ICC Calls for Release of Pakistani Christian
Serving Life for ‘Blasphemy’
Washington, D.C. (February 17, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) is calling for Pakistani officials to release a Christian man who is serving life imprisonment in Hajwairi, Pakistan following false allegations of blasphemy.
A Pakistani court sentenced Imran Masih to life imprisonment and fined him 100,000 Pakistani Rupees [$1182] on January 11, after his Muslim neighbor, Hajji Liaquat, accused him of burning the Qur’an.
On July 1, 2009, Masih was cleaning his shop when he came across Arabic literature. Before trashing it, he asked his Muslim neighbor, Liaquat, whether the book was Islamic literature. Liaquat assured him that it was not an Islamic book. However, after Masih burned the book, Liaquat showed the half-burned book to passersby and accused Masih of desecrating the Qur’an. Later, the local mosques incited Muslims to attack Masih by announcing that he had desecrated the Qur’an.
Masih ran for his life and hid at his house before the police arrived and arrested him. At the time of arrest, a mob of 400 Muslims had gathered outside Masih’s home. The mob was able to overpower the police and attack him.
The family of Masih immediately fled from Faisalabad because the Muslim protesters wanted to kill them. According to the family, Liaquat falsely accused Masih of desecrating the Qur’an because he wanted to rent the shop that Masih rented to run his business.
Christians in Pakistan have repeatedly been attacked by Muslim mobs after accusations of blasphemy. According to Pakistan ’s law, desecrating the Qur’an is considered blasphemy and results in life imprisonment.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and South Asia , Jonathan Racho, said, “We call upon Pakistani officials to release Imran Masih and ensure the safety of his family. Pakistan must revise its blasphemy law as it continues to be abused by Muslims to settle personal grudges against Christians.”
Please call the Pakistani Embassy in your country and politely ask the officials to release Imran Masih from prison.
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