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ICC Note:

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are one of the major reasons it’s known as one of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians. Each year, Christians and other religious minorities are falsely accused of blasphemy by people seeking to settle personal scores or incite religious hatred against their community. Attempts to repeal and reform these laws has led to major backlash, so many politicians in Pakistan are unwilling to make efforts to take on this issue. Will Pakistan ever be able to reform it’s notorious blasphemy laws? 

11/01/2017 Pakistan (MNN) – Pakistan, it’s listed as the fourth country where Christians face the worst persecution according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List (WWL). And one reason why is its blasphemy law which is frequently used to attack Christians.

“The blasphemy law in Pakistan [makes] sure that nobody defames the prophet Muhammad, or speaks [derogatorily] of the Quran, or treats a Quran in an irreverent way. So, they’re just protecting the Islamic faith,” FMI’s Bruce Allen shares.

“The abuse comes when people will say, ‘I charged XYZ person with blasphemy,’ simply in order to defame them, derail them, ruin their lives. Because– here’s the kicker — it’s a mandatory death sentence if you’re convicted of blasphemy.”

Allen says that often, the people being accused of blasphemy have not done anything to be considered truly blasphemous by the blasphemy law. Once accused, though, they are imprisoned and then sent to trial. But, it’s not uncommon for the individuals accused of blasphemy to not even make it to prison. That is because individuals in their community often take it upon themselves to right the supposed wrong of blasphemy.

“Once people in society know that someone has been accused of blasphemy, it just turns into mob violence and people in the street attack that person who’s being accused. They don’t care about looking for evidence, they just want to protect the honor of their Prophet or their book,” Allen explains.

“And so they will kill that person in the streets. They will burn down that person’s home. Family members are impacted. It really has gotten out of hand over the last few years in Pakistan.”

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