LISTEN — Caller Tells BBC On Air: ‘Those Who Insult Islam Should be Killed’


A self-identified Birmingham Muslim has told the BBC that those who “insult Islam” should be subject to the death penalty, during a discussion on blasphemy organised by the broadcaster’s Asian Network. On March 17th, the BBC Asian Network broadcast a programme asking listeners, “What is the right punishment for blasphemy?” Presenter Shazia Awan framed the discussion in the context of Pakistan cracking down on blasphemy on Facebook, with the social media giant’s willing assistance. The Islamic Republic still puts blasphemers to death, and many others accused of the so-called crime, including members of the small Christian minority, are murdered by angry mobs, or even state officials such as police and prison guards. Awan takes a particularly striking call from a caller from Birmingham named Wajid Ali, who begins with a warm greeting to “the BBC listeners”. “Than you for joining us; such a warm friendly hello from you!” says Awan, before asking him his views on “the right punishment for blasphemy”. “Islamically,” replies Wajid, “if somebody insults Islam, that is a capital punishment [offence].” “But Wajid, do you think that there is just an argument for freedom of speech? Should people just be able to say and write what they want?

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