the accused
© www.dawn.comBlasphemy: the accused
Religious statutes permit Muslims to take the law in their own hands, kill alleged blasphemers and attack minority communities. In Pakistan, a mere accusation of blasphemy is often enough to put an individual and their community in extreme danger.

Is this only true to Islam or are there similarities at work in other religious systems as well? Let's look at recent events to illustrate the concern:

Blasphemy: Utter-ly a Death's Sentence

a horror story...
Christians beaten to death for allegedly desecrating Qur'an in Pakistan
An angry crowd attacked and killed a Christian couple and then burned their bodies at the brick kiln where they worked. Rumors circulated that the couple had desecrated a Qur'an the day before, although the circumstances of this accusation are not clear [...] the latest example of violence against minorities accused of blasphemy...
and this one is unthinkable...
Girl saw her mother burn alive for blasphemy in Pakistan...and then the mob tried to set HER alight as well
A four-year-old girl and her 18-month-old sister were forced to watch their pregnant Christian mother 'twitch' in the flames when a Muslim mob burnt her and her husband alive after accusing them of blasphemy and were savagely beaten...
and then this crazed old guy...
A 70-year-old Briton suffering from paranoid schizophrenia is facing a death sentence in Pakistan
When Mohammad Asghar claimed to be a prophet sent by God, his psychosis talking, a police officer at the maximum security prison shot him in the back because he had to "kill the blasphemer..."
international blasphemy
© www.thecommentator.comFreedom of speech or blasphemy...depends on where you are from and what you believe.
The prophet Muhammad left a legacy of terror and slaughter without recourse or pathway to social/spiritual evolution. Wherever Islam has a stronghold, religious minorities may be subjected to brutal persecution. What makes the Qur'an's verses of violence, in particular, so dangerous?

Historically, literal interpretation of the Qur'an has often led to mass conflict, massacre or genocide over the centuries, as it encountered other ideologies, such as Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. It is said that violence is so ingrained in the religion that Islam has never really stopped being at war, either with other religions or itself. It shuns self-examination and brutally eliminates criticism. Predictably, we find similar profiles in all the major religions.

We're good, they're bad...some perspective!

Critics of religion opine that all monotheistic religions are inherently violent and claim Judaism, Christianity and Islam will destroy the world unless they confront the violence in sacred texts and temper the message. This is unlikely. Jews and Christians are myopically self-convinced Islam is the only violent religion, ignoring the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible's 1000 passages that refer to YHWH as acting violently or supporting the violence of humans, and over 100 passages that involve divine commands to kill humans.

So with that in mind, let's take a quick peek at a bit of the ongoing shadow histories of three "peaceful, god-fearing/loving" mega-religions that have influenced most of humanity in one way or another, and perhaps see the repetitive pattern of the hidden hand.
Jewish Terrorism: There are strains of radical Zionism (a pathological and secular construct) and Zealotry (known as the "4th Sect") that promote aggressive wars and falsely justify them with biblical texts. Examples, of violence described in the Book of Esther, are carried over to modern times as in the Cave of the Patriarch massacre (1994), the ongoing violent and heinous treatment of the Palestinians by Zionists, and the Jewish militias that used verses to justify massacres, such as Deir Yassin. The Kingdom of Israel group (Tzrifin Underground) carried out attacks on the diplomatic facilities of the USSR and Czechoslovakia, shot at Jordanian troops and tried to bomb the Israeli Ministry of Education. Brit HaKanaim (Covenant of the Zealots) was a radical religious Jewish underground organization which fought against the widespread trend of secularization . The ultimate goal of the movement was to impose Jewish religious law in the State of Israel and establish a Halakhic state.

Radical Zionist ideology encourages the killing of non-Jews and claims it is legal to kill Gentiles and the babies of enemy forces (as is happening today in Gaza). The Jewish Defense League (JDL) began with the purpose to protect Jews from harassment and antisemitism, but over time, the league perpetrated at least 15 terrorist acts in the U.S. verified by the FBI.
Christian Terrorism: Christian terrorists have relied on scriptural interpretations of the Old and New Testaments to justify violence and killing or to bring about "end times." Christian views on abortion have been responsible for threatening, assaulting and murdering doctors, and bombing abortion clinics. The idea that North European whites are direct descendants of the lost tribes of Israel has spawned The Aryan Nations, Aryan Republican Army, Army of God, Phineas Priesthood and The Covenant, The Sword, the Arm of the Lord and the Hutaree Christian Militia movement. The Soweto bombings of 2002 were an outcome a violent racial-religious belief system which asserted a "God-given right to rule the nation" and suggested that the bombings were "the beginning of the end" of the African National Congress. And, not to leave out two of the all-time worst: we have the Holocaust and the Spanish Inquisition.

