Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Pakistan’s Islamabad High Court declared this week that those who upload “blasphemous” materials on social media are “terrorists.”
[Siddiqui said] “If government cannot block such blasphemous pages then it should shut down PTA. If we need to close the entire social media on this count then we will do so.”
He gave these remarks while announcing the orders in the case of uploading of blasphemous material on social media Tuesday.
Justice Shaukat Aziz remarked, “I declare all those as terrorists who upload such blasphemous material on social media.”
The Chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority tried to explain to Siddiqui that it’s not possible to filter social media for blasphemy, to which Siddiqui suggested that the chairman should quit and/or the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority should be shut down if they couldn’t not remove blasphemous materials.
Personally, I’m of the view that the best solution to blasphemous speech is more blasphemous speech.
The Catholic Church is apparently a bit unhappy over this sculpture currently being displayed in an Italian museum that depicts a green frog being crucified while it holds a beer mug in one hand and an egg in the other.
The sculpture, Zuerst die Fuess is by the late German sculptor Martin Kippenberger. The Vatican wrote a letter in Pope Benedict’s name supporting efforts by Italian politician Franz Pahl to have the sculpture removed from the state-supported museum where it is being displayed. In portions of the letter released by Pahl, the Vatican complains that the sculpture “wounds the religious sentiments of so many people who see in the cross the symbol of God’s love.”
According to the Associated Press, Kippenberger apparently considered the sculpture “a self-portrait illustrating human angst.” Um, yeah, why else would the frog be holding an egg in one hand?
On the one hand, it is always a bit strange to see people who allegedly have the Supreme Creator of all things brought low by something as ridiculous as a frog on a stick (or whatever the allegedly blasephemous item of the day is).
On the other hand, in Western societies generally the Vatican’s letter writing is about the limit of its power to actually remove the offending item. This was not always the case, and, of course, in many parts of the world a similar item — say portraying Mohammed as a green frog — would likely end up with museum officials in prison or worse.