Muslims Want Christian Doctor Hanged Publicly for “Blasphemy” in Pakistan
5/14/08 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Dr. Robin Sardar, 55, a Christian by faith and a medical doctor by profession, was charged with violating Pakistan’s blasphemy laws (Pakistan Penal Code Section 295 B and C) in Hafizabad district on May 5, 2008.
In an interview with ICC, Dr. Shamaoun, a nephew of Dr. Robin Sardar, said that Sardar had a close friendship with a Muslim man named Muhammad Yousaf for years. They were often seen together at family gatherings and social events. However, Yousaf became resentful that Sardar, as a Christian, had such a good professional reputation, social status, and financial resources.
Shamaoun said that Yousaf’s envy at Sardar’s success boiled over when he told police that Sardar had made derogatory comments about the Prophet Muhammad’s beard and the Holy Quran. The police reportedly registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Sardar on May 5, 2008.
Shamaoun further stated that a mob of over 200 Muslims wearing green turbans, a symbol of their Islamic orthodoxy, attacked the doctor’s house and medical clinic after the FIR had been registered against him (Sardar’s residence and clinic are in the same building). The mob was holding sticks, guns and kerosene oil, and proceeded to force their way into the house, smashing windows and furniture throughout the house and clinic. The mob then turned on Sardar and his family.
Mr. Pervaiz Ghori, another of Sardar’s relatives, said that the mob would have killed him if the police had not intervened in the nick of time.
Since then, the religious extremists have organized daily demonstrations on the city’s roads demanding that Sardar be hanged publicly. Shamaoun said that all the Christians in the area, especially Dr. Sardar’s family members, are living in fear because the local Muslim clerics have been regularly using the mosque amplifier to call on people to kill the relatives of the Christian doctor.
Dr. Sardar was being held in the central jail for Gujranwala district at the time this report was written.
The National Commission for Justice and Peace, a human rights body of the Catholic Church in Pakistan, has taken up Dr. Sardar’s case, and is urging the authorities to withdraw the allegation and provide protection to religious minorities.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws treat insults against Islam as severly as they do cases of homicide. Violating Section 295 B (desecration of the Quran) can lead to life imprisonment, and breaking Section 295 C (desecration of the Prophet) carries a death sentence.
According to data collected by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, 892 individuals have been charged for blasphemy since the implementation of this disputed law in 1986. In first four months of 2008, 15 people were accused of blasphemy, and Dr. Sardar is the only Christian in this group.
Please contact the Pakistani embassy in your country and ask them to protect the rights of Christians and all religious minorities.
The Christian community in Pakistan remembers Bishop John Joseph who committed suicide to protest Pakistan’s blasphemy laws on May 6, 1998. Doctor Sardar’s case happened just a day before the community was to remember their religious leader on the 10th anniversary of his death.