Pakistan Couple, Man, Jailed For Blashemy

Pakistan Couple, Man, Jailed For BlashemyBy Jawad Mazhar, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from PakistanLAHORE/KASUR (BosNewsLife)-- A Christian couple, were detained Thursday, March 10, as they began serving a 25-year prison term for blasphemy against Islam shortly after another Christian received a similar sentence, the latest in a series of cases that have worried the human rights community.Ruqqiya Bibi and her husband Munir Masih were sentenced last week under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code for "defiling" the Koran, deemed a holy book by Muslims, because they allegedly touched it without ritually washing their hands, the independent Center Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) told BosNewsLife.Islamic "fundamentalists came with fake evidences to prove that we allegedly violated Pakistan's Blasphemy Law," said the handcuffed Masih.Soon after he and his wife were separated and now serve time in the District Jail Kasur and Women Jail Multan in the Kasur area, a city near Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, CLAAS confirmed.Earlier in February, Qamar David was sentenced in Karachi to life imprisonment for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages with a mobile phone, although other trial observers said the jail sentence would be closer to 25 years.His lawyer Pervaiz Aslam Chaudhry told reporters that David was innocent as over a dozen apparently said that not David but the owner of the cell phone, a Muslim, was guilty.Righs activists and church representatives have told BosNewsLife the cases underscore their concerns over Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws which they say have been misused to target Christians and settle personal disputes.A local Christian church leader in the Kasur area, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns, described the detained Christian couple as "very religious people" and members of his church.He said the couple apparently touched parts of the Koran "without an Islamic ritual in which head, teeth, mouth, hands and feet are washed with water, or sand and soil."The ritual, he said, "is performed prior to offer an Islamic prayer or recite the Holy Koran or even touch any copy or part of the Koran."By allegedly violating this rules the couple "incurred themselves to the gruesome dangers of allegations under the Blasphemy Laws in December of 2008," added the church leader, whose name is known to BosNewsLife.CLAAS confirmed to BosNewsLife it would support an appeal against the prison sentence for the couple, saying the charges amounted to "a fake blasphemy case."They group also expressed concerns about the couple's children, saying the "impoverished Christian family" should have had a fair opportunity to fight their case in court.The latest blasphemy cases come amid mounting concerns over threats and attacks against the Christian minority in Pakistan, a mainly Muslim nation, rights groups say.Last month, Pakistan's government said it plans "to change" its blasphemy legislationto check its misuse by extremist groups.The law, which besides long prison sentences can even carry the death penalty for insulting Islam or its prophet, is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan, which is more than 95 percent Muslim.Previous governments have failed to reform the law because of opposition from powerful hard-line Islamic groups, according to observers familiar with the legislation.

Pakistan Couple, Man, Jailed For BlashemyBy Jawad Mazhar, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan

By Jawad Mazhar, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan

Christian couple (r) speaks with CLAAS investigator
Christian couple (r) charged with blasphemy, speaks with CLAAS investigator


LAHORE/KASUR (BosNewsLife)-- A Christian couple, remained detained Thursday, March 11, as they began serving a 25-year prison term for blasphemy against Islam shortly after another Christian received a similar sentence, the latest in a series of cases that have worried the human rights community.

Ruqqiya Bibi and her husband Munir Masih were sentenced last week under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code for "defiling" the Koran, deemed a holy book by Muslims, because they allegedly touched it without ritually washing their hands, the independent Center Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) told BosNewsLife.

Islamic "fundamentalists came with fake evidences to prove that we allegedly violated Pakistan's Blasphemy Law," said the handcuffed Masih.

Soon after he and his wife were separated and now serve time in the District Jail Kasur and Women Jail Multan in the Kasur area, a city near Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, CLAAS confirmed.

Earlier in February, Qamar David was sentenced in Karachi to life imprisonment for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages with a mobile phone, although other trial observers said the jail sentence would be closer to 25 years.

DAVID "INNOCENT"

His lawyer Pervaiz Aslam Chaudhry told reporters that David was innocent as over a dozen apparently said that not David but the owner of the cell phone, a Muslim, was guilty.

Righs activists and church representatives have told BosNewsLife the cases underscore their concerns over Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws which they say have been misused to target Christians and settle personal disputes.

A local Christian church leader in the Kasur area, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns, described the detained Christian couple as "very religious people" and members of his church.

He said the couple apparently touched parts of the Koran "without an Islamic ritual in which head, teeth, mouth, hands and feet are washed with water, or sand and soil."

The ritual, he explained, "is performed prior to offer an Islamic prayer or recite the Holy Koran or even touch any copy or part of the Koran. "By allegedly violating this rules the couple "incurred themselves to the gruesome dangers of allegations under the Blasphemy Laws in December of 2008," added the church leader, whose name is known to BosNewsLife.

PLANNING APPEAL

CLAAS confirmed to BosNewsLife it would support an appeal against the prison sentence for the couple, saying the charges amounted to "a fake blasphemy case."The group also expressed concerns about the couple's children, saying the "impoverished Christian family" should have had a fair opportunity to fight their case in court.

