Honour, purity and transgression: understanding blasphemy accusations and consequent violent action in Punjab, Pakistan

Sana Ashraf

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Since the incorporation of anti-blasphemy laws protecting the religious sentiments of the Muslim majority in the Pakistan Penal Code in the 1980s, Pakistan has seen several cases of extra-judicial killings, mob violence and vigilante action against the accused. Based on my fieldwork in Punjab, Pakistan, this paper deals with the meanings associated with blasphemy, and violent action that follows the accusations. Focusing on everyday interactions at a local level, I argue that certain understandings of the notions of honour, shame, purity, and transgression provide meaning as to what constitutes blasphemy and what are desirable courses of action to be taken in response to perceived blasphemy. I further demonstrate how public religious discourse is utilized to mobilize people, by actively legitimizing violence in the name of love, and framing as the hero-a true Muslim-one who can kill for the sake of love and hence is capable of preventing shame by defending the Prophet's honour.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51-68
    JournalContemporary South Asia
    Volume26
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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