Anger as BBC Asian Network Muslim presenter asks for ideas to PUNISH blasphemy

The BBC presenter sparked uproar when she asked BBC Asian Network Twitter followers: “What is the right punishment for blasphemy?”

The question was criticised by viewers horrified that the BBC would assume that blasphemy must be punished in some form.

Muslim activist Shazia Awan asked viewers to offer their opinions on the method to punish those that commit blasphemy.

Blasphemy is already punished by death or severe jail terms in some Muslim-majority countries, such as Pakistan and Malaysia.

Critics online hit out at the presenter for asking the “disgraceful” question.

One viewer wrote: “There should be no punishment. It’s the 21st century.”

Ali A. Rivaz asked: “Is this a serious question?”

Linda Sulher wrote: “This is BRITAIN, folks. WOW” while another said: “Disgraceful that BBC Asian Network would ask what ‘punishment’ should be for blasphemy.

“You know people get killed for it.”

Critics online hit out at the presenter

Jeffrey Peel tweeted: “Are you serious? You’re funded by British licence payers who cherish freedom of speech.”

Another asked: “BBC are you serious? Asking a question like this in 2017? Why are you perpetuating this barbaric Stone Age thinking?”

By the next day, the BBC tweeted its “apologies” for the “poorly worded question”.

A spokesperson added: “We never intend to imply Blasphemy should be punished. Provocative question that got it wrong.”

Blasphemy is still punishable by death in some Muslim countries

In a statement, the BBC said: “Asian Network’s Big Debate asks difficult and provocative questions every day.

“This programme was an engaging discussion on the subject of blasphemy but we admit that the question could have been phrased better, as we have since made clear.”

The bizarre video came after Pakistan demanded that Facebook help to “crack down on blasphemous content”.

Facebook have already agreed to send a team out to the country to potentially help.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif described blasphemy as an “unpardonable offence”.

Since 1990, 62 people accused of blasphemy in Pakistan have been murdered before their trials ended.

Blasphemy has not been illegal in England and Wales since 2008 when the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act abolished the common-law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.