An Islamic group in Pakistan has denounced the Bible as “blasphemous,” and is calling for the Supreme Court of Pakistan to ban the book from the country.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, or Assembly of Islamic Clergy, claims that numerous passages were inserted in the Bible that “undermine the sanctity of the holy figures,” and depict Islamic prophets as being guilty of “moral crimes.” The group’s leader cited scriptures, which include text from the books of Genesis, Exodus, and Matthew, that allegedly contain insertions that strongly offend Muslims and therefore violate Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The leader also stated that if the court does not ban the Bible on its own, Islamic clerics would formally petition the court.
Although Muslims deny the validity of the Christian Bible, they revere many Old Testament figures, including Abraham and Isaac.
Under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which has become increasingly controversial in recent months, punishment can range from fines to the death penalty. The law is often believed to be used in a way that persecutes religious minorities, particularly Christians.
In the weeks since Osama bin Laden’s assassination, many Pakistani believers have feared a rise in persecution as retaliation for the al-Qaeda leader’s death, and that a possible ban on the Bible is just one indication of more troubling times ahead.