Of infamous religious militant terrorist organizations, the Ku Klux Klan is still in action. Arson, beatings, cross burnings, destruction of property, lynching, murder, rape, tar-and-feathering, and whipping are on its menu. Its targets are African Americans, Jews, Catholics along with other social or ethnic minorities. The KKK terrorist ideology is based on a religious foundation in Christianity to reestablish Protestant values by any means possible. They are renown for vigilante justice.

National Liberation Front of Tripura is a Christian militant organization in India, whose violence is motivated by religious beliefs. It aims the forced conversion of all Hindu tribespeople; those who resist are killed or raped. A Baptist church supplies arms and gives financial support to the group.

Lebanon: Maronite Christian militias perpetrated massacres of Palestinians and Lebanese Muslims during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. The 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre was considered genocide by the U.N. General Assembly.

Uganda: The Lord's Resistance Army, a religious cult and guerrilla army, is responsible for committing crimes such as: massacres, abductions, mutilation, torture, rape, using forced child laborers as soldiers, porters and sex slaves.
Buddhist Terrorism: Buddhist barbarity and torture in Asia lasted 1600 years. Justification for violence comes from the Mahayana Chinese version of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra,Upayakaushalya Sutra, and the Kalachakra Tantra. In Thailand, killing of Communists did not violate any of the Buddhist precepts. In Myanmar and Burma, Buddhist religious aggression centers on persecution and extermination of Muslims in an anti-Islamic national movement. Buddhist violence reached contemporary prominence in June 2012 when over 200 Muslims were killed and 100,000 displaced. The 969 Movement refers to numbers associated with the Buddha, his teachings and monkhood. As of 2012, the 969 helped create anti-islamic nationalist movements in the region resulting in the persecution and extermination of Muslims.

Buddhists gained a reputation in Japan via a long history of feuds and the rise of the "warrior monks." In Osaka, they defended their temple with the slogan "The mercy of Buddha should be recompensed even by pounding flesh to pieces. One's obligation to the Teacher should be recompensed even by smashing bones to bits." Japanese Buddhist-inspired terrorism was responsible for the Aum Shinrikyo, the organization that unleashed Sarin gas into the Tokyo subway, killed 13 and injured 50 based on Buddhist ideas and scriptures. The religious justification for Aum Shinrikyo's use of violence was connected to the Buddhist rationalizations of taking the lives of "less spiritually advanced" beings, and that killing a person "in danger of accumulating bad karma in this life was to save them in the next life," thereby advancing them toward salvation.
So, you see, while we consider a religious bias underlying Pakistani injustice for relatively innocent victims, the religious foundation for violence is widespread and deeply ingrained, suggesting a common pattern, common vector and common origin. Let's explore.

Religion is a "psychopath machine"

Ideology is a pathology of the mind, a memetic virus that shields the mind from rational debate. Once the emotional reward centers are gratified it then discards true information that did not fit the emotional bias.
There is a definite connection between psychopathy and religion. What psychopaths apparently discovered in the past is that they can make much of the world "psychopath friendly" and one way in which they did this was by inventing and promoting various religions. We can define [psychopaths] as "anti-human" beings [belonging to a different gene pool]. They do whatever they can to thwart the progress of humanity and that is a large part of their motivation for creating religion.

Religion is not representative of the true natural human thought process - it is a distortion of that. We can say that in essence what religion actually is, is a "psychopath machine." It destroys the human mind and was indeed designed to do just that. Religion contains elements of psychopathic thought in it which cause normal people to become [border-line] psychopaths if they are not already so. This is not a phenomenon of one religion, but of all religion.

Believers are dumbed-down and kept ignorant. Ignorance and superstition go hand-in-hand. In order to preserve, protect or keep that belief in things which really do not make any real sense, the human mind must be kept down to a certain degree of ignorance. They have found religion to be one of the greatest means in which to do this. Many believers simply choose to ignore anything which contradicts what they believe - they just do not let that information enter their mind; it is like they have built a shell or wall around it. This is not natural and is very dangerous. - Roman Piso, Psychopathy and Religion
As a control-based system, a faith structure divides "what is in" from "what is out" and reinforces dependency on, and fidelity and obedience to, this framework. "Successful religionry" consists of a compelling narrative, implicit directives from the ethereal realm, along with divine and inherent truths. Religions, by their very nature, incorporate "notions of sacrifice and martyrdom" which are so integral that without them any religious concept would be almost unthinkable. This includes the example of a sacrificial hero archetype found in, or as the basis of, both major and minor religions.

