Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/7/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Fifteen annual cases involve mostly Muslim majority

Pakistan is generating global headlines due to its controversial anti-blasphemy laws. The arrest and imprisonment of an 11-year-old Christian girl for allegedly burning pages of the Noorani Qaida may be shocking, but it's only one of the eight to 15 cases of blasphemy that reach the Pakistani courts annually.

Without a legal definition of blasphemy in the Pakistan Penal Code, the strict anti-blasphemy laws here are ripe for misuse and abuse. Those accused of blasphemy usually arise from personal and religious rivalries.

Without a legal definition of blasphemy in the Pakistan Penal Code, the strict anti-blasphemy laws here are ripe for misuse and abuse. Those accused of blasphemy usually arise from personal and religious rivalries.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/7/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Pakistan, blasphemy, laws, mob violence, justice


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The majority of the blasphemy cases involve members of the Muslim majority here - rather than Pakistan's Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis who are charged.

Without a legal definition of blasphemy in the Pakistan Penal Code, the strict anti-blasphemy laws here are ripe for misuse and abuse. Those accused of blasphemy usually arise from personal and religious rivalries.

The punishment for those found guilty can range from a fine to death. However, there has never been an execution of a person charged with blasphemy in Pakistan. Convictions typically result in a prison sentence of at least three years.

There is a high rate of acquittal upon appeal. Unfortunately, the legal avenues for redress usually end in mob justice. When somebody is accused of blasphemy, they, their family and their community will likely be targeted.

Many feel the laws currently on the books run counter with Pakistan's founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

"You may belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state. In due course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims - not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual - but in a political sense as citizens of one state," declared Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's founder, in his first address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947.

In the latest instance, many of the Christian neighbors of the accused 11-year old reportedly fled their homes in the slum area of Islamabad where the Christian community is largely located. They claimed either fear of attack, or reports that senior members of the Muslim community allegedly pressured landlords to evict Christian tenants.

A man suspected of being mentally ill and accused of throwing pages of the Quran onto a street last month was hauled out from police custody in southern Punjab by a mob of hundreds, beaten to death, and his body set ablaze.

 "What comes with the mob mentality is that people would not even want to verify [the facts of a case]," Ejaz Akram, professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences says. "Mob psychology overrules common sense ... Everything is seen as black and white [and] the most unintelligent with the loudest voice commands the mob."

There have been 34 suspected extrajudicial killings of people accused of blasphemy between 1990 and 2010. Of those, 15 were Muslims, 16 were Christians, two were Ahmadis and one was a Hindu. They were either killed extra-judicially or found dead in prison under suspicious circumstances. Thirty-one of those deaths occurred in Punjab.

"Nobody has read the blasphemy law. Nobody understands which clauses were added when and why," Syed Zaid Hamid, a political commentator says. "It has become a weapon that is being used in sectarian wars. Facts and figures show that it is used against Muslims as well. The real problem lies with the interpretation of the law.

"We are against the religious fanatics who exploit this law. There are fundamental flaws in it," he adds.

.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

MASSIVE FAILURE - Good money after bad in Obama opium strategy Watch

Image of Afghan farmers work their fields, just as they have since the time of Alexander the Great.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Despite American and Coalition expenditures in Afghanistan, that country has produced a record crop of opium. The crop is important because it is often used to finance extremism in the far-flung region. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The United Nations Office on ... continue reading


Six times as many people are executed in China as the rest of the world COMBINED Watch

Image of New figures show that China may execute six times as many people as the rest of the world combined.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Dui Hua Foundation, a San Francisco-based human rights group, said that China executed 2,400 prisoners last year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Chinese government is sensitive about their executions, though the number of executed prisoners has decreased ... continue reading


How would you like to handle acid with your bare hands? For many in Bangladesh, this is their only option Watch

Image of A Bangladesh man handling toxic material without any protective equipment.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is a dark side in the growing labor sector of Bangladesh, one that makes workers look decades older than they are. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sharif Hossain is just one of the workers affected. The 35-year-old has worked in the city of Old Dhaka's ... continue reading


New Indonesian president promises a 'people-centric' government Watch

Image of Indonesia's new president, Joko Widodo, during his inaugural parade.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Indonesia got a new president, Joko Widodo, a 53-year-old man who was sworn in on October 20 after Bambang Yudhoyono stepped down after having served two five-year terms. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The man from the Javan slums already has a plan for his ... continue reading


Even state-recognized church in China targeted for persecution Watch

Image of The Chinese government has infringed upon the freedom of its citizens, including gross violations of human rights and targeting churches.

By CNA/EWTN News

The state of religious freedom in China is moving from bad to worse, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), responding to a new report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. (CNA/EWTN News) - "There's a huge gulf now" between China and the Catholic ... continue reading


Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death by hanging on blasphemy charges Watch

Image of In spite of international outrage and hundreds of thousands of people signing a petition for her release, Asia Bibi lost an appeal to have her sentence overturned. She now faces death by hanging.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Pakistani Christian woman has been sentenced to death by hanging following accusations that she made blasphemous comments about the prophet Mohammed. While harvesting berries in 2009, 46-year-old Asia Bibi got into a fight with a group of Muslim women who ... continue reading


Persecuted Indonesian Christians worship in strip mall Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Evangelical Christian Church in Bekasi, Indonesia is held in a most unusual place. Driven from traditional houses of worship on account of hardline Islamists, many Christians here have taken to worshiping in out-of-the-way places, such as this strip mall.  LOS ... continue reading


It's getting harder to be a Christian in Indonesia - hardline Muslims prevent the opening of churches, burn others Watch

Image of Indonesian Muslims demonstrate against Christians on Christmas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christians in Indonesia are facing increasing persecution as hardline Muslims gain more influence in government. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country and is moving increasingly towards Sharia law. JAKARTA, INDONESIA (Catholic Online) - Indonesia is the ... continue reading


Aware of Islamic State, Filipinos pray daily for Pope Francis' safety during January visit Watch

Image of General Gregorio Catapang Jr. asked in a statement that all Catholic service members to also pray a rosary daily for the Pope's safety when he visits the Philippines from January 15 to 19.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Gregorio Catapang Jr. asked in a statement that all Catholic service members to also pray a rosary daily for the Pope's safety when he visits the Philippines from January 15 to 19. Military and government ... continue reading


Jesuit social activists meet to ask -- have we failed the poor? Watch

Image of Secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace Teesta Setalvad drew the Jesuits' attention to the emerging socio-political situation in India that imperils Dalits, Adivasis and minorities.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recent convention of Jesuits engaged in social work in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka met in Bhopal. The question asked was, following decades of work, have we failed the poor? Much remains to be done, and a clear, ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter