Asked to announce death of Christian neighbor in mosque, accused of blasphemy
In Lahore a Muslim woman has been reported to the police for asking the imam to inform worshippers of the death of a Christian living in the area. Ilyas Samuel, a human rights activist: "The Pakistani government should seriously consider the issue of the abuse of these rules".
Lahore (AsiaNews) - A new charge of blasphemy has been lodged against a Muslim woman in Lahore for simply asking to be allowed to remember the death of a Christian neighbor. At dawn on November 18, the woman had contacted the Imam of the Jamma-e-Masjid Hashmat Ullah, to ask that from the loudspeakers of the mosque the death be announced so that those who wished could attend the funeral.
The imam refused, arguing that the death of a Christian could not be announced in the mosque. This objection led to an argument, in which her husband and three of her children also took part.
Following the episode, Muhammad Mansha Malik, a member of the mosque committee, went to the Burqi police station in Lahore and filed a complaint against the woman and her family. The charge is precisely that of blasphemy for challenging the authority of the imam and outraging the mosque. According to her, these behaviors would have hurt the feelings of the residents of the area.
After the incident in the mosque many of the Christians living in the neighborhood are scared and some have even left their homes in search of a safer place.
Ilyas Samuel, a human rights activist and member of Voice for Justice International, notes that the complaint was filed against Muslims, which shows how anti-blasphemy laws are widely used for personal gain in Pakistan, not just against minorities. "The government should seriously consider the issue of abuse of these regulations."