Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/30/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Asia Pacific

Two thousand Indian girls killed daily due to preference for male children Watch

Image of A May 2011 study in British medical journal The Lancet found that up to 12 million Indian girls were aborted over the last three decades.

By Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Two thousand girls are "killed" every day due to a preference for sons in India with most aborted or murdered just after birth, the country's minister for women and child development said. NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Despite laws that ban parents ... continue reading


13-year-old Indian girl, forced into arranged marriage, seeks help from school principal with touching letter Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Begging for help, a 13-year-old girl from India wrote to her school principal after failing to convince her own parents not to have her married early. Identified as Duli Hembrom, the girl was reportedly arranged to get married by April 22, according to her ... continue reading


CHINESE BEAT COLUMBUS: Bronze artifacts suggest East Asia traded with New World 2,600 years ago Watch

Image of Archaeologists have discovered a bronze and leather buckle and a bronze whistle, dating to around 600 A.D.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a series of bronze artifacts found at the "Rising Whale" site in Cape Espenberg, Alaska, trade was taking place between East Asia and the New World hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Pakistani Christian boy dies after being set on fire by Muslims Watch

Image of Fourteen-year-old Nauman Masih said he did not know the identities of his attackers. His attending physician, Dr. Shahid Hussain confirmed Nauman's death this week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fourteen-year-old Nauman Masih, a Pakistani Christian boy has died five days after being set on fire by two Muslim men. Nauman was set on fire in an apparent sectarian attack in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, last week. Fifty percent of his body was ... continue reading


One million people forced to harvest Uzbek cotton last year Watch

Image of An Uzbek woman picks cotton at a field near the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

By Maria Caspani, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Uzbek government forced into labor more than one million people in the 2014 cotton harvest, while officials siphoned off profits at unprecedented levels, a rights group said on Monday. NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More public service workers were ... continue reading


Mass whale stranding in Japan spurs fear of impending earthquake Watch

Image of Experts say that while it was possible the whales frightened by disturbances in the Earth's electromagnetic field caused by movement in the tectonic plates, there were was no firm evidence of this.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Could it be an ominous forebear of an impending natural catastrophe? The mass stranding of 160 melon-headed whales on two beaches in Japan has many fearful that it portends an earthquake and tsunami. A species of dolphin, the whales were found washed up along a ... continue reading


Anti-vaccination parents in Australia denied up to $15,000 in benefits Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In Australia, starting January 2016, changes in childcare and welfare will take effect and will take toll on parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated. The No Ja, No Play campaign by The Sunday Telegraph has won the support to protect children through ... continue reading


American aid worker deported from North Korea for alleged spying Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Accused of anti-Pyongyang plot-breeding, Sandra Suh was deported from North Korea and arrived in Beijing, China this week, according to the United States Embassy spokesman Nolan Barkhouse. The American aid worker had been frequenting North Korea "under the pretense of ... continue reading


WORLDWIDE WARNING!: Missing Malaysian aircraft MH370 may be stored in Muslim country and used to carry out nuclear attacks on U.S. Watch

Image of After months of intense searching, no evidence of the planes remainings has been located in the water, despite the high technology used to search. (AFP, Getty Images)

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Locals from a small island community in the Maldives claim they saw an unusual large jet flying very low over their island of Kudahuvadhoo on March 8, 2014, the day Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Amazing ancient underground city uncovered in Turkey Watch

Image of Millions of years ago, volcanic activity covered the region under several layers of ash. Erosion then created a landscape of rock formations and spires known as

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hiding underground from malevolent forces has always been with humankind, it appears. Builders in Turkey accidentally found one of the largest and most complex underground cities in the otherworldly region of Cappadocia. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... 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, Acts 4:8-12
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 21, 29
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:11-18
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays ... Read More

Reading 2, First John 3:1-2
1 You must see what great love the Father has ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 26th, 2015 Image

St. Cletus
April 26: St. Cletus was the third bishop of Rome, and succeeded St. ... 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