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  • » 11/03/2004, 00.00


    Blasphemy law: death threats against teenage girl forces family to flee

    Lahore (AsiaNews) – The Justice and Peace Commission of Pakistan's Bishops' Conference said that a Christian family from Wah Cantt (near Islamabad) was forced to move to an undisclosed location in the country. Their daughter Safad received death threats for allegedly desecrating the Qu'ran. The Tasneem Dean family was told of "terrible consequences" on the part of Wah Cantt Muslims.

    Last July, a Muslim woman accused 16-year-old Safad Tasneem Dean of throwing a copy of the Qu'ran into a trash bin. An enraged group of Muslims gathered with the intention of burning the girl's house. They tried to kill her but a group of local elders was able to save her by getting the police to arrest her.

    After heated discussions between local Christians and Muslims it was decided that the girl's father would take her place in prison, but he, too, was released soon after.

    Even though no evidence was presented concerning the alleged blasphemy, Safad's family was forced to move to an undisclosed location.

    Adopted in 1986, Pakistan's Blasphemy law imposes life imprisonment on anyone insulting the Qu'ran and the death penalty on anyone defiling the name of Mohammed.

    Minority and human rights activists have repeatedly called for the law's repeal. Very often it is used to settle matters between private individuals.

    So far tens of Christians have died because of the law. Since 1986, more than 4,000 people have been accused of blasphemy. Currently, some 560 people have been charged and 30 are still waiting for a court decision. The accused have often had to move fearing for their lives and that of their families. (LF)

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    See also

    04/02/2005 PAKISTAN
    New cases of violence and torture against Pakistani Christians
    Instead of investigating, local authorities engage in cover-ups. In some cases, international organisations ignore the plight of Christians.

    14/09/2005 PAKISTAN
    Lahore Archbishop condemns the umpteenth arrest of a Christian for blasphemy

    Younis Masih was imprisoned on Sunday, accused of offending Mohammed in some traditional songs. Mgr Saldanha: these episodes stand in the way of endeavours towards inter-religious dialogue

    17/09/2009 PAKISTAN
    Collusion between police and extremists cause of deaths in judicial custody, Pakistani NGO says
    A human rights group expresses concern over “increasing incidents of violence” against religious minorities. Fanatics enjoy impunity thanks to complicitous prison guards. The government is blamed for not prosecuting people responsible for such crimes. Police has not yet registered a first information report on the murder of a 20-year-old Christian man in Sialkot prison.

    11/08/2009 PAKISTAN
    Some 20 million Christians to mark ‘black day’ against persecution in Pakistan
    Activists, minority lawmakers and religious leaders are united in peaceful protest against the country’s blasphemy laws. This is their response to fundamentalist attacks and their way to get the Pakistan government to repeal the laws. Amnesty International backs the fight for minority rights in Pakistan.

    08/06/2006 PAKISTAN
    Two Christians accused of blasphemy released

    The Supreme Court found the men innocent after they spent seven years in prison. AsiaNews interviewed the wife of one of them: the story of the umpteenth victim of this unjust law features years of threats by Islamic fundamentalists, support from the John Joseph Foundation, and fear even after release.

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