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    » 07/06/2009, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Faisalabad, Christians and Muslims investigating case of young man charged with blasphemy

    Qaiser Felix

    An inter-religious committee will examine the case of Imran Masih, arrested and tortured for having burned pages of the Koran and beaten by police. A Catholic priest points out that is a "positive step" to dissolve the tension. Involving Muslim leaders to dismantle the charges against the young man.

    Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - Christians and Muslims Leaders will investigate the case of Imran Masih, a young Christian accused of blasphemy and currently detained in Faisalabad district jail. According to Justice and Peace, the youth - already tortured by a furious mob of Muslims - has also suffered violence at the hands of the police.

    26 year-old Imran Masih, is accused of burning some pages of the Koran and was first arrested last July. The decision to create an independent committee, made up of Christians and Muslims, was unanimously made on July 3rd, during a summit at the diocesan curia. Approximately 60 law experts including Muslims, Catholic priests, Protestant pastors, lay people and relatives of  the victim attended the event.

    Father Aftab James Paul, director of the Diocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue, points out to AsiaNews that the committee is "a positive step to dissolve the tension." It will investigate the matter "in an independent manner", while the police "will do its duty as they wish." The priest explained that the objective is to "engage moderate Muslim leaders" so they may discover that "it was not something intentional, as reported by a witness in the case against Imran Masih”.   The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) has provided free legal assistance to the young man.

    Father Nisar Barkat, Director of Faisalabad NCJP, met Imran in prison and reported that the boy “was beaten by the police ", but there was no evidence of torture on the part of prison guards. He is in "good" health, even if sorely tried by the episode. The priest reported the words of Imran Masih, who confirms that he “burned sheets of paper after cleaning the shop”, but that among them there were no pages from the Koran.

    Ghaffur Masih, Imran’s father says he has no idea “who is there behind all of this”. The man, father of six children including four girls and two boys, adds that "the family has owned the shop for 25 years and had never experienced episodes of violence." In contrast, relations with the Muslim community "have always been good."

     

     

     

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    See also

    02/05/2009 PAKISTAN
    Christian families flee Punjab in wake of presumed blasphemy case
    Accusations against a social activist for having marked the Koran with ink and chewing gum. Rival politics within the Christian community at root of case. Protests force accused family to flee village.

    07/09/2012 PAKISTAN
    Paul Bhatti: " joy and satisfaction” for Rimsha Masih’s release (on bail)
    The Catholic Pakistani politician praises work of police and government, which led to the release of the mentally disabled child arrested for blasphemy. He thanks APMA lawyers, the ulema and investigators because they have helped to maintain the peace and justice. She will be ruinited soon with her family.

    18/09/2007 PAKISTAN
    ”Blasphemous” Christian freed after a year: he was innocent.
    Shahid Masih, 18, was imprisoned in September 2006 accused of having blasphemed Islam. His presumed accomplice, a Muslim released on caution nine months ago, also absolved. The Christian’s mother died from heartbreak following his arrest.

    11/09/2009 VATICAN-ISLAM
    Christians and Muslims against poverty to eliminate injustice and violence
    A message from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to Muslims for the end of Ramadan proposes a "common code of ethics" to alleviate poverty. May dialogue mobilize the vital forces of those who are on a journey to God. "The poor question us, challenge us, but also invite us to work together for a noble cause: to overcome their poverty."

    26/10/2009 INDIA - PAKISTAN
    The courage of the Church of Pakistan, against the "Islamization" of society
    Vatican figures speaks to AsiaNews about their impressions from a recent trip to Pakistan. Christians are persecuted; the blasphemy law is used to target the faithful and their businesses. But signals of hope are also emerging: the Church is "young, vibrant and courageous."



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