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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 10/17/2012
PAKISTAN
Rimsha Masih's trial adjourned to 14 November as anti-Christian violence continues
The High Court in Islamabad delays the trial before deciding whether to drop the blasphemy charges or not. The girl's lawyers want the case thrown out of court. In Karachi, a mob of extremists attack St Francis Catholic Church. In Faisalabad, Christians praying for Malala Yousafzai come under attack.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The High Court in Islamabad extended to 14 November the restraining order against the trial of Rimsha Masih, a mentally challenged Christian girl charged with blasphemy. The ruling came at a hearing on a petition filed by the accused girl's lawyers to quash the First Information Report (FIR) registered against her on the ground that the charges are false and baseless. Meanwhile, anti-Christian violence continues as attacks are reported against Karachi's St Francis Catholic Church and Faisalabad's Bawa Chak Presbyterian Church.

At the end of the hearing, the court extended the restraining order until 14 November, directing counsels to conclude their arguments at the upcoming hearing. In his remarks, one of the defence lawyers reiterated his client's demand for dismissal of the case since there was no offence and that Rimsha should be released.

He added that the imam at the Jaffer Mosque, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, fabricated the story in order to force out minority Christians from their homes and seize their assets, and that if anyone committed blasphemy, it was the imam according to the testimony of three witnesses, who however later retracted.

The irony is that the imam who deliberately desecrated the Qur'an is free on bail. His lawyers are trying to delay proceedings. Prosecutors in the case have indicated that they are not planning to try the imam on blasphemy charges, which goes to show, critics point out, of how the 'black law' is used arbitrarily against minorities, political adversaries, and business competitors.

Meanwhile, Pakistani Christians and their places of worship are still targeted. On 12 October, a mob of hundreds attacked St Francis Catholic Church in Karachi. The building suffered external damage but the attackers were not able to get inside. Worshippers later spoke about the fright they experienced as the local bishop, Mgr Joseph Coutts, tried to lessen their fear by organising support rallies and slamming the extremists who attacked.

A second incident was reported last Sunday in Faisalabad. At 11 am, Muslim fanatics attacked the Bawa Chak Presbyterian Church. The attack was sparked by an incident in which a 26-year-old Muslim man was accidentally struck by a cricket ball during a match by Christian teenagers.

The altercation that followed led to a full blown attack by a mob of Muslims wielding sticks, stones and guns against the local Presbyterian church during Sunday mass. Some children and women were injured during the assault. Most residents of the area locked themselves in their homes to avoid further violence.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Christian activist and lawmaker Joel Aamir Sahotra said the whole affair was very sad since the attack against the church occurred during a special Mass for Malala Yousafzai, the Muslim girl wounded by the Taliban who is now recovering in a British hospital. This token of solidarity was for all Muslims, who in response attack minorities.

For Fr Nisar Barkat, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace in Faisalabad, "violence has penetrated people's minds because of biased teachings" in mosques by extremist imams and religious leaders. For this reason, he wants the government to enforce the law and promote peace and harmony.

 (Shafique Khokhar contributed to the article.)


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See also
08/30/2012 PAKISTAN
For Islamists, no "sympathy" for Rimsha Masih who must be judged "according to the law"
01/11/2006 PAKISTAN
Blasphemy charge against Sangla Hill Christian withdrawn
by Peter Jacob
01/16/2013 PAKISTAN
Supreme Court upholds Rinsha Masih's innocence, Paul Batthi satisfied
02/22/2006 PAKISTAN
Sangla Hill Christian accused of blasphemy released
09/01/2012 PAKISTAN
Pakistan, Rimsha Masih bail hearing adjourned
by Shafique Khokhar

Editor's choices
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"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
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ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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