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04/28/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has encouraged other Muslim-majority countries to band together in trade boycotts pressuring Western countries to pass blasphemy laws. These laws would criminalize speaking against the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are among the world’s most notorious for their harsh punishments and rampant misuse as tools for the persecution of religious minorities. The laws are systematically used to oppress Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and others, serving as a social, political, and legal muzzle on those who do not subscribe to the majority belief in Islam.

Khan’s call for the expansion of blasphemy laws around the world comes as the TLP, a radical political party, is calling for the French ambassador to be expelled from Pakistan after French President Emmanuel Macron defended the free speech rights of a French magazine following its publication of a cartoon depicting Muhammed. The calls have turned violent, now being supported by protests reacting to Khan’s refusal to eject the French ambassador.

Prime Minister Khan leads a country that has one of the worst records on religious freedom. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom published its annual report last week and again recommended that the Department of State designate Pakistan a Country of Particular Concern for its severe and ongoing violations of religious freedom. One of the leading causes for the recommendation is Pakistan’s use of blasphemy laws to oppress religious minorities.

For interviews, contact Alison Garcia: [email protected].