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  • » 03/06/2008, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    An 80-year-old Ahmadi man arrested for blasphemy

    Qaiser Felix

    Police in Kabeer wala arrest the old believer, charging him with ripping and throwing pages of the Qur‘an on the ground.

    Kabeer wala (AsiaNews) – His name is Altaf Husain and he is an 80-year-old man. He was arrested by police in Kabeer wala for desecrating the Qur‘an, a crime which is punishable with life in prison according to the Pakistan Criminal Code.

    The elderly man belongs to the Ahmadiyya, a Muslim religious movement condemned as heretical in 1974. With perhaps as many as 3 million followers, especially in Punjab, the Ahmadi community has suffered from harassment and persecution.

    According to police, a student saw Altaf Husain rip pages out of a Qur‘an last Monday and throw them on the ground. When he shouted at him to stop, the old Ahmadi ran off.

    Conversely, members of the Ahmadi community said that Altaf Husain was just reading the power meter outside his home when a madrassa student warned him that he was stepping on a page of the Qur‘an. The 80-year-old man failed to understand what the boy was saying when the latter began shouting, accusing him of blasphemy. Police arrived soon after and arrested the alleged offender.

    The spokesman for the Ahmadiyya community, Saleem Ud-Din, told AsiaNews that the charges are baseless, that they are just a way to persecute Ahmadis.

    For Ud-Din no one in the community could desecrate the holy text. What the community wants instead is for the government to put a stop to such incidents which are sowing hatred against the Ahmadi community.

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    See also

    23/07/2010 PAKISTAN
    Woman freed after spending 14 years in prison without trial for “blasphemy”
    Zaibul Nisa had been arrested on vague blasphemy charges. The judge who released her is dismayed by her long and unjust confinement. Her lawyer complains that she “was sent to jail and then forgotten by everyone.”

    06/12/2013 PAKISTAN - ISLAM
    Sharia court rules blasphemers can only be punished with death penalty
    The Federal Sharia Court accepts lawyer's petition claiming that the death penalty, not life in prison, is the only punishment in blasphemy cases. Under Nawaz Sharif, it is "dark times" for minorities. For many activists and NGOs, Islamisation progresses in the country. Paul Bhatti notes that poverty must be the "priority" through "employment and investment to boost development."

    28/03/2007 PAKISTAN
    Muslims torture for hours Christian “blasphemer” now in jail
    A mob of some 150 Muslims in Punjab stormed the home of Amanat Masih, a Protestant charged with burning some pages of the Qur’an. Police intervene after hours of torture and arrest him.

    10/08/2005 PAKISTAN
    Christian charged with blasphemy released
    Despite his newly found freedom, Yousaf Masih's life is still at risk. He is in hiding to avoid Islamists' threats. Islamic political parties still call for his death, whilst minority rights activists announce a national campaign against the Blasphemy Law.

    27/04/2007 PAKISTAN
    Mob and police torture Catholic man accused of blasphemy
    Without any evidence angry Muslims torture Sattar Masih, 28, for allegedly blaspheming against Muhammad. Police moves in but only to arrest him. He was supposed to get married the following day.



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