The latest blasphemy cases come amid mounting concerns over threats and attacks against the Christian minority in Pakistan, a mainly Muslim nation, rights groups say.

Last month, Pakistan's government said it plans "to change" its blasphemy legislation to check its misuse by extremist groups. The law, which besides long prison sentences can even carry the death penalty for insulting Islam or its prophet, is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan, which is more than 95 percent Muslim.

Previous governments have failed to reform the law because of opposition from powerful hard-line Islamic groups, according to observers familiar with the legislation.

7 thoughts on “Pakistan Couple, Man, Jailed For Blashemy”

  1. I think there is nothing strange in this case to make it a media news .Because the problem is not that they are Muslim or Cristian .The issue is simple they break a law of a country and they are charged .

  2. Posted this about a different article, but it really applies here also. Religion is the problem. Repeat. Religion is the problem. That said, this is not an attempt to offend anyone, only to educate. If believers of any reglion could live in peace, that would solve the problem, as it currently is, each relgion believes they are the “only” religion. What a shame that humanity devotes all their time to the differences in religion, rather than accepting each others faith, and trying to live together as humans should.

    There are many extreme religions in the world. Viewing the articles concerning this subject, it appears that the missionary movement is part of the problem. While Islam wants all to covert to their teachings, the Christian groups have missionaries in countries like India, hoping to covert a few. Time to realize that reglion in itself, is the problem on the world stage. Whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc, each religion seems to believe that they are the true religion. Western countries should withdraw their missionaries, withdraw aid to these countries, withdraw totally. Many will argue that the world is to “connected” to perform an action such as this, but what gain is there to continue a dialogue, when ignorance in these countries is the order of the day. These countries should be left alone, let them destroy themselves, just let them be. These folks cannot be forced to change, they will not change. As the worlds population increases, with the increase in poverty, the only solution will be a few countries in the world, who have an environment, in which they chose to consider their own fate, rather than worry about nations who will in the end, destroy themselves anyway.

  3. Jean, you go, sister! Amen! I, too, am born again, and I believe that WE are that generation spoken of when Jesus said that ‘this generation will not pass away..”

    Brad, so true. A bit ironic, no? hehe…it would be quite a sight to see all these browsers of the koran wallow in the dirt. Suppose these bookstores provide a ‘sandbox’ for that purpose? Sorry, don’t mean to be sarcastic, but i can’t help that comment! What Brad said is true, also. If it takes so much ritual just to touch, nevermind read the koran, how are prospective converts going to find out what they are attempting to convert to?

    That said, I am looking forward to Jesus’ return – not only due my chronic illness (pulmonary fibrosis – a new body wouldn’t hurt!) but also due to all the violence, pain and worry this old world offers. If we read Revelations, we know that we will know no peace until He returns for His 1000 year reign. No one knows the time, but He left us some clues – as jean noted above. Watch what’s happening over there in the East, then keep your eyes on the Eastern Sky!

  4. If only people would truly study the Bible: There will be a war in Israel. There will be world famine. The fish of the sea will be reduced in their numbers. Some islands will be submerged beneath the depths of the oceans. Women and children will rule, I could go on and on but so few of you will believe what The Word of God has been telling us for 2,000 years. I’m just an old woman, I am writing a short book on Salvation and a more detailed book; Genesis – Revelation, I guess that few will read it until after all true believers have been raptured out of this world (not the happy clappy, signs & wonders seeking lost sheep & the religiously deceived) – Christ will call His remnant of true believers up into the atmospheric heavens, this will not be His 2nd Coming, His 2nd Coming is to the earth when latent Christians will have been martyred for their faith and a final remnant of Messianic Jews have retreated to Petra. Reader, call me a fool if you will, it is my priviledge that I should be a fool for Christ.

  5. This is absolutely disgusting and how on earth can the government defend this treatment of an innocent Christian couple? Frankly, I cannot see now why British and other troops are being killed to rid the region of Muslim fanatics when the government of Pakistan is just as bad? It’s time a really big fuss was made in the West about these sorts of abuses, because abuse is what is is, and realised that we are not living in the Dark Ages. By the way, we in the West have to put up with all sorts of abuses of us by Muslims, many from Pakistan, and I don’t see any of them being jailed for 25 years in the UK for touching the Christian Bible? Utterly disgusting!

  6. This is incredibly bizarre and ridiculous. I’ve been in quite a few Islamic countries where the Koran is sold in bookstores in malls. I highly doubt everyone who browses them goes out for a roll in the dirt first.

    Here’s some food for thought, Muslims: If you won’t let someone from another religion browse your scriptures, how do you expect people to gain interest and potentially convert? Is conversion to Islam only acceptable at the point of a sword?

  7. What surprises me more than the “Islamic” sentences, is that some of the lamestream world media have actually picked up on this, albeit toned down to avoid offeding Islamic sensibilities.

    Now let’s wait for Muslim leaders to reiterate what fools and politicians like to believe, that Islam is a religion of tolerance.

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