Religious minorities and the mob mentality

Reporters photograph the desecrated Ahmadi graves in Lahore. December 2012.

Reporters photograph the desecrated Ahmadi graves in Lahore. December 2012.

I wrote a piece for the New Statesman about a series of violent acts against religious minority communities:

Taken together, these ostensibly unrelated incidents provide a disturbing snapshot of the fault line running through Pakistani society. From the extremists who desecrated the graveyard, to the local authority who demolished the Hindu temple, to the police who at worst tortured a young man and at best failed to get him medical assistance, there is a troubling disregard for safeguarding minority rights and freedom of religion. The solutions? They can only be long-term: education, community cohesion work, proper legal protection for minorities rather than just empty condemnations. Politicians shy away from watering down official discrimination such as the blasphemy law and the Ahmadi clause due to widespread support for these measures. But unless this mob mentality is tackled head on, there is very little hope for fighting extremist elements. After all, on the face of it, what is there really to separate the two?

Blasphemy is a subject I’ve covered in some detail before, most notably here.

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