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  • » 01/05/2017, 14.45

    PAKISTAN

    Lahore: Evangelical Christian accused of blasphemy for tearing up pages of the Qurʾān



    Shahbaz Babu risks the death penalty for writing his name on the pages of Islam’s sacred book even though he is completely illiterate. The charge appears to be due to a business dispute. The accused is also popular among some Muslims for his prayer meetings.

    Lahore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An evangelical Christian from the village of Kamahan, near Lahore, was arrested on charges of blasphemy and now faces the death penalty.

    According to a complaint by a Muslim, Haji Nadeem, Shahbaz Babu desecrated Islam's holy book by writing his name on some pages, tearing them up and then scattering them on the street in front of a mosque where a Muslim, Peer Baba Gujjar, preaches.

    According to British Pakistani Christian Association, the Christian man is completely illiterate, so he could never write his name on any pages.

    Still Babu was arrested on 30 December in accordance with Article 295B of the Pakistan Penal Code. After the complaint, Babu, 41, a married father of three, was taken to the Nishtar police station.

    Later, to avoid possible reprisals from Muslims and to ensure his protection, the accused was moved to the Model Town station, in another district of Lahore.

    Activists note that no one saw him write his name in the Qurʾān. Instead, the complaint could be a retaliatory act against his family, because the accuser is in a dispute with Babu’s brother George Masih who owns a thriving grocery store, which Nadeem wants to take over.

    The Evangelical Christian is also disliked by local Muslims for organising prayer meetings at his home. For 15 years, many Christians, but also several Muslims, have participate in his meetings and have asked for his blessings and healings.

    Some of the accused’s friends believe that his increasing popularity has fuelled a climate of intolerance among Muslims, especially since Peer Baba Gujjar’s mosque was losing members.

    Others also point out the oddity of the sequence of events: Babu is supposed to have desecrated the Qurʾān in secret, but then left the evidence for everyone to see.

    In Pakistan, insulting Muhammad is a capital crime. Anyone speaking out against the ‘black law’ of blasphemy risks life and liberty.

    This is what happened to Shaan Taseer, son of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab who was killed in 2011 by his bodyguard for defending Asia Bibi, a Christian mother accused of insulting the prophet, in prison since 2009.

    Shaan Taseer had recently posted a Christmas message on social media calling for prayers for the unjustly accused.

    This was followed by a fatwa against him by an Islamist group, Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah, saying that he is "condemnable to death."

     

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    See also

    10/12/2004 UZBEKISTAN – HUMAN RIGHTS
    Life is God's gift, says Orthodox Christian woman fighting the death penalty


    21/09/2006 INDONESIA
    Three Indonesian Catholics executed by firing squad
    First reports suggest the three were executed at Palu's airport. The news is met with grief by the families and all those who were taking part in prayer vigils. In Central Timor people are protesting; demonstrators peacefully take over the Prosecutor's Office.

    11/10/2017 08:58:00 UN - ASIA
    U.N. Chief says death penalty has 'no place in 21st century’

    He urged member states that still carry out executions to join the 170 countries that have halted or abolished the practice. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq responsible for 87 per cent of all recorded executions. In 2016, executions worldwide were down 37 per cent from 2015. The risk of a miscarriage of justice is an "unacceptably high price" to pay.

     



    12/10/2017 12:34:00 VATICAN
    Pope says doctrine shouldn’t be kept in moth balls, it is a living reality that progresses

    Speaking at the meeting for the 25 years of the Catechism, Francis said that "It is not enough to find a new language to speak of the same faith; faced with the new challenges and perspectives that open to humanity, the Church urgently needs to express the novelties of the Gospel of Christ which, although contained in the Word of God, have not yet come to light."  The death penalty is "inadmissible".



    14/07/2017 13:55:00 JAPAN
    Government hangs two prisoners

    Justice Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda ordered the executions, the 18th and 19th since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power in December 2012, carried out without prior notice to family and lawyers. Japan’s Catholic bishops are a leading voice against the death penalty. Amnesty International complains that one of the prisoners had asked for a retrial. The other had given up on his defence.





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