30 August, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 10/13/2008
PAKISTAN
A Christian man and his daughter arrested, almost lynched for blasphemy
by Qaiser Felix
Rumours spread in a village near Faisalabad that a Christian girl ripped some pages from the Qur’an. But more than one version of the facts is making the rounds of the village. Anti-Christian intolerance is growing in the country and a Pakistani lawmaker says the “accusations are a fabrication” to persecute Christians.

Chak Jhumra (AsiaNews) – A Christian man, Gulsher Masih, and his daughter Sandal have been charged with blasphemy under Article 295 B of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly tearing some pages from the Qur’an last Thursday in the village of Tehsil Chak Jhumra, in Faisalabad district. Without police intervention they could have been lynched by an angry mob.

Some Muslims who walked by the Gulsher home said they saw Sandal Gulsher and her father Masih tear some pages from the Qur’an and throw them into the street. The story eventually made to the village mosques so that by Thursday evening an enraged mob, including people from neighbouring villages, marched through the village calling for the death of the blasphemers.

Deputy Inspector Faryad told AsiaNews that once the mob was at the Gulsher home they began stoning the building, striking doors and windows with sticks (see photo). They also stoned a nearby Protestant church.

Police took the entire Gulsher family into custody for their “own protection,” he added. “Vans full of Muslims were driving to the village but were stopped by police.”  

A local Christian resident, Ayub Khawar, told AsiaNews that at one point the mob seemed poised to attack other Christian homes. Frightened beyond belief he ran home where he turned off the lights; in total darkness he told his family to keep absolute quiet.

Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian lawmaker and chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), told AsiaNews that the charge is a total fabrication. For him “there is no direct evidence and the police has not investigated the case.”

Blasphemy charges are made against Christians just to strike at them. Only a few days ego the Gulshers had a public row with some Muslims.

The APMA was able to get the family members not directly involved in the case out of prison and into a safe house where they are hiding.

Bhatti said that his organisation “will take care of legal and financial matters for the family. Our lawyers will soon submit a bail application.”

AsiaNews went to the village to investigate the affair a day after the incident and spoke to various Muslims about it, finding that people have different versions of the alleged blasphemy.

One Ghulam Ghaus said that three Christian kids from 10 to 12 years of age, including a son of the Gulshers, stole a Qur’an from a local mosque. They tore off some pages to play with and then left them on the ground where they were found. Eventually someone accused Sandal and the rumour spread.

Master Kamal, a teacher at a Christian elementary school, said that Sandal found the pages among rubbish in the street. After picking them up she gave them to a Muslim woman who then accused her of blasphemy.

Also on Thursday a similar accusation was made in Faisalabad against a Muslim named Rehmat Ali.

A passer-by said he saw Rehmat, who is mentally ill, throw pages of the Qur’an into a drain. He called out to other passers-by and together they began beating him until the arrival of the police which then arrested him.

The mob did not stop though and kept protesting in the streets, calling for the miscreant’s death, going so far as to storm the Batala Colony Station where Rehmat was detained. Only after using sticks and tear gas was the police able to beat back the assault.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
04/27/2007 PAKISTAN
Mob and police torture Catholic man accused of blasphemy
by Qaiser Felix
05/24/2006 PAKISTAN
Minorities against the blasphemous and satanic Da Vinci Code
by Qaiser Felix
01/26/2007 PAKISTAN
Another Christian imprisoned for “blasphemy”
by Qaiser Felix
05/20/2008 PAKISTAN
New “blasphemy” case, Catholic lawmaker against government
by Qaiser Felix
08/10/2005 PAKISTAN
Christian charged with blasphemy released
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.