Concepts and perceptions morph into beliefs that limit and separate mankind from its true existence and destiny. Beliefs foster interpretations that are identified experientially as guidelines for actions. Under the holy cloak, man is unwittingly subjugated by, and made dependent upon, his beliefs. This opens the door for all kinds of evil in the guises of benevolence, sacred duty, proselytization, etc., without suspect or introspection to its motives by the followers. To be "good" is to submit unquestioningly. (Isn't that convenient!)
But man's resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view. - Leon Festinger, When Prophecy Fails
Beliefs are not knowledge, nor based therein. They might be considered as unifying ideas of the collective. Mainstream religion is not created to enhance consciousness nor further the soul journey of the supplicant. By offering predefined perceptions, it mandatorily short-circuits an individual's quest for enlightenment (knowledge). In a broader and more insidious sense, we discover a form of "sleeping sickness" and pathological mind control.

Religious legitimacy, on the big stage, can only be guaranteed by achieving a critical mass: the unified and exclusive acceptance by followers, unequivocal defendability of its principles and the attraction of converts. Here are two well-traveled and opposite trajectories to the same end:

The West has adopted "an ascending theory of legitimacy," in which "power" appears to come from the choice of the people thus giving them a "right" or "resistance" which is very manipulable by hidden agendas (a perception control). The people choose their religious master.

In contrast, religious legitimacy in the East can be used to justify actions that might otherwise be unthinkable, (such as mass suicide, mass murder, attacks on unarmed civilians) and comes from "a descending theory of legitimacy" in which power is handed down from God to the rulers (divine right) and, accordingly, people have "no right or resistance and no power." In other words, they must accept with blind faith (a perception control). Their religious master has chosen them.

We don't have to imagine the pitting of these two vectors against each other, just read the headlines. Keep in mind the question, "Who benefits?"

When does a religion become an ideology?
"A religion becomes an ideology when the followers of the religion cannot tolerate the existence of those who have different views or beliefs, and when they understand their religious text literally and refuse to accept any way of understanding the religion other than their own way of understanding."
-Tawfik Hamid, author and Senior Fellow and Chair of Islamic Radicalism, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, former Islamic terrorist with Jemaah Islamiya

"A religion becomes an ideology when man-made dogma is treated as infallible truth."
-David Satter, author and Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute and scholar at Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
So to put this into context, transcendent moral truths are never the content of an ideology, as they are over and above society. However, ritual, dogmatic and historical aspects of a religion are acceptable, in that it fosters sacred obligations. In Islam, the obligation to wage jihad can be the highest obligation of a Muslim and measures all actions in terms of the extent to which this obligation is carried out. The doctrine of the Jews as the "chosen people" is also an ideology. Because the ideology is processed at the subconscious and emotional levels of the brain, it is almost impossible to change.

Ideologies are very useful tools. A religion becomes an ideology when its man-made elements become a fixed idea and permeate into other realms of power and control such as: politics, justice, finance, business and societal constructs.
Here's an example of how the corruption of justice, coupled with the radicalization of religion and ideology, facilitated a covert CIA agenda that produced the Pakistan we recognize today:

General Zia ul-Haq took control of Pakistan in 1977, ousting Prime Minister Zulfickar Ali Bhutto in a "bloodless coup." In the early '80s, he "Islamicized" the existing blasphemy laws and the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan made the death penalty obligatory. Zia changed Pakistan into a self-authored version of the Islamic State, which gave rise to the Taliban (thanks to Uncle Sam). Despite his radical view of Islam, Zia forged close ties with the U.S., became a CIA asset and was listed by Interpol as an international drug trafficker. (Drug trafficking and radical Islam? Where have we heard that before?)

Perhaps not so coincidentally, the CIA's Operation Cyclone, which saw the CIA arming, funding and radicalizing the mujahideen in Afghanistan, occurred during the period of 1979-1989. Were there similar ties to Zia's Pakistan? Yes. In the '80s, Pakistan facilitated covert CIA weapons shipments to Afghanistan that would return loaded with freshly processed heroin, protected by Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI. Zia moved his drug money through BCCI, a bank with numerous shady connections, including the Israeli Mossad.
If it is worship, it is a religion. If it is used as a society control, for political gain or dominance, it is an ideology. Islam is perhaps the most equally integrated with both.

So, what is fundamentalism?
Fundamentalism is a mindset, a paradigm embodied in certain "near-divine" individuals and movements, which provides an exo-skeletal strategy by which "beleaguered believers may preserve their distinctive identity as a people or group. Feeling this identity to be continually at risk, they fortify it by a selective retrieval of doctrines, beliefs and practices from a 'sacred' past. These retrieved 'fundamentals' are refined, modified and sanctioned in a spirit of shrewd pragmatism: they are to serve as a bulwark against the encroachment of outsiders who threaten to draw the believers into a syncretistic, areligious, or irreligious cultural milieu."
- [Hardacre, 1993; Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby (The Fundamentalism Project), 1993:5-7] excerpt from Ethnoreligious Conflict in the Late Twentieth Century, Jonathan Fox, p. 22-23.
Based on this, it is not a surprise that the rhetoric of war and intolerance becomes an integral part of most religious traditions. Fundamentalism proves to be a successful, fear-based, mind-locking and useful end product of a hidden psychopathic process, which is why the CIA has been able to successfully use it as a recruiting tool for its proxy warfare "strategy of tension" (to divide, manipulate, and control public opinion using fear, propaganda, disinformation, psychological warfare, agents provocateurs, and false flag terrorist actions in order to achieve their strategic aims).

