Loading
Man framed with Koran desecration dies in police custody
Man framed with Koran desecration dies in police custody

.- The Catholic and Anglican bishops of Pakistan have written to the country’s president demanding an inquiry after a young Christian man died under suspicious circumstances in police custody. The man’s relationship with a Muslim woman sparked anti-Christian riots after the woman’s disapproving mother accused him of blasphemy.

The body of Robert Fanish, 19, was released to his family on Tuesday, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reports. His body was covered with marks on his torso and arms, leading observers to believe he had been severely beaten.

The marks on his body call into question the official police claim that Fanish hung himself. The results of a post-mortem examination are expected within days.

More than 3,000 people attended Fanish’s funeral on Tuesday. The funeral turned into a demonstration by people demanding an investigation into the teenager's death.

An official memorandum signed by the Bishops’ Conferences of both the Catholic Church and the Church of Pakistan requests a “fair inquiry” into his death. The memorandum has been sent to Pakistan President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Gilani and Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of the Punjab Province and brother of former Prime Minister Nawar Sharif.

Fr. Andrew Nisari, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Lahore, told ACN that everyone is “furious” about what happened to Fanish.

“For us it is clear that the police have taken the law into their own hands and have killed him,” he said.

Fanish had been in a relationship with an 18-year-old Muslim woman whose mother was determined to break off their connection. Clergy have alleged that the mother ripped a page containing verses of the Koran out of a book and was seen throwing it in front of the man’s house.

She accused him of desecrating the Koran, sparking a rampage by Muslim extremists. Hundreds of Christians fled for their lives from the Punjab province’s village of Jethki. Extremists burned down a church and several Christian homes.

Fanish was detained in prison while police investigated.

After his detention, Fr. Nisari had initially said Christians were glad he was in jail.

“At least there he will be safe. It means he won’t be killed by the fanatic Muslims,” he had told ACN.

In his most recent comments, Fr. Nisari noted that the outbreak of anti-Christian violence was the fourth in three months. Each incident was sparked by an allegation of blasphemy. Last month, nine people were killed in a violent episode in the Punjab city of Gojra.

The priest reported that Christians in Pakistan feel increasingly under strain.

“The situation for us is getting worse and worse. There is a wave of unrest going around the country in which people are using any opportunity they can to put pressure on Christians,” he explained.

Fr. Nisari told ACN that demonstrations at Fanish’s funeral coincided with a demonstration of 600 people in front of the Press Club in Lahore.

Christian leaders both inside and outside Pakistan have called for the abolition of the country's strict Blasphemy Laws.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Jul
25

Liturgical Calendar

July 25, 2014

Saint James, Apostle

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Gospel
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 2 Cor 4: 7-15
Gospel:: Mt 20: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. James »

Saint
Date
07/25/14
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Homily
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: