Another Christian teenager held for blasphemy in Pakistan

October 19, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

A Muslim mob ransacked the home of a 16-year-old Christian boy accused of sending a blasphemous text messagePakistan, October 15, 2012: A Muslim mob ransacked the home of a 16-year-old Christian boy accused of sending a blasphemous text message; he has been charged with Pakistan’s most serious “blasphemy” offence, which carries the death penalty.

Ryan Stanten allegedly forwarded on Tuesday 9 October a text containing material deemed offensive to Islam. It was sent to fellow residents of a middle-class colony in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, for employees of a gas company.

The 16-year-old was brought before the gas company boss and a local imam; Ryan told them that he had received the text message from someone else and then forwarded it to Muslim friends without reading it.

The following day, an angry Muslim mob led by Islamic clerics attacked the home where Ryan lives with his mother, Rubina Bryan. They ransacked the property and set fire to numerous household items, including a bed, washing machine and fridge, after dragging them into the street. The assailants also shouted insults against the Christian family, who had already abandoned the house.

The police arrived at the scene and tried to appease the protestors by assuring them that a case would be registered.

Ryan was subsequently detained and charged with the most serious blasphemy offence in the Pakistan Penal Code, section 295-C, which carries the death penalty for using derogatory remarks against Muhammad. He was also charged under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Act and Telegraph Act.

His mother has reportedly been dismissed from her job at the gas company.

The case against Ryan Stanten follows that of compatriot Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old Christian girl detained on a blasphemy charge in August. She has been released on bail pending her next court appearance, scheduled for 17 October.

– barnabas team

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