Pakistani Christian Aasia Bibi had an argument with some coworkers over drinking water in 2009. The argument turned into a religious one and she was accused of blasphemy against Islam. Two politicians have been killed for standing up for her. She was convicted in Nov. 2010 and yesterday her appeal was rejected by the appellate court. Legal arguments in this story, published in Worldwatch Monitor, October 17, 2014, reproduced below (emphasis added). Also see The dangers of ignoring ‘malicious intent’ while accusing of ‘injuring religious sentiments’.
By Asif Aqeel
The first Christian woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws had her appeal rejected by the High Court in Lahore on Thursday.
Aasiya Noreen, commonly known as Asia Bibi, received the death penalty in 2010 after she allegedly made derogatory comments about the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.
While the two women were working together, the Muslim woman had refused water from Noreen on the grounds that it was unclean because it had been handled by a Christian.
The Muslim woman, together with her sister, were the only two witnesses in the case, but the defence failed to convince the appeals judges that their evidence lacked credibility.
On April 21 evening, Supreme Court advocate Rashid Rehman Khan in Multan sent this note below to an email list with the subject line, “media campaign by vampires”. He included scans of a report in that day’s daily Khabrain about a press conference by Tehrik-e-Tahafuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat (Movement to Protect the Honour of the Prophethood), where speakers objected to his attempts to move the case of a ‘blasphemy’ accused teacher whom he was defending, out of Multan. Read more…
A Sessions Court in Pakistan has sentenced a Christian sweeper Sawan Masih, 26, to death for to false accusations of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad (on Him be Peace), after waiting for a trial since March 2013.
These allegations, triggered due to personal grudges between Sawan and a Muslim friend, led a mob of angry Muslims to burn down a Christian village in Joseph Colony, Lahore, leaving the poverty stricken residents homeless and penniless.
Pakistan’s “Blasphemy laws” include Section 295, related to damaging or defiling a place of worship or a sacred object. 295-A forbids outraging religious feelings. 295-B forbids defiling the Quran. 295-C forbids defaming the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Except for 295-C, the provisions of 295 require that an offence be a consequence of the accused’s intent. Defiling the Quran merits imprisonment for life. Defaming Muhammad (PBUH) merits death with or without a fine. If a charge is laid under 295-C, the trial must take place in a Sessions Court presided over by a Muslim judge. High Courts have always overturned these verdicts on appeal, but the laws continue to be misused as a weapon to execute revenge for personal enmity against non-Muslims and Muslims in Pakistan.
If you believe justice should prevail and human life is too precious to be lost to hate, please add your voice to this online petition.
DETAILS IN THIS NEWS REPORT: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26781731
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Hate speech flourishes in Pakistan, inciting violence with impunity. Lately, anti Ahmedis posters have been cropping up around Karachi
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In Pakistan a democratically elected but weak government struggles to hold on to power against tremendous odds. If, despite the challenges, it completes its tenure and makes it to the next election it will be the first time in the country’s 65-year history. Despite the impression you may get from reporting about Pakistan, extremist religious voices have little popular support, and no hope of supplanting the government at the polls. But they do have other weapons at their disposal. They try to capture political space by other means, in particular by stirring up religious fervour and sectarian hatred. They are aided in this by Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Read more…