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Save Christians and Pakistan from the blasphemy law

ICC Note

Pakistan has to amend its blasphemy law which is causing violence against Christians.

By Dario Salvi

10/30/2009 Pakistan (Pakistan Christian Post)-Robert Fanish Masih is the latest Christian victim of the blasphemy law in force in Pakistan since 1986.

This law punishes with imprisonment or the death those who profane or desecrate the Koran or the prophet Muhammad. It’s enough to accuse a person of this to have him arrested and imprisoned. A aberrant law and harbinger of discrimination, which “legalizes” violence against religious minorities and whose perpetrators go unpunished in most cases, thanks to the connivance of police and government officials. 20 year old Robert from the village of Jaithikey , not far from the city of Samberial in the district of Sialkot ( Punjab ), was arrested on Sept. 12 on charges of blasphemy. The day before a crowd of Muslims had gathered around the local church first damaging the building, then setting it on fire. The extremists also looted two houses adjoining the church.

The accusations of blasphemy often lead to decreeing the destruction of homes and Christian villages. On 30 July a crowd of 3 thousand Muslims attacked and burned the villages of Koriyan to punish an alleged case of blasphemy. On August 1 the fanatics attacked the village of Gojra , killing 7 people, including women and children, burning them alive. The history of recent decades in Pakistan is full of attacks on churches and Christian villages on the grounds of perfectly fabricated blasphemy scandals: Kasur (June 2009), Tias ( Karachi , April 2009); Sangla Hill (2005); Shantinagar (1997). The Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights (JAC), a Pakistani non-governmental organization that campaigns for human rights in the country, expresses “great concern” about the increasing violence, while the Christian community through appeals – which have so far fallen on deaf ears – for justice to be done; promises of compensation remain unfulfilled

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