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Blasphemy means irreverence towards God, religious people, religious books and other religious things. Most of the religions have also some punishments for blasphemy. These punishments are assigned in blasphemy laws. Different religions have different blasphemy laws. In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, which is the authority for both the Jews and the Christians, it is stated as “And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: (Book of Leviticus 24:16). Similarly in Manusmriti, the Law book of Hindus, it is stated “If a man born of a lower class intentionally bothers a priest, the king should punish him physically with various forms of corporal and capital punishment that make men shudder.” (Manusmriti 9:248). In Islam, the law is stated in the Holy Quran as ““The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;” (Surah Al-Maidah 5:33).

     Despite of these religious laws for blasphemy, different muslim countries have different blasphemy laws. Some countries have made amendments in the blasphemy laws. Among these countries, one is Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Although Pakistan is a muslim majority state, the blasphemy law of Pakistan is different from other Islamic countries. Pakistan has blasphemy laws in constitution comprises on the articles 295-B, 295-C, 298-A, 298-B and 298-C. In article 295-B, it is mentioned “Whoever willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract there from or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life”. Article 295-C states that “ Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment of life and shall also be liable to fine.”  . Article 298-A states that anyone who passes any offensive remarks about companions of Holy Prophet (PBUH), about wives or member of family of Holy Prophet (PBUH) should be punished with three years punishment, or should be fined or imposed both. The other two articles 298-B and 298-C are some specific groups like Ahmadis and Qadyanies. (Pakistan Penal Code)

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The study of human history reveals that man is greatly influenced by revolutions. Although the revolutions witnessed in the past had some effects on nations but there are some that changed the philosophies of this world completely. Among these the widely discussed are American and French revolutions. Although both the revolutions occurred in the same century and both rose against the established monarchies of that particular time, yet there were differences regarding their ideologies, type of regimes and their ultimate aftermaths.
          Both American and French revolution occurred in the same century. The American revolution started in 1763 and ended in 1775. In American revolution, French people helped the Americans both economically and militarily. When the French returned from America after the American revolution, they felt same situation of injustice and unfairness among the people as it was in America, which became the most prominent reason for the occurrence of French revolution. French revolution started in 1789 and ended in 1799.  There was the difference of only fourteen years between the ending of American revolution and the beginning of French revolution. Actually the occurrence of French revolution was primarily influenced by the American revolution.
            The rebellious nature of human beings is natural and obvious when they are oppressed and subjected to brutality.  The American and French revolutions were the result of the said nature of human beings. French revolution occurred because the local aristocrats and monarchs were very biased with the lower class. The lower class was not getting its rights. Similarly, in American revolution, the citizens were fed up of their ruling monarchs because of the biased attitude of monarchs towards them.

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Christopher Hitchens is an Anglo American author. He is famous for his atheist views and has written on topics ranging from politics to religion. Due to his atheist views, the author remains a controversial figure among many scholars. “Religion Poisons Everything.” is an extract from the book “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything”.  This book was published on April 25th 2007 and later on was published in the weekly magazine “Slate”. This specific article targets the academic society and is against the religious dogma surrounding the present society. The author informs the audience about the drawbacks of religion, the chaos it causes in the society, its detrimental effects and how it plagues our society, and how it is a man-made concept.
       Christopher Hitchens starts his article by criticizing religions and discussing four main flaws of religious faith. In the article, the writer has discussed how religion has badly affected the personal and social lives of people. He insists that science must be the base of all ethical values and he openly argues that religions make us conservative and compel us to perform such actions which readers would otherwise regret.

          Although the writer employs proper use of language and ethos to impress the audience, the writer jumps to hasty generalizations and uses illogical reasons to establish hi arguments. The offensive tone of the article leaves the believers offended and may produce doubt within the reader’s mind about the credibility of the author.

