Muslim Radicals Mistakenly Murder Brother of a Pakistani Christian Accused of Blasphemy
1/23/08 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Islamic extremists have murdered a man after mistaking him for his brother who had been accused of blasphemy against Islam. Simon Emmanuel was shot to death on January 9, 2008, after his brother who has been living in the United States came home to visit his family.
Simon Emmanuel was the brother of Younis Tasadaq, who was imprisoned in 1998 on charges that he had committed blasphemy against Islam. According to Pakistani law, blasphemy is punishable by death. Due to pressure from human rights organizations, however, Tasadaq was released and fled to the United States in 1999. Last year, he decided to visit his ailing mother, and when certain extremist Muslims found out about his arrival, they decided to kill him. At midnight on January 9, 2008 a group of extremists arrived at the house where Tasadaq was staying and shot his older brother to death, mistaking him for Tasadaq.
The Pakistan police in the area attempted to cover up the shooting by treating it as a suicide case and did not register a case against the killers. Emmanuel’s family contacted a Pakistan-based Christian human rights organization and asked them to interfere in the case. The human rights organization brought the case to the attention of police in Toba Tek Singh and pressured them to file a case against the culprits that murdered Emmanuel.
Located in Gojra District, the town of Toba Tek Singh is mostly Muslim but has a small Christian minority. This is not the first time that Christians have been killed in the town. On May 22, 2004, a young Christian Pakistani was tortured to death by Islamic extremists. Several Christians living in the city have also been falsely accused of blasphemy, thus causing them to fear death by law or by the kind of vigilante extremists that murdered Simon Emmanuel.