29 September 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 01/08/2016, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Young Muslim man who burnt copies of the Bible and sacred hymns arrested in Kasur

    Shafique Khokhar

    ​Akba Azhar, 26, originally from Sialkot, broke into a church and burnt sacred books. Discovered, he tried to flee but was captured by a group of worshippers. Police say that he cannot be tried because he suffers from mental problems. Local Christians disagree, insisting that he is of sound mind.

    Kasur (AsiaNews) - A young Muslim man of 26 years was arrested for setting fire to copies of the Bible and to books containing sacred hymns.

    The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon, at the Victory Church in Kasur, a city of nearly 250,000 people about 60 km from Lahore, in Pakistan's Punjab province.

    In November 2014, the area was the scene of a brutal attack on a young Christian couple, parents of four children, who were stoned to death and then burnt alive by an angry mob, incited by an imam after allegations of blasphemy were made against the victims.

    According to police, the arsonist, Akba Azhar, suffers from mental problems and therefore cannot be held liable for his actions. Local Christians conversely believe that he is of sound mind and has the capacity to think, reason, and understand for himself.

    Two days ago, the day of Epiphany, a group of Christians went to church to pray and saw a young man next to the remains of burnt Bibles and other holy books.

    Realising that he had been discovered, Azhar Akba, originally from Sialkot, tried to flee but was surrounded by several men and brought back into the building.

    The Christian worshippers called police, who arrived at the scene and took the young man into custody. Some children recognised him because, the night before the arson, he had played with them in the courtyard adjacent to the church.

    Christians filed their complaint in accordance with the blasphemy rule against burning of sacred texts.

    Police began their investigation, but said little about the evidence, if any, they collected or possible charges until they decided to drop the case saying that the young man appears to suffer from mental problems, and thus cannot be tried (conversely, mentally disabled Christians were indicted in alleged blasphemy cases).

    Many local Christians disagree, noting that the young man was of sound mind and fully capable to thinking, reasoning, and understanding for himself when he decided to burn the sacred texts.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, Rojar Noor Alam, a Pakistani human rights activist, condemned the Bible burning, saying that the culprit should be pursued as required by law.

    Religious leaders, he added, "must play a leading role in maintaining harmony and avoiding sectarian events of this kind."

    For Aila Gill, coordinator of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Church of Pakistan (NCJP), the incident is the result of the prevailing climate of intolerance.

    "The state,” he added, “must intervene because it is its duty to protect minorities’ places of worship under Article 36 of the Constitution."

    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).

    Scores of violent incidents have occurred in recent years, against entire communities (Gojra in 2009, and Joseph Colony, Lahore, in March 2013), places of worship (Peshawar, September 2013) and individuals ( Sawan MasihAsia BibiRimsha Masih and Robert Fanish Masih, who died in prison), often perpetrated under the pretext of the country's blasphemy laws.

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    02/07/2009 PAKISTAN
    Hundreds of Muslims attack about a hundred Christian homes in Punjab
    Mob sets fire to a number of houses, burns cars and destroys electrical installations. The incident is caused by a quarrel between a Muslim and a Christian which degenerated into a riot with petrol bombs, beatings and acid throwing.

    14/08/2015 PAKISTAN
    Justice and Peace Commission on child abuse in Pakistan
    Pakistani police arrested 25 people in connection with videos showing the abuse of 284 children, aged 6 to 14, whose parents were then subject to blackmail. For Kashif Aslam, the country needs a code of conduct or laws to protect children. Justice and Peace Commission presents a number of demands to avoid future sexual abuses.

    06/06/2005 PAKISTAN
    Bible Study group celebrates its first year
    A Kasur diocese Bible Study group celebrates its first anniversary in the predominantly Muslim Pakistan. "Members' commitment nowadays is a great thing," says well-known Bible teacher Father Asi.

    07/05/2007 PAKISTAN
    Martha Bibi, Christian baselessly accused of blasphemy, is released
    Fazal-e-Miran, judge of the Lahore High Court, ordered that the woman be released on bail. Physically weakened, she has not stopped thanking God for the triumph of justice. Activists have called once again for the abolition of the blasphemy law.

    29/11/2006 PAKISTAN
    Naseem Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, free after nine months
    The 30-year-old woman, who is mentally disabled, was arrested after person or persons unknown reported her for allegedly desecrating an Islamic image. She is the second person charged with blasphemy to be released in a month.



    Editor's choices

    ASIANEWS SYMPOSIUM
    Mother Teresa, Mercy for Asia and for the world (VIDEO)



    We publish the video recordings of the presentations made at the international symposium organised by AsiaNews on 2 September. In order of appearance: Fr Ferruccio Brambillasca, PIME Superior General; Card Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide; Sr Mary Prema, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity; Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator of the Cause of Mother Teresa; Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai; Fr John A. Worthley, on the influence of Mother Teresa in China; a witness to the influence of Mother Teresa in the Islamic world; and Mgr Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia.


    CHINA-VATICAN
    Beijing issues new, harsh draft regulations on religious activities

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Fines of up to 200 thousand yuan (27 thousand euro) for "illegal religious activities" by Catholic or other members of underground communities. "Illegal activities" include "dependence from abroad" (such as the relationship with the Vatican). The regulations preach non-discrimination, but party members are forbidden to practice their religion, even in private. Strict control of buildings, statues, crosses. Clampdown on the internet. It could be the end of the underground community.
     


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®