» 05/27/2014, 00.00
PAKISTAN - ISLAM
Faisalabad: Muslim activist saves a Christian from blasphemy charges
A Christian street sweeper was targeted by a mob charged with having burned pages with Koranic writing on them. In reality the pages were ripped up by two students . The mob ready to lynch the man . Intervention of a 26-year old Muslim, belonging to a network pro human rights, decisive. Christian activist: a "success" story, saving the life of an "innocent youth".
Faisalabad ( AsiaNews) - A "success" story with a happy ending thanks
to the intervention of " a Muslim activist, who saved the life of an
innocent young Christian" who "is not even able to read". This is
what Suneel Malik, Director of Peace and Human Development Foundation ( Phd ) tells
AsiaNews, commenting on the latest case of false blasphemy charges that
occurred in recent days in Faisalabad in Punjab. He hopes it will help an
increase in the "level of tolerance towards religious minorities",
for the construction of a true peace in Pakistan and to put an end "to
false accusations that besmirch the name of the country" and affect "
social harmony ."
The episode date back to 22 May: Mansha Masih, is a Christian, who has worked
for 15 years as a scavenger in the town of Hajweri, Faisalabad. He was picking
up litter and leaves from abandoned houses in the area, when a young Muslim
named Billu, from the roof of his home, accused him of desecrating pages of the
Muslim holy book, the Koran. After having railed against the Christian, he began
to brutally beat him.
However, the intervention of the 26-year old Muslim activist Farhan Sadiq , a
journalist and member of the Human Rights Defenders Network, was
decisive in saving the Christian. He ripped Masih from the hands of his
tormentor and took him home. He then launched an independent investigation to
verify the facts, after which it was found that the pages containing sacred
verses were "desecrated" by two underage students in the area, who did not want
to go to the local mosque and so they burned the books.
However, rumors of a possible case of blasphemy perpetrated by a Christian had
already circulated in the town and a crowd was ready to punish the man, though
innocent, with death. Even after the confession of two young men, the crowd did
not want to believe the innocence of Mansha Masih, who has repeatedly stated he
is "illiterate" and " had done nothing wrong," not knowing
the content of the verses printed on sheets . The Muslim activist's decision in
dealing with crowd and proving the charges to be false, in the end, saved the Christian's
life, thus he fulfilled his task "with a great sense of
With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim),
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest
Muslim nation after Indonesia. About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst
Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6
per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent). Violence against ethnic and religious
minorities is commonplace across the country, with Shia Muslims and Christians
as the main target, with things getting worse. Dozens of episodes , including
targeted attacks against entire communities - such as in Gojra in 2009
or Joseph Colony Lahore last year - or
places of worship (Peshawar in September last year) or
abuses against individuals ( Sawan Masih and Asia Bibi, Rimsha Masih or the
young Robert Fanish Masih, who
also died in his cell), are often perpetrated under the pretext of the
84-year-old Christian accused of blasphemy to force him to sell land
Walter Fazal Khan, an 84-year-old man from Lahore, is in jail, accused of burning pages of the Quran. His family says this is a plot orchestrated by some businessmen who did not take kindly to the man’s refusal to sell them his land at their price.
Another Christian condemned to death for blasphemy, without any proof
A Pakistani district court has condemned to Younis Masih, accused of having offended Muhammad and the Koran. His defence lawyer denounces the lack of any proof and police negligence and prepares an appeal.
Pakistani Priest warns Christians are at risk. A young man tortured and killed
Incidents against the faithful, especially in central Punjab, increasing at an alarming rate. The police and the judiciary "cover" crimes and abuses for fear of the local Muslim lords. A young man killed by his employers, and the police would not accept the father’s report.
Faisalabad, murdered brothers buried. Justice and Peace: abolish the blasphemy law now
At 8 this morning the community bid a final farewell to Sajid and Rashid Emmanuel. Their murder has sparked violent clashes between Christians and Muslims. The police are patrolling the streets but the situation is "explosive." Catholic activist: "renewed commitment to cancellation of discriminatory laws." Christian couple threatened with death for a documentary on Gojra.
Pakistan, not just Asia Bibi: Muslim lynched and burned alive for blasphemy
It happened this morning in the village of Seeta. The man was suspected of desecrating pages of the Koran. Over 200 people dragged him from the police station, beat and finally burned him. 10 police suspended and 20 people arrested. Crowd now facing murder charges and resisting a public officer.
Defeated on ice, but 'first' in history, joint Korean hockey team players hug
After losing to Sweden in their last match, the Korean team ends up in seventh place. Players burst into tears at their imminent separation. "Politicians made that executive decision [to have a joint team]. Our players and staff are the ones that made it work,” said the team’s proud Canadian coach. One South Korean athlete hopes the country is proud of them. "It was bigger than hockey."
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