Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/30/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Many now face death penalty, life imprisonment.

To date, no one has been put to death under Pakistan's blasphemy law. However, the law is increasingly being used by Muslim extremists. Vigilantes frequently entrap and sometimes kill adherents of minority religions accused of blasphemy. A climate of fear has forced browbeaten judges into holding court sessions inside jails. In addition, witnesses have been prevented from coming to the defense of those on trial.

Many say that Pakistan blasphemy law unfairly target religious minorities, including Christians.

Many say that Pakistan blasphemy law unfairly target religious minorities, including Christians.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/30/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Pakistan, blasphemy, religious minorities, persecurtion


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said in its 2014 world report that "abuses are rife under [Pakistan]'s abusive blasphemy law, which is used against religious minorities, often to settle personal disputes."

Thirty-four people were charged with blasphemy last year. A government statistic says 27 were charged in 2012, according to According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. At least 16 people are currently on death row for blasphemy, while another 20 are serving life sentences, according to Human Rights Watch.

Something to wear -- over your heart --


"In the last three years we have seen a large increase in the number of cases of blasphemy," Keith Davies, head of RescueChristians says. The group is a U.S.-based charity that started operations in Pakistan four years ago.

Several Christians are reportedly waiting for travel documents to secretly leave Pakistan, while others are in jail awaiting trial and targeted for death by militant groups.

Pakistan's blasphemy law predates the founding of the country in 1947, when it seceded from India. During the 1980s, the U.S.-backed military dictator, Gen. Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq amended it to add the death penalty and single out Islam as the religion that may not be insulted, among other changes.

Pakistan is far from the only country with blasphemy laws. Blasphemy is punishable in more than 30 countries, including some with predominantly Christian populations, such as Poland and Greece.

The majority of Pakistan's 180 million people are Sunni Muslims who do not support the militants' violence or their intolerance for religious minorities. Shiite Muslims there complain that even the smallest quarrel can land them in jail on trumped-up blasphemy charges.

While some support blasphemy laws, the Pakistani version has been derided as "ambiguous" and easily distorted by militant Sunnis who want to rid the country of Shiites.

In an example of the swift and brutal changes that can be wrought by blasphemy charges here, Governor Salman Taseer was assassinated by his own guard after defending a Christian woman charged with blasphemy three years ago.

One religious minority in Pakistan under attack is the Ahmadiyya sect contends that the Mehdi or savior, who is prophesized in Islam, came about 100 years ago. This belief challenges Prophet Muhammad's position as Islam's last prophet, a basic tenet of the faith. Pakistan amended its constitution in 1974 to make it a crime for Ahmadis, as they are called, to identify themselves as Muslims.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Faithful gather to celebrate 500 years of the Catholic Church in Myanmar Watch

Image of Christianity remains a small minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the Catholic Church there begins to celebrate its 500 years there, Christianity remains a small minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. According to a census conducted this year, Catholics number about 750,000 out of a population estimated at just over ... continue reading


China's icy heart? Has the Catholic Church warmed up the Asian superpower? Watch

Image of China has 12 million Catholics, but they are often split between support for the local state-run Church and the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Relations between the Vatican and China have been frosty since the communist takeover in the 1950s, and the Holy See has found it very difficult to warm relations with the Asian superpower. But with an unprecedented proposal from China, all that could very well ... continue reading


Lessons not learned: 132 Indian women sterilized in five hours following tragedy Watch

Image of Senior officials in Ghuvara acknowledged that the family planning camp was organized by government authorities, but refused to speak on record.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The nation of India recently saw the deaths of 13 women, with as many as 50 women seriously injured after a hasty mass sterilization camp in Ghuvara in Chhatarpur district. Lessons were not learned, it appears, as another 132 women were reportedly operated upon ... continue reading


Two billion people drink water contaminated by feces Watch

Image of According to WHO, inadequate water supply and sanitation results in annual economic losses of $260 billion.

By Magdalena Mis, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Nearly two billion people use water contaminated by feces, posing a global health risk despite billions of dollars spent on sanitation, said a report published on Wednesday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - One in seven people, mostly poor and living in ... continue reading


Five million people expected in Goa, India to venerate St. Francis Xavier Watch

Image of The saint, who died in 1552, has his remains preserved in a glass-paneled silver casket and kept inside the 16th-century Basilica of Bom Jesu (Good Jesus).

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five million people are expected to flood Goa, India in order to venerate the remains of 16th century Spanish missionary Francis Xavier. The remains will be on display for 40 days beginning this weekend.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In order to ... continue reading


PHOTO: Baby born with four arms, four legs in India called 'God's baby' Watch

Image of The family understands the excitement and interest in their newest member.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A baby boy born with four arms and four legs is drawing crowds to Baruipur, a city in India's eastern West Bengal State. The child has been called "God Boy" by his parents as he resembles a Hindu deity with multiple arms and legs.  LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Eight reasons why North Korea's leaders should be tried for crimes against humanity Watch

Image of Kim Jong Un could face an international court, however the odds are very slim.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Telegraph has published a list of eight crimes for which North Korea and its leadership could be tried in international court. Although the odds of anyone from North Korea facing such justice are long, the world should be prepared because anything could happen in ... continue reading


Stripped naked, Indian woman forced to parade on donkey through village Watch

Image of Said woman was accused of killing her nephew, Vardi Singh, by his wife and relatives, and found guilty by a council of elders.

By Kieran Guilbert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

A woman in northern India was stripped naked and paraded through her village on a donkey after being accused of murdering her nephew, according to a BBC News report on Monday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The village council in Rajsamand district in ... continue reading


DEPTHS OF DEPRAVITY: Two U.S. men flee Thailand after allegedly shipping BABY PARTS overseas Watch

Image of According to officials, the two men's package included a severed baby's head and a child's left foot cut into three separate pieces.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's too early for Christmas - but two American men are on the run after a grisly package that they allegedly shipped from Thailand made it back to the states. According to officials, the men's package included a severed baby's head and a child's left foot cut ... continue reading


One group fights to save the lives of thousands of newborns Watch

Image of In Nepal, superstition and suspicion is being fought with science in order to save the lives of thousands of babies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ongoing campaign in Nepal to cut down on the number of newborn deaths is being carried out by thousands of volunteers, aided by the U.S. Development Agency (USAID). LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Bhumisara Upadhyay is just one of these volunteers, who ... 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, Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
11 "For the Lord Yahweh says this: Look, I myself ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 23:1-2, 2-3, 5, 6
1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:31-46
31 'When the Son of man comes in his glory, escorted ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
20 In fact, however, Christ has been raised from the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 23rd, 2014 Image

Bl. Miguel Pro
November 23: Born on January 13, 1891 in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Agustin ... 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