Pakistani people from seeking greater freedom, but also the politicians running the country from reforming the political system, so that they will continue to respect a set of rules harking back to medieval times.

However, if we do not want to bring the reformist politicians in Islamic countries into conflict with their religious authorities, we should, in my opinion, strive to find a platform for constructive dialogue with Islamic spiritual leaders regarding the peaceful coexistence of civilisations …

(The President cut off the speaker)

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