Loading
US should press Pakistan to repeal blasphemy laws, says religious freedom group

.- The United States should press the government of Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws and to release a jailed Christian citizen facing blasphemy charges and death threats, says the Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom. Yousaf Masih, a 60-year-old Pakistani Christian, was arrested June 28 on the grounds that he desecrated the Koran. Under Pakistan's blasphemy laws, the offense carries a mandatory life sentence. In similar cases, those acquitted of blasphemy have gone into hiding after being threatened with murder by religious extremists. One judge who handed down an acquittal for blasphemy was murdered.

"The U.S. government considers Pakistan an ally in the war on terror but these blasphemy laws are a form of state-sponsored terror against its own people," said the center’s director, Nina Shea, in a July 13 press release.

"The U.S. should immediately reconsider its plans to sell F-16s to Pakistan until these laws are repealed and those accused of blasphemy are released from prison,” she added.

The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), a human rights group based in Pakistan, is assisting Masih in his defense. It reports that Masih faces immediate danger from other inmates who have beaten him and threatened to kill him.

Local Islamic organizations have held protest marches to demand the death penalty for Masih, prompting some local Christians to flee.

Masih told the APMA that in the course of his work as a janitor he was asked to burn discarded documents of which he had no knowledge and which he could not read because he is illiterate. Masih says he is being falsely blamed.

The initial charges were brought against Masih by his Muslim neighbors. If the case goes to court, Masih's testimony, under Pakistan's sharia law, could be given half the weight of his neighbors' because he is not Muslim.

"Pakistan's blasphemy laws violate due process and have been persistently used to persecute religious minorities, particularly Christians and Ahmadis, and to press personal grievances," said Shea. "These discriminatory laws should be abolished."

Some 80 Christians are now imprisoned for blasphemy in Pakistan, and 650 people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, have been falsely accused and arrested under the blasphemy laws since 1988.

The Center for Religious Freedom has recently published book, Radical Islam's Rules, which examines Pakistan's use of sharia law.


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?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
16

Liturgical Calendar

April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Gospel
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 50:4-9a
Gospel:: Mt 26:14-25

Homily of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Homily
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: