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Blasphemy Legislation Strikes Minorities and Islamises the Country, Pakistan Priest Says

ICC Note

“ In blasphemy cases, judges are usually Muslim who, fearing for their safety, dare not openly oppose the enforcement of the law.”

11/05/2009 Pakistan (Asia News)-Blasphemy laws are a means fundamentalists use to hit the “country’s minorities and those who do not submit to their will,” Fr Bonnie Mendes told AsiaNews. The clergyman and human rights activist is currently in Italy as coordinator for Caritas Asia. He denounces a “specific plan to attack anywhere anytime in order to Islamise Pakistan .”

Last week, AsiaNews launched an awareness campaign about Pakistan ’s blasphemy laws, which impose life in prison or the death penalty on anyone who desecrates the Qur‘an or defiles the name of the Prophet Muhammad.

“Widespread corruption is the first problem,” he said. “The government however is unable to uproot it. In blasphemy cases, judges are usually Muslim who, fearing for their safety, dare not openly oppose the enforcement of the law.”

However, there are small signs of home. Some fringes within the ruling political class “want change”. Even among Muslim religious leaders, “some voices are emerging against the blasphemy laws.”

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