Pakistan Christians Raise Voices to Defend Against Blasphemy Accusations
The Christian Post
The Christian minority in Pakistan s Sangla Hill appeared before a judicial inquiry to testify, in face of accusations of blasphemy that has triggered Muslim attacks on churches.
The appearance of Christians on Monday, Nov. 28, was decided by the Christian Action Committee Sangla Hill over a meeting presided by Father Samson Dilawar, under the assistance of legal experts, according to the Pakistan national newspaper the Daily Times.
Prior to this meeting, the Committee had once insisted for a High Court inquiry and declined to testify before the sessions judge-level inquiry commission, the Daily Times report added.
On Nov. 12, a massive Muslim mob torched a series of Christian settlements in Sangla Hill in eastern Pakistan s Punjab province. Three churches, a convent, a Christian School , a girls’ hostel and a priest’s home were burnt into ashes, as the Muslims charged a Christian named Yusaf Masih of blasphemy for allegedly desecrating the Koran.
Four major church leaders in Sangla Hill have strongly defended Masih in a joint letter to the Pakistan President. They argued that two Muslims, who have lost money to Masih in a gambling, were trying to use the blasphemy law to settle their personal disputes.
Over the past two weeks since the unrest broke out, Masih has been detained by the authorities for investigation. If the charge against Masih is justified, he will be subjected to death penalty under the blasphemy law.
New development of the case emerged last Saturday, as the statements of two Muslim witnesses made before the judge-level inquiry, have shaken the accusations of blasphemy leveled against Masih, according to AsiaNews. They said that Masih and his accuser Mohammad Saleem were fighting in a place different to that recorded in the blasphemy charge.
Meanwhile, international Christian organizations and Christians across Pakistan continue to call for a total repeal of the blasphemy law, saying it has been abused by religious extremists to discriminate against minority Christians.