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ICC Note:

A Christian teenager in Pakistan was nearly beaten to death by a mob of enraged Muslims after being accused of burning a Quran. Police were able to intervene to save the Christian, but have put him under arrested due to the blasphemy accusations. According to the Christian teenager’s family, he is being framed by a Muslim business rival. False accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan are common and are often fueled by religious hatred or personal score settling. Will this Christian teenager be found innocent?  

08/22/2017 Pakistan (The Independent) – A Christian Pakistani teenager narrowly avoided being beaten to death after being accused of burning a Quran, according to reports.

The 16-year-old had to be rescued by officers after a mob broke into a police station to try and kill him.

Asif Stephen worked collecting recyclables from the shrine of Sundhay Shah, Jhamkay, where it was alleged he stole a copy of the Quran and burned it.

He was detained under the country’s blasphemy laws, among the most stringent in the world.

But his family said a rival hawker, Muhammad Nawaz, falsely accused the boy in order to eliminate him as a business rival.

The Quran was found burned in July but earlier this month Mr. Nawaz accosted Mr. Stephen in a market place and shouted that he had caught the person who burned the Quran, it is said.

“Qari Rana Arshid, who’s the pesh imam at a mosque, arrived there and without confirming anything, he too started beating up my son,” said Stephen Masih, the teenager’s father, to the Express Tribune.

The police arrived at the scene and took Mr Stephen into custody. But the mob, led by the imam, broke into the facility and began to attack the boy further, it is reported.

The police were forced to call for reinforcements to save his life from the crowd.

“The police saved him from the enraged mob,” sub-inspector Pervez Iqbal told the newspaper.

“His family should be grateful to the police. The mob surrounded the police station but we pacified the protesters with the help of the notables of the area.”

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