Religion as an apparatus of social control

In order to protect and re-enforce the religious community, the differences between insiders and outsiders must be observable and maintained. Rules and standards emphasize the "proper modes" of behavior that must be adopted in private life to successfully build distinctions between "us and them." In Pakistan, they include the misuse of the political system to force these standards on others and they work brilliantly on the most basic level to achieve the highest result, as in accusations of blasphemy, followed by the elimination of the "other." In this sense, the religious construct becomes organism-like with predatory survival instincts, even if it must turn on some of its own members... a deviant's way to divide and conquer (and pathological in nature).
"Religion and ethnicity are often overlapped and intertwined." Gurr argues that "in essence, communal (ethnic) groups are 'psychological communities.' These are groups whose core members share a distinctive and enduring collective identity based on [similar] cultural traits and life-ways, [...] reinforcing traits that set a group apart in its own eyes or in the eyes of others" (control perceptions, gain perception control).
- [Ted Gurr, (Minorities at Risk project)1993a:152-1553] excerpt from Ethnoreligious Conflict in the Late Twentieth Century, Jonathan Fox, p. 25.
Because of this, Christian minorities in the Middle East are generally indistinguishable from the region's Muslim population other than by religious affiliation. To suppress or stamp out minorities from Islam (in order to protect and perpetuate the Islamic machine), there must be a telltale religious commandment breach by the infidel, punishable by death.

The global picture

As per the PewResearch Religion & Public Life Project, the world's two largest faiths, Christianity and Islam, make up almost half of the world's population and were the most widely targeted in 2012, facing official and social hostility in 110 and 109 countries respectively. Jews were targeted in 71 countries. Over a six-year period: Christians - 151 countries, Muslims - 135 countries, Jews - 95 countries. (Does this tell us something about the ongoing grand distraction of mankind and its unwavering subservience to irrational religious ideals? Where's the love? Better yet... what's the reason?)
"In ponerogenic processes, moral deficiencies, intellectual failings, and pathological factors intersect in a time-space causative network giving rise to individual and national suffering." - Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology
With global populations on the increase, it is easy to miss the rise to power of psychopaths and their quest for physical and political domination, accomplished outright, in part, through the structures and veils of religion, ideologies, perceptions and gullible congregations. In addition, mainstream societies currently do not offer the checks-and-balances, utilized by tribal societies,* that would limit their bid for control. Instead, psychopathy is on the upswing by consolidating power and manipulating the unsuspecting masses for personal gain, devoid of moral context or constraint.
*- Christopher Boehm, Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame

Inflicting pain, violating rights and acts of terror do not register in the brain-work of a psychopath. They do not have an emotional center that monitors right and wrong when they observe or inflict harm on others. Religious conformity and its sacred demands become "turf advantage" for psychopathy, given such manipulative affects and constraints on the non-psychopathic populace as in "turn the other cheek" or "kill the infidel."
"While approximately 6% of the world's population are born psychopaths, there is a significant percentage of border-line humans that experience an emotional deficiency that keeps them from feeling bad about hurting others, or who have been traumatized early in life that causes them to become this way. With more than 7 billion people on the planet means there are as many as 70,000,000 psychopaths alive today, whose self interests, greed and risk-taking tendencies dominate or subjugate those around them through manipulative means." - Joe Brewer, Common Dreams
The upshot

In many nations, fundamentalist religion and ideology supersedes the state to an extent that it is incompatible with a modern, liberal society. By pathological design, ignorance leaves an "opening for interpretation" to the advantage and utilization of psychopaths. Therefore, when a religion that allows radical interpretation is given undue credence, psychopaths and authoritarian followers, who would not otherwise have a political or social context to behave badly, are conveniently and subversively provided one.

A personal insult is, well, insulting. Add a religious reference and it becomes a "divine insult" - a unifying and obligatory mandate for retribution that cannot be ignored. Following the prescribed psychopathic pattern for a Muslim: To ignore is to disrespect. To disrespect, or abstain from participating, is akin to a death wish (a perception control). In Pakistan, if the mountain won't come to Muhammad, simply claim "they blasphemed."

See also:
The Psychopath: A New Subspecies of Homo Sapiens
Psychopathic Kyriarchy - Our Rulers Really Are Unempathic Predators
Psychopathy and Religion
The Lunacy of International Blasphemy Laws
Child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church
Political Ponerology: The Scientific Study of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes, Andrew M. Lobaczewski