Christian boy & mother detained on false “blasphemy” charge, until Muslim & Christian politicians intervene to secure their release

November 10, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pakistan, November 11, 2016: On 20 October, a Christian woman and her nine-year-old son, were arrested by police in Quetta, falsely accused of burning pages from the Quran. After four days of questioning Shakila and Izhan were released when Christian and Muslim politicians intervened. William John Barkat, a Christian member of the Provincial Assembly, engaged with Muslim political colleagues to pacify enraged local Muslims and calm the fears of Christians, because news of blasphemy accusations against Christians often sparks mob violence against the whole of the local Christian community. Three of the politicians are members of the Islamist party, Jamiat Ulema Islam

Barkat’s action was prompted by the Christian legal aid organisation, CLAAS, which is supported by Barnabas Fund.  CLAAS said, “The entire Christian community has appreciated the role of Muslim and Christian political leaders for taking responsible measures to avoid any conflict between the two communities. It is stressed that it is urgently needed to take such kind of prompt action whenever such incidents take place so that there may not be loss to the lives and properties of innocent people.”

This is far from being the only case of a Christian child or woman being targeted using the “blasphemy laws”. As reported previously, 16-year-old Nabeel Masih was accused under the “blasphemy law”; his family and even his lawyers have faced death threats. Convicted on a false accusation of blasphemy, mother-of-five Aasia Bibi’s appeal against the death sentence has been postponed indefinitely. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often abused in order to settle personal grudges; Christians and other non-Muslims are particularly vulnerable to false accusations.

– barnabas persecution update

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