Pakistani Christian and Muslim Friend Falsely Accused of Blasphemy, Arrested

A Pakistani soldier keeps guard at the Friendship Gate, crossing point at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, March 7, 2017. | REUTERS/Saeed Ali Achakzai/Files

According to recent local news, radical Muslims holding a grudge against 40-year old Shahbaz Masih, a well-known Christian in the community, dragged him and beat him. His Muslim friend, Muhammad Ishaq, heard him and rushed to his aid, making known his friendship with a Christian. Because of this, they were both charged with burning pages of the Quran under blasphemy law. Although no evidence was brought forward to corroborate this falsehood, police gave in to the extremist pressure and arrested the men.

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The news source said that offending the prophet Muhammad is a serious crime under the Pakistani Criminal Code section 295-B. This is one of the “‘black laws’ on blasphemy”. Many Christians in Pakistan largely suffer under blasphemy laws; they trap Christians and those associated with Christians. Because of the danger of being a Christian or being affiliated publically to a Christian, the men’s families were threatened and have fled into hiding to escape persecution.

A nonprofit human rights organization, Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP), is supporting the two men legally. HRFP is committed in repealing blasphemy laws, as well as protecting and advocating for the religious rights of minorities.

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Pakistan ranks 5th on Christian support organization Open Doors 2020 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

International Christian Concern

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