» 11/05/2013, 00.00
Faisalabad: Muslims and Christians together to exonerate a woman accused of blasphemy
Two Muslim students report a 50 year old Christian for having burned pages of the Koran . In reality it was a text book in Arabic. Efforts of Islamic leader key to saving woman who is now in hiding for fear of retaliation. His invitation to all to "properly evaluate the facts" and not "stir up divisions."
AsiaNews) - The active collaboration between Muslim religious leaders and Pakistani
Christian activists has allowed, once again, the peaceful resolution of an
alleged case of blasphemy against a poor woman ( and innocent ) , belonging to
a religious minority. The
incident occurred in recent days in Faisalabad , Punjab , the province with the
largest Christian community. The case has
many similarities with that of Philip Masih and his family as
recounted by AsiaNews, who was indicted for no reason and escaped
trial thanks to the seminal contribution of Muslim leaders and police forces. The
peaceful resolution of the story has prevented an escalation of tension, which
often has exploded into attacks against entire communities (Gojra, in 2009). The names of the protagonists have been
changed for security reasons.
Masih, 50, last week moved into a rented house in Chamanzar Colony, Faisalabad
the second day, Oct. 29, after cleaning the apartment she burned some remains
in the garden . Two
Muslim students, observing the scene, saw a few pages written in Arabic among
the remains on fire and immediately thought they were pages of the Koran. A few minutes later they knocked on her door,
accused her of having committed the crime of blasphemy which in Pakistan is
punished with life imprisonment or the death penalty.
by this serious accusation, Asia fled with her family and is hidden in a secret
and safe place, where she is still - for fear of retaliation - even if the
story has had a positive outcome.
intervention of a Christian activist (identified with the initials RD ) and the
collaboration of a Muslim religious leader were fundamental to the peaceful
resolution of the case. The
first, a member of the Human Rights Defender Network, collected evidence of the
innocence of the woman. In
a second step he approached the Islamic leader, belonging to the Peace
Committee of the city, which has offered its cooperation to analyze the facts
and exonerate the Christian family of the charges, proving its innocence in
front of the entire city .
Islamic expert's statement was key, according to whom the burned pages
"are not from the Koran, but a school book in Arabic," and he has
also called on Muslims to "properly evaluate the facts," before
launching heavy accusations
because they end up only "fomenting hatred and division".
to AsiaNews, Iftikhar Ahmed , coordinator of the NGO South Asia Partnership
-Pakistan appreciates those who " settle such delicate issues using
adds that religious leaders "need to promote peace and harmony in their
speeches, in order to create a more prosperous society". This
is echoed by the Christian activist Naseem Anthony who calls for constitutional
reforms and amendments to the laws, together with a culture that promotes
tolerance towards other religions and faiths.
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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.
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