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            Since the era of Renaissance and the dawn of modern science, religion as cognitive, intellectual, doctrinal and dogmatic phenomenon gained prominence and many intellectualists have engaged in the debate that whether science, that accumulates knowledge based on empirical evidence and observation, or religion and magic, that holds strong belief in the supernatural powers or powers that control human destiny, is the superior source of knowledge. The science versus religion debate reached at its peak during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when anthropology and sociology emerged as new disciplines which provided an alternative views on this debate. Moreover, many anthropologists have concerned themselves with the demarcation between science, religion and magic. For example Bronislaw Malinowski and Emile Durkheim explained religion and magic from a functionalist perspective and explicated that they both play an important role in a society; Evans Pritchard, a structural- functionalist, based on his field work in South Sudan among the Nuer people came up with his theories on religion and witchcraft; similarly Levi Strauss, Mary Douglas are among other anthropologists who engaged themselves on this subject matter. But in this paper I will thoroughly examine and critically analyze the workings of Edward Tylor and James Frazer, two Victorian anthropologists, in the light of science versus religion debate. To fully understand and grasp the relationship between the two phenomena, magic will be discussed in contrast to science and religion. The paper will look at the three evolutionary stages of human beings divided up by James Frazer that roughly correspond to the ages of magic, religion and science. The hypothesis and theories of other theorists will be brought under discussion in contrast to the theories of Tylor and Frazer.    
                Edward Tylor and James Frazer were two eminent Victorian, evolutionist and armchair anthropologists. Their main contribution to the field of anthropology was that they demarcated the boundaries between religion, science and magic and believed that there were three basic ways of looking at the world: that of science, that of magic and that of religion. Tylor regarded science as a dominant source of knowledge and deemed religion and magic as inferior to science. He defined religion as belief in the ‘spiritual beings’ (Tambiah, 1990). He held that the essence of primitive religion and the true natural religion was animism, a belief that every object including non human entities in this world has a soul (Strenski 2006). Animism is the foundation of all religions. Tylor held that this belief has been originated from the rational but consistent interpretations of dreams, visions, hallucinations, cataleptic states and similar phenomena which human observe and experience. As an intellectualist, he viewed that the institution of religion has been developed from the very rational thoughts and observations of the individuals when they attempted to interpret their dreams. Edward Tylor also developed the theory of ‘survival’. He asserted that when a society evolves, certain customs, processes, opinions, and rituals are retained that are unnecessary in the new society (ibid). He posited that religion is a survival, the fact that the modern religions still believe in the spiritual beings so they have been evolved from the early form of religion that is animism.   

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The divide between the public and private sphere has long been a contentious issue for political theory. With relation to modern forms of democracy, a strong need for defining the boundaries for the two spheres has emerged. However, with new complexities surfacing they remain blurred. Several theorists such as Seyla Benhabib, Saba Mahmood, Jean Cohen and Will Kymlicka, have viewed this subject with varying perspectives. The divide between public and private has always been such that the distinction is made on the basis of masculinity and femininity. Household roles have always been considered fit for women, whereas the political and social activities are considered suitable for men. This has made notions of progress and rationality attached to the public sphere, and the concept of traditions and religious allegiance to fall into the private sphere. (Herzog and Braude). This paper aims to review Benahabib’s, Mahmood’s and Kymlicka’s perspective regarding the debatable topic of defining boundaries between what constitutes public and private.

It is impossible to ignore feminist scholarship when viewing the public private debate. The main aim of many schools of feminist thought remains to defy the defined roles for women in private sphere and to take their access to those fields which have always been considered public. Therefore, which arenas constitute the private and public sphere is something of immense importance to them. Benhabib talks about the L’affair du foulard or the scarf affair that sprung up in France in 1989. Three girls were banned from wearing a head scarf at the public school they attended. With the support of the ex-president of the National Federation for Muslims in France, they continued to wear the scarf and gathered supporters. This in real terms implied that they were now viewing the scarf as a political gesture and an outward manifestation of their personal identity and beliefs. In 2004, the French National Assembly banned the wearing of all religious symbols in public schools. This was felt by most as an attack mainly on the headscarf worn by Muslims. The state did not want such religious symbols to be worn by students as being propagated in the public sphere. The Supreme Court wanted the state to remain neutral. Therefore, in 1989 they issued a judgment in which they allowed the wearing of religious symbols but prohibited the propagation of any such beliefs on to others. They left the decision of defining the headscarf on to the school. (Benhabib, 184-188). This was a major weakness since this was a matter the state should have addressed directly. A contention was visible over the divide between personal liberty of wearing a headscarf that appeared to be a private matter and the neutral atmosphere a liberal and democratic state needs to maintain in the public arena.

Benhabib brings forth the concept of democratic iterations through which issues such as the scarf affair can be better dealt with. These would include the public arguments and exchange of claims through which such concepts can be contested. (Benhabib, 179). France faced the dilemma of whether boundaries of public - private should be breached in relation to maintaining a balance between the long cherished liberal values of freedom of expression and the growing pressures exerted by multiculturalism taking root. In her opinion, the state should have made use of democratic iterations to take into account the viewpoint of the girls wearing the scarf. (Benahabib, 197). It is possible that most of them felt it to be a sign of liberation from tradition and a way to come out in the public sphere and express their inner identity.

Similar to this was the German headscarf case.  When the matter went to court a substantial case could not be made in favor of respecting pluralism with allowing religious symbols to be worn by civil servants working in public space. Thus, the wearing of the headscarf was taken to be a sign of the teacher’s specific allegiance towards the religion of Islam. (Benhabib, 200-201).

Benhabib - belonging to the Kantian school of thought - suggests that the boundaries between the public private need to be expanded. In view of the conflicts arising between pluralism and upholding liberal values, Benhabib proposes that the state is justified in defining some sort of boundary between the public and private. However, it is noteworthy that even the measures of democratic iterations as suggested would take place on the framework of moral universalism. Therefore, there appears to be a chance that the discourse of moral universalism might end up undermining what may be liberation for the other.

