While the world talks about tolerance, freedom of expression and liberal views, fundamental Muslims have taken to the opposite direction, with an increase in violence against alleged blasphemy that allegedly includes insults to Islam and Prophet Mohammed. Islamic literature and interpretations of the Quran have prompted to avenge the criticism or visual depiction of the Prophet, in the wake of Jihad. According to scholars, particularly the Hadiths from Nasai and Sunan Abu Daud, have supported punishment for Blasphemy while narrating that a Jewish woman slave was killed by her master for her repeated blasphemous behaviour against the Prophet. According to the story, when this was brought before Prophet, he declared no retaliation against the master.
Islamic juridical texts have also prescribed death punishment for blasphemy and are ‘agreed by all Islamic scholars of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah’ as claimed by Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi from Deoband. In modern-day parlance, however, avenging the acts of blasphemy by killing the blasphemer is the only rule of law. In the countries of the Indian Subcontinent and Africa where the state has often surrendered before Islamist fundamentalism, ‘gustakh-e-Rasool ki ek hi saza, sar tan se juda sar tan se juda’ is a war cry often justified. In Islamic nations like Pakistan, Iran etc, people are executed or jailed for years for alleged blasphemy, if not already killed by Islamist mobs before arrested by police.
On the occasion of the death anniversary of Prophet Mohammed on June 8, here are ten most well known murders by Islamist mobs due to alleged ‘Blasphemy’ which have rocked the world.
On 18th October 2019, unknown assailants brutally stabbed and then shotd former Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari who had earlier spent 9 months in jail over his comments on Prophet Muhammad. Tiwari was killed in his office-cum-residence in Lucknow after a group of Islamists barged in to punish him for his comments on Prophet Muhammad made in 2015. One of the most heinous murders that were fanned citing ‘blasphemy’, Tiwari was shot and his throat was slit by the murderers.
The post-mortem report revealed that the Hindu leader was stabbed 15 times while The attackers had also shot a bullet into his face to make sure that he dies in the attack. Chargesheet filed by an SIT in the case named 13 accused under charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and violating the arms act. A Bareilly cleric, Sayyed Kaifi Ali, was arrested by the ATS on charges of helping the accused. A Delhi-based lawyer named Mohammad Naved Siddiqui was arrested for allegedly providing logistical support and helping the murderers hide.
Pakistani politician and former Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer was gunned down in 2011 after coming in support of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was charged to be executed for alleged blasphemy. Taseer, publically in a press conference, had appealed to the then Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon the woman’s sentence citing that such laws had no place in the modern world.
Taseer believed that Asia Bibi was a poor Christian woman and the sentence against her was a crime against humanity. Over his public position outrightly condemning blasphemy law in Pakistan, Salman Taseer was assassinated by his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri in January 2011. While the celebratory killing over ‘blasphemy’ was not enough, that Taseer’s assassin Qadri was instantly held as a hero for upholding the Jihadist cause.
Since then Mumtaz Qadri has garnered significant support from the Pakistani masses. It should be noted that he also has a shrine in his name. Qadri had gunned down Taseer in 2011 and his followers, to this day, believe that he has earned a place for himself next to Prophet Muhammad. The Pakistani court went further in awarding death sentence to Asia Bibi, the first woman to receive the death penalty in the country.
In November 2020, a high-school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an Islamic terrorist in Paris in France for allegedly showing caricatures of the Prophet of Islam to his students. A Muslim youth stabbed his 47-year-old teacher in his throat while shouting “Allahu Akbar”. The attacks occurred in the suburb of Conflans-Saint-Honorine, northwest of Paris.
The victim was a history-geography professor, who had shown his students cartoons of the Prophet of Islam from Charlie Hebdo during a class debate on freedom of expression. This had sparked complaints from a number of parents and one of them had lodged a complaint against the teacher. After that, a Islamist Terrorist had beheaded the teacher near his school in Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron had called the incident as an “Islamist terror attack” and urged the nation to unite. He said the victim was murdered because he was a teacher and taught freedom of expression.
Days after the barbaric beheading of teacher Samuel Paty on the streets of Paris, the locals projected huge images of Charlie Hebdo cartoons and the images of Samuel Paty on a local government building as a symbolic tribute to the deceased teacher. The terror attack in Paris had prompted a strong response from the French government, including banning of radical Islamic organisations that expressed support to the terrorist and dissolving radical Islamist organisations in the country.
In the 1920s’ communal riot-stricken undivided India, the Muslim community published two particularly offensive books to Hindus – “Krishna teri geeta jalani padegi” used derogatory and vulgar language against Shri Krishna and other Hindu deities whereas “Unniseevi sadi ka Maharshi” contained offensive remarks on Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati (incidentally written by an Ahmadi).
