21 August, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 10/09/2006
PAKISTAN
Two Catholics arrested for blasphemy against the Qur'an
by Qaiser Felix
James Masih and Buta Masih, both 70, are accused of burning some pages of the Qur'an. The two illiterate men are jailed despite the lack of witnesses. The Bishop of  Faisalabad protests the vulnerability Pakistani Christians must endure. He calls on the faithful to pray for those jailed on the basis of lies.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Pakistani police arrested two Catholic men from Faisalabad for allegedly burning a copy of the Qur'an despite the fact that their accusers did not see them commit the act itself.

Their arrest spared them a possible lynching by a mob of 500 Muslims who had surrounded the house in Munir Park where James and Buta Masih, both 70, lived.

A catholic attorney, Khalil Tahir, took on their case. He told AsiaNews that "the police locked up in an isolation cell rather than go before a judge for fear that extremists might attack them".

Section 295 (B) of Pakistan's Penal Code, more commonly known as the 'blasphemy law', imposes life in prison or the death penalty for desecrating Islam's holy scriptures.

It has often been used to eliminate individuals involved in private disputes.

Although it was recently amended to include the death penalty for those guilty of making false accusations of blasphemy, any one who defames Islam should go to the gallows.

A local priest, Fr Yaqoob Yousaf, told AsiaNews that "the Muslim employer of James Masih's daughter Nargis, who works as a maid for his family, gave her items that she might reuse. She took them to her father's house. After sorting out things they kept some for themselves and sold some in the market. Her father burnt waste papers in the street. Both are illiterate and are unaware whether any pages from a holy book was among them".

More importantly, no one say them burn pages from the Qur'an.

Arshad Mubarak, a local Muslim, made a complaint at the local police station against James Masih and his neighbour and friend Buta Masih for burning the Qur'an in the street. He told the police he didn't actually see the two accused burning the Qur'an but that other local people told him that that was what they were doing.

However, Father Yaqoob said that the plaintiff was trying to get James Masih to sell his house to no success and that the accusation gave him the opportunity "teach him a lesson for refusal".

Mgr Joseph Coutts, bishop of Faisalabad, told AsiaNews that "these incidents show who vulnerable Christians are in Muslim Pakistan," adding that "we are paying a heavy price for unintentional offences".

For this reason, he is calling on the "international community to pray for the two men, their families and attorneys."

"Let us not forget," he said, that Shahid Masih, who was arrested on the basis of lies, in still in prison".


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
11/27/2006 PAKISTAN
Two Christian men sentenced to ten years in prison for "blasphemy"
by Qaiser Felix
04/05/2007 PAKISTAN
Life of 11-year-old Christian in danger even though he is not charged with anything
by Qaiser Felix
10/11/2006 PAKISTAN
Faisalabad bishop: "Justice for two Catholics accused of blasphemy"
by Qaiser Felix
05/29/2006 PAKISTAN
Without evidence police arrest Christian on blasphemy charges
by Qaiser Felix
04/27/2007 PAKISTAN
Mob and police torture Catholic man accused of blasphemy
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
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
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.