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Slavery and other forms of forced labor is an issue that is the subject of scorn and despise in today’s modern world. However the irony lies in the fact that the nations, mostly colonizers, who criticize it the most today themselves at some point in time used this institution to their advantage when they conquered and ruled foreign lands. The story of Latin America is not very different. The Spaniards on their arrival not only brought African slaves along with them but also developed different forms of forced labor for the natives such as encomiendas, yana etc. There were few arguments in favor of slave trade such as the excuse to spread the message of the Church and to evangelize as many people as possible. However a close look at the annals of colonial history shows us that economic gains were the driving force behind the acts of the colonizers. The ambitious cult of the Spaniards which made them take the long and hazardous journey to the New World was the driving force behind bringing African slaves and engaging natives into forced labor.  

                In the wake of Spanish conquests in Peru and New Spain the native societies experienced immense structural, economic and social changes. The Spaniards believed in Aristotle’s doctrine of natural slavery, whereby societies that were rational and reasonable and had accepted the true faith i.e. Christianity were meant to be Masters whereas those who were governed by brutality, passion and infidelity were eternally slaves. This implied that the Spaniards considered the natives as providers of free labor for them. One of the most major impacts of the arrival of the Spanish was the fall of the native Indian population. Although very accurate accounts are not available today yet records suggest that the native population experienced a decline of 85% in a century after they arrived. One of the major reasons for this was that the Spanish brought diseases such as smallpox, mumps, measles etc along with them from Europe. The spread of these alien diseases meant that the natives who did not have any immunity against them easily fell victim. Usually it would take up three or four generations to build up resistance against such diseases.  Moreover it has been suggested that the Spaniards used violence and brutality which lead to poor health conditions and malnourishment. The native’s crops were also eaten up by the animals of the Spaniards which meant that they were left with limited supplies of food.  Thereafter many natives accepting the Spanish domination as their land’s fate or divine will, began committing suicides and infanticides etc. Such decline in native population was on the other hand accompanied by an increasing Spanish population as more and more professionals and artisans from Spain poured in. The decreasing native population suggested a dearth of labor for the Spaniards as many of them possessed very economically important skills. This situation brought to the forefront the African slaves. The blacks travelled to Latin America along with their Spanish masters. They included men and women. Demographically, most of the Spaniards were young men who were accompanied by few Spanish women; therefore black women were also brought to the newly conquered territory.  Curiously the Spaniards could also consider transferring Spanish masses to the Indies to use as labor. However, during this time many cities of the Spanish empire were beginning to grow and thrive. Besides this the agriculture sector was operating now on free wage labor basis. Finally, the fact that the military force was being developed provided another niche to the Spanish masses.  Therefore, African slaves seemed a perfect choice given these circumstances. Added to this black labor was completely mobile and they were kinless which meant they could be transported anywhere and made to work. In case of the natives it was very hard to make them shift. Moreover, there remained a threat of rebellion as they were still living in their native land and developed community. However in cases where cruelty reached enormous heights there were instances of revolt from the blacks even as in case of the “Maroons” who ran away and settled and developed their own organized community. The Blacks soon surfaced in colonial society. Inter marrying took place between blacks, Indians and Spanish leading to mixed breeds such as mulattoes and zambos.

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Different orders of Sufism….
Sufism or taṣawwuf(Arabic:  تصوّف) is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam.A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a ṣūfī (صُوفِيّ). Another name for a Sufi is Dervish.

Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God." Alternatively, in the words of the Darqawi Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one's inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits."

Classical Sufis were characterised by their attachment to dhikr (a practice of repeating the names of God) and asceticism. Sufism gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661-750 CE). Sufis have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, at first expressed through Arabic, then through Persian, Turkish and a dozen other languages. "Orders" (ṭuruq), which are either Sunnī or Shī'ī or mixed in doctrine, trace many of their original precepts from the Islamic Prophet Muhammad through his cousin 'Alī, with the notable exception of the Naqshbandi who trace their origins through the first Caliph, Abu Bakr. Other exclusive schools of Sufism describe themselves as distinctly Sufi. Modern Sufis often performdhikr after the conclusion of prayers.

Some mainstream scholars of Islam define sufism as simply the name for the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam.René Guénon in 'Insights into Islamic Esoterism and Taoism ' (Sophia Perennis 2003) contended that Sufism was the esoteric aspect of Islam supported and complemented by exoteric practices and Islamic law. However, according to Idries Shah, the Sufi philosophy is universal in nature, its roots predating the rise of Islam and the other modern-day religions, save for perhaps Buddhism and Jainism; likewise, some Muslims consider Sufism outside the sphere of Islam.

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