One Dot Blashphemy

Girl accused of blasphemy for a spelling error

ABBOTTABAD PAKISTAN: It may have been a mere misplaced dot that led to accusations of blasphemy against a Christian eighth-grader, whose miniscule error led to her expulsion from school and uproar amongst local religious leaders.

Faryal Bhatti, a student at the Sir Syed Girls High School in Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) colony Havelian, erroneously misspelt a word in an Urdu exam while answering a question on a poem written in praise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The word in question was ‘laanat’ instead of ‘naat’ – an easy error for a child to make, as the written versions of the words are similar.

According to the school administration and religious leaders who took great exception to the hapless student’s mistake, the error is ‘serious’ enough to fall within the realm of blasphemy, Saturday.

Spelling out her punishment

On Thursday, Faryal’s Urdu teacher was collecting the answer sheets from her students when she noticed the apparently offensive word on her pupil’s sheet. The teacher, Fareeda Bibi, reportedly summoned the Christian girl, scolded her and beat her. Her punishment, however, did not end here. When Faryal’s class fellows learnt of the alleged blasphemy, the teacher brought the principal’s notice to the matter, who further informed the school management.

In the meanwhile, the news spread throughout the colony. The next day, male students of the POF colony school as well as certain religious elements took out a rally, demanding the registration of a criminal case against the eighth-grader and her expulsion from the area.

Pretty twisted, eh? Spell a single word wrong on a test and get beaten for it, then get charged with blasphemy, then have the whole town rise up and demand that your entire family get thrown out of the district. So much for tolerance and compassion. Another example of the harsh insanity of pisslam, where their god is so weak that he needs constant protection and can’t take the least amount of criticism, difference of opinion, or even a minuscule spelling error.

I saw this at Weasel Zippers and followed the link to the source, then found that bit of news at a couple of other sources. While I have to agree that this is an over the top reaction worthy of a bunch of rapid lunatics, there is a bit of a media twist going on here. The truth does not justify the reaction, but it does explain some of it ... and I seem to be the only one who has made the attempt to find it.

This was not just any old test in Urdu, the language of Pakistan. Urdu is spoken like Hindu, but written like Arabic I gather. This was what was called a “na’at test”, a special kind of language exam where a special class of poem is deconstructed and analyzed. The same kind of nonsense you had to suffer through in Freshman English.  Ok, fine, it’s a poetry exam. So what? Well, a “na’at” is a special kind of poem, one that is written specifically to praise Mohammed. I have no idea if they all follow the same form, like haiku or iambic pentameter, but the entire category of na’at shareef (exalted poetry) exists for no other purpose. Words of praise for their prophet.

La’nat, on the other hand, is something akin to a witch’s spell. It’s a kind of a prayer to Allah asking for pain, suffering, damnation, or a removal of holy grace from your enemy It’s their conceptual “God damn”, but they REALLY mean it when they say it.

I’d fault the phonetic Arabic writing system for this one, that allows one small dot - a stress point or an accent symbol I think - to change a piety into a holy curse. It’s like writing an ‘N’ where you wanted to write an ‘M’, in a language where ‘Migger’ is a great and glorious accolade. And thus improperly identifying such a piety AS a curse would be quite insulting. If you were an intolerant crazy just looking to be insulted that is. The kind of rebellious nasty thing that an already socially outcast teenager might do out of spite, or that sense of “ooh, look how subtly ironic I am, and they’re all too stupid to notice or appreciate it” that seems to be a worldwide affliction of youth. A real teacher would have known the student, and known what her intent was, and dealt with it.

So that explains that. What any sane teacher would have done at most is to give the kid an F, maybe a bit of detention, and then forget about it. That is, after meeting with the girl and asking her what a na’at and a la’nat are. Heck, if the kid doesn’t know the difference, then it’s the teacher’s fault, yes? But I can’t see her not knowing at least what a na’at is; WTH, they were having an exam on it. Maybe they hadn’t covered la’ats yet, and this could in truth be a simple spelling error. In which case you explain how that one dot is the blasting cap that explodes a major faux pas, and then you forget about it. You don’t rat out the girl to the rest of the class, then to the principal, then to the “religious authorities”, then press criminal charges, then hound the single parent family out of town. That’s what insane people do.

Personally, if Allah can’t handle a bit of insult, then he isn’t much of a god in my opinion. And if people go insane in their reaction to something as small as this, then they are showing just how weak and doubt filled their own faith is, aren’t they? And just how hateful and intolerant they are of everyone, which shows that 75 generations of being good little muslims hasn’t done diddly to elevate them above savagery.

Posted by Drew458    United States   on 09/26/2011 at 12:05 PM   
  1. "I’d fault the phonetic Arabic writing system for this one”

    I’d fault the intolerant and small-minded religious zealots that unfortunately seem to comprise the majority of Muslims.

    “75 generations of being good little muslims hasn’t done diddly to elevate them above savagery”

    Sad but true.

    Posted by CenTexTim    United States   09/26/2011  at  09:52 PM  
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