Debunked: Lies About Aurat March Being Spread By Extremist Quarters
For the last two days, dangerous allegations of blasphemy have been circulating against Aurat March participants by rightwing groups in social media. Some of these allegations are in the form of carefully doctored videos and images that are putting the lives of the women organizers in danger. Shamefully, this doctored material and false propaganda about blasphemy has been shared by mainstream journalists like Ansar Abbasi and Orya Maqbool Jan, and multiple politicians from mainstream parties without verifying it.
We wish to make clear that each and every one of these allegations is completely false and part of a malicious campaign to silence women from speaking out about their rights. This document debunks each and every one of those allegations with evidence and references.
Allegation 1: The flag of France was raised at the Islamabad Aurat Azadi March
The first allegation is regarding the use of the France flag in the Islamabad march. This is false because the flag that was used at the march is of the grassroots Pakistani women’s organization Women’s Democratic Front. The French flag has blue, white and red stripes while the WDF flag, which was used at the march, has red, white and purple stripes, and in a different order.
Please watch this WDF explainer video dispelling the accusations that the French flag was being waved at Aurat March when the flag in question was the WDF flag. Watch and share! #apologizetoauratmarch pic.twitter.com/csvx4xsGgS
— Women Democratic Front #AuratAzadiMarch2021 (@wdf_pk) March 11, 2021
The WDF flag was adopted at WDF’s founding conference in 2018 in Islamabad. This flag has been widely used in recent years and evidence of this exists all over the internet and the press, some of which is provided below. WDF stands against all forms of imperialism and would never raise the flag of a former colonial power like France.
Allegation 2: There was alleged blasphemous text on a banner/blanket in Lahore
The second allegation is regarding text on a banner/blanket in Lahore that religious parties are suggesting was blasphemous. The truth is, the banner was related to the testimony written by a female victim of child sexual abuse, who was molested by a Qari from a local mosque when she was 9 years old and he was 50. It had nothing to do with any religious figure. The organizers from AM Lahore have made it explicitly clear that they were talking about child abuse. It is only through deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation that the banner in question.
Allegation 3: Blasphemous slogans were raised at Aurat March Karachi:
The third allegation is that the words ‘Allah’ and ‘Rasool’ were used in slogans in Aurat March Karachi. The truth is that the words in the slogans were ‘Mullah’, ‘Fazloo’ (Fazlur Rehman), ‘Ansar’ (Abbas) and Orya (Maqbool Jan). Fake subtitles were maliciously added to the video of the slogans to make them appear blasphemous, which in itself constitutes a serious cyber crime bordering on both blasphemy and hate speech, which should be acted against by FIA.
Aurat March Karachi has shared the full list of slogans in the video being circulated as blasphemous which are as follows. There is not a single mention of Allah, the Prophet (PBUH) or any holy personality in the slogans. Any allegation of blasphemy in the slogans is a complete falsehood.
Here’s is the original slogan, here is our real voice 🗣
The Aurat March faces severe backlash every year. Our videos & posters are targeted & manipulated, spreading misinformation to malign the March.#AuratMarch2021#PatriarchykaPandemic#StopSpreadingFakeNews pic.twitter.com/piowxqMUEK
— Aurat March – عورت مارچ (@AuratMarchKHI) March 11, 2021