To respond to this literary provocation, Pandit Chamupati Lal, wrote a short biography of the Islamic Prophet, Mohammed. Titled “Rangeela Rasool” this short pamphlet was published by Mahashay Rajpal from his publishing House ‘Rajpal and Sons’ in Punjab. The book was a satirical take on the domestic life of the Prophet. Because of the sensitive nature of the pamphlet, Pandit Chamupati made Mahashay Rajpal promise that he would never reveal the name of the author. It was published anonymously under the name “doodh ka doodh aur panee ka panee”.
Though historically accurate and written after due research of hadiths, this caused outrage among the Muslims of Lahore. The primary organized opposition to the judgement was driven by the Khilafatists and the Ahmadis. Ahmadis printed posters in several cities urging a total economic boycott of Hindus in response to the perceived insult to their prophet.
While the first edition was quickly sold out, the British govt had banned it in June 1924 before the second edition could be printed. Subsequently, Muslims had filed a criminal case against Mahashay Rajpal.
During the trial, he was offered to give up the name of the real author of Rangeela Rasool and go scot-free, but he declined it and upheld his promise. In legal proceedings that lasted close to three years, in May 1927 Mahashay Rajpal was acquitted of all charges. The judge contended that Sec. 153A does not prohibit historical analysis of ‘prophets’ of different religions and if it were to be so applied, works of serious historians could also be subject to it.
There were massive protests by Muslims against this verdict and riots had broken out various places. There were calls for his murder by Muslim groups, saying that the punishment for insulting the prophet is death and it is legally permissible under Sharia to kill those who insult the prophet. As a result, there were several attempts on the life of Mahashay Rajpal. Finally on April 6th, 1929 a 19-year-old carpenter named Ilm Ud Din stabbed Mahashay Rajpal on his chest eight times in an attack in which he lost his life.
In a recent shocking incident from Nigeria, a Christian student, Deborah Samuel was beaten to death by an Islamic mob over an allegation of blasphemy in her college in the northwestern region of Sokoto. The violent mob, which comprised of her fellow college mates in a WhatsApp group, was upset over some of her comments and had declared her a ‘blasphemer’.
The victim who studied in the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State faced an ire after her comment after someone had shared an Islamic post in the college Whatsapp group. Deborah had objected to religious content being shared in a college WhatsApp group. What followed was a brutal assault on the girl by a mob that comprised of male Muslim students of the college who mercilessly beat, stoned Deborah to death and then burned her body.
In a separate video, her killers proudly admit to their crime while chanting “Allahu Ahkbar”. One of them brandishes the matchbox with which he lit her corpse on fire, while the body continues to burn in the background… pic.twitter.com/DsAq8LEaJh— Barra Hart (@barrahart) May 12, 2022
Deborah’s killers who had taken it upon themselves to take a ‘revenge’ for blasphemy, shot a video of themselves executing the brutal murder and proudly admitted for doing the same. Deborah’s killers could be seen shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and showing off the matchbox with which they burned her battered corpse and rejoicing in the violent deed. The state had given up on protecting the victim helplessly after the mob turned violent.
It should be noted that the Sokoto state which lies in northern Nigeria, is heavily Muslim dominated. It was brought under the Islamic Sharia law in 1999.
A teacher in Pakistan, Safoora Bibi, was killed earlier this on the allegation of blasphemy. It all started when three teachers from the Jamia Islamia Falahul Binaat seminary in Pakistan’s Dera Ismail Khan accused one of their colleagues of committing blasphemy in an argument. As the spat went out of the way, a woman stabbed the victim, Safoora Bibi with a knife before slitting her throat.
Teacher at a madrassa in Dera Ismail Khan murdered by her colleagues over allegations of blasphemy as seen in a dream. pic.twitter.com/YRgKKuS1xB— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) March 29, 2022
In the Police statement, the three accused women disclosed that one of their relatives, a thirteen-year-old girl, had seen in her dream that the Prophet had revealed that Safoora Bibi had committed blasphemy against him. Apparently, the Prophet also ordered them to slaughter the victim, as seen by the girl in her dream. The three accused women, who taught at the seminary “materialised the dream seen by the fourth one,” according to Police reports.
Kishan Bharwad, a youth from Gujarat’s Dhandhuka, was shot and killed by two bike-borne assailants on January 25, 2022, after he published a social media post with a visual image of Prophet Muhammad. Kishan had shared a video which showed an image of Prophet Muhammad. 27-year-old Kishan Boliya was shot dead by radicalised men inspired by maulanas (Islamic religious leaders) who instigated them to carry out the jihadi activity of killing a man who had ‘blasphemed’.
