Ayaz Nizami is a blogger in Pakistan facing the death penalty.
What were his crimes? Murder? Rape? Torture?
None of the above. He committed the “crimes” of leaving Islam, and blasphemy, which is punishable by death in Pakistan. He was placed with two other blogger in custody of Pakistan’s anti-terrorism cell for a week while their online activity was investigated.
We all know the majority of Muslims oppose terrorist groups like ISIS, but opposing the brutality of ISIS doesn’t mean opposing the brutality of the Sharia Law they wish to implement (of which Pakistani law has incorporated many elements). While only nine percent of those in Pakistan have a positive view of ISIS (28 percent unfavorable, and 62 percent voiced no opinion), there was more than enough support in Pakistan to get the hashtag #HangAyazNizami trending globally on Twitter.
These are just a few tweets out of tens of thousands – the overwhelming majority of which are in Arabic. While Twitter is happy to censor conservative voices without hesitation, nothing was done in response to this hashtag as it trended globally.
Meanwhile, there are massive protests in Pakistan calling on authorities to take action against blasphemous content posted on social media. You can see one such protest in Islamabad:They seem to be getting what they want.
Pakistan’s government claims that Facebook has removed 85 percent of blasphemous content from social media that they requested be taken down.For a non-Muslim living under any Islamic government, is there really any difference for them if they were living under ISIS instead? Probably not.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]