At least six clerics have been arrested across India in the aftermath of Kishan Bharwad’s murder. So far, eight persons have been arrested in connection with the case. While many agencies are looking into the matter, it is believed that Bharwad’s death was part of a broader conspiracy hatched with tentacles in Pakistan.
On the night of February 20, Bajrang Dal activist Harsha was stabbed to death near a petrol bunk in the Shivamogaa district of Karnataka. A tailor by occupation, Harsha was a member of the Hindu organisation, Bajrang Dal, and was seen sporting saffron shawls to demand uniformity in the dress code of schools and colleges during the Karnataka Burqa controversy.
While the primary investigation into the case has noted that the killing of Harsha was because of his fierce stand against wearing the Burqa at college campuses, an Islamist page ‘Mangalore Muslims’ on Facebook in 2015, had threatened Harsha with physical harm for his remarks on Prophet Muhammad. The post read, “Harsha, a member of Hindutva terrorist group, has put out objectionable posts targeting Prophet Mohammad and Allah and has shared morphed images of holy Kaaba on social media platforms. We request the people of Shivamogga to file a case against him in the nearest police station and also give “proper treatment” to him.”
Many social media fatwas were declared against Harsha for allegedly committing Blasphemy.
Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana
In Pakistan’s Sialkot, a Sri Lankan man Priyantha Kumara was tortured and burnt to death by an irate Islamist mob that believed rumours of blasphemy. The victim was a general manager at Rajko Industries in Sialkot, a company that makes T20 gears for the Pakistani cricket team.
The GM of Rajko Industries in Sialkot, who was a Sri Lankan, was killed and set on fire by the people of the factory. The G.M allegedly tore the poster of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and threw it in the trash.— BALTISTAN 🏔️ بلتستان (@baltistant) December 3, 2021
May allah enlightened us the path of Hidayat 🤲#Sialkot #Rajkoindustries pic.twitter.com/EKIUTWJvIC
The Srilankan man was killed and set on fire by the people of his factory over the rumours that he allegedly tore the poster of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and threw it in the trash. workers of private factories attacked the export manager of a factory and burnt his body after killing him. In a video that went viral, the irate mob can be heard chanting “Nara e Taqbeer” and “Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah”. Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah essentially means “Here I am at your service, Oh the Messenger of Allah”. Other slogans that could be heard as the fanatics burnt the man to death were ‘gustakh-e-nabi ki ek hi saza, sar tan se juda sar tan se juda’.
Charlie Hebdo killings
The most well known and heinous murder by Islamists over alleged blasphemy is the Charlie Hebdo killings, when the terrorists has barged into the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and opened fire on the staff. The incident happened on January 2015, when Islamist terrorists had gunned down 12 people in and around the Charlie Hebdo offices for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, had published cartoons that depicted Muhammad, which is strictly prohibited in Islam. Offended by Charlie Hebdo’s actions, two Islamic terrorists attacked the office of Hebdo in 2015 and killed 12 people and 11 injured. The terrorists had stated that the attack was an act of revenge for depicting the Prophet Mohammad.
The terror attack led to the deaths of twelve people and in subsequent days, a policewoman and four Jews were murdered. The event was a watershed moment in recognizing the threats posed by Islamism and religious fundamentalism that goes unchallenged by puritanical translation of ancient Hadiths in the modern world.
Charlie Hebdo was unfazed by the attack, and continues to publish material that can offend followers of various religions, including Islam. In 2020, the publication had republished the cartoon that had led to the killings.
On June 28, in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, a Hindu man named Kanhaiya Lal was brutally hacked to death with sharp weapons by two Islamists named Mohammed Riyaz Akhatar and Mohammad Gos for sharing a social media post in support of ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma who was hounded by Islamists for her statement on the life of Prophet Muhammad.
Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor by profession, was in his shop when the two assailants entered as customers, while the victim took measurements, the murderers brutally struck his neck, killing him execution-style, while filming the entire incident on camera.
The murderers had then also shared a video boasting how they had killed Kanhaiya Lal, brandishing their knives and declaring that they would kill PM Narendra Modi in a similar manner. Kanhaiya Lal had been receiving threats of murder from Islamists for days because of a social media post that was shared accidentally by his minor son. He was also arrested by the police. Despite reporting to the police that his life is under threat, he was not given protection. Hours after the gruesome incident, the murderers were arrested from Rajasamand district.