Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/30/2014 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Many now face death penalty, life imprisonment.

To date, no one has been put to death under Pakistan's blasphemy law. However, the law is increasingly being used by Muslim extremists. Vigilantes frequently entrap and sometimes kill adherents of minority religions accused of blasphemy. A climate of fear has forced browbeaten judges into holding court sessions inside jails. In addition, witnesses have been prevented from coming to the defense of those on trial.

Many say that Pakistan blasphemy law unfairly target religious minorities, including Christians.

Many say that Pakistan blasphemy law unfairly target religious minorities, including Christians.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/30/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Pakistan, blasphemy, religious minorities, persecurtion


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said in its 2014 world report that "abuses are rife under [Pakistan]'s abusive blasphemy law, which is used against religious minorities, often to settle personal disputes."

Thirty-four people were charged with blasphemy last year. A government statistic says 27 were charged in 2012, according to According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. At least 16 people are currently on death row for blasphemy, while another 20 are serving life sentences, according to Human Rights Watch.

Something to wear -- over your heart --


"In the last three years we have seen a large increase in the number of cases of blasphemy," Keith Davies, head of RescueChristians says. The group is a U.S.-based charity that started operations in Pakistan four years ago.

Several Christians are reportedly waiting for travel documents to secretly leave Pakistan, while others are in jail awaiting trial and targeted for death by militant groups.

Pakistan's blasphemy law predates the founding of the country in 1947, when it seceded from India. During the 1980s, the U.S.-backed military dictator, Gen. Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq amended it to add the death penalty and single out Islam as the religion that may not be insulted, among other changes.

Pakistan is far from the only country with blasphemy laws. Blasphemy is punishable in more than 30 countries, including some with predominantly Christian populations, such as Poland and Greece.

The majority of Pakistan's 180 million people are Sunni Muslims who do not support the militants' violence or their intolerance for religious minorities. Shiite Muslims there complain that even the smallest quarrel can land them in jail on trumped-up blasphemy charges.

While some support blasphemy laws, the Pakistani version has been derided as "ambiguous" and easily distorted by militant Sunnis who want to rid the country of Shiites.

In an example of the swift and brutal changes that can be wrought by blasphemy charges here, Governor Salman Taseer was assassinated by his own guard after defending a Christian woman charged with blasphemy three years ago.

One religious minority in Pakistan under attack is the Ahmadiyya sect contends that the Mehdi or savior, who is prophesized in Islam, came about 100 years ago. This belief challenges Prophet Muhammad's position as Islam's last prophet, a basic tenet of the faith. Pakistan amended its constitution in 1974 to make it a crime for Ahmadis, as they are called, to identify themselves as Muslims.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

India's secret suicide epidemic! 2013 saw more than 150,000 deaths! Watch

Image of Men are twice as likely to commit suicide as women in India, based on a study of suicide cases from 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Men in India are twice as likely to commit suicide according to an Indian government agency which is responsible for collecting and analyzing crime data. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 2013, 134,000 people committed suicide in India, and two thirds were men ... continue reading


Typhoon caused 47 deaths in plane crash in Taiwan Watch

Image of A typhoon in Taiwan caused a plane to crash, killing 47 and injuring 11.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A TransAsia Airways turboprop plane crashed on an island off the coast of Taiwan as it attempted a desperate emergency landing during a typhoon on July 23. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Of the 58 passengers aboard the plane 47 were killed and 11 were injured ... continue reading


NATIONAL DISGRACE: India is home to one in three of all forced child marriages Watch

Image of In rural Indian villages, there are very real concerns about the safety of girls. If a girl is married off early, the strained logic is that her husband can protect her. She is treated as property.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a national shame for Southeast Asia's economic powerhouse: One in all three forced child marriages in the world is in India. It's a regional shame as well, as a new UNICEF study has proved almost half of all child marriages are in South Asia. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Men outnumber women in India, Nepal and Bangladesh new study says Watch

Image of The ratio of women to men in India continues to decrease, a new report from the United Nations says, and it is expected to continue to decrease in the future.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A United Nations report, released on July 22, says that India needs to take urgent action following a sharp decline in its child sex ratio. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "Sex Ratios and Gender-Biased Sex Selection: History, Debate and Future Directions" ... continue reading


DEATH INDUSTRY: Pakistan's stone crushing factories take toll on workers Watch

Image of Lack of dust control systems at stone-crushing factories mean silica dust will also affect people in nearby areas. In fact, most crushing units are located in or near residential areas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Any type of industry in developing nations are usually seen as good things, but this is not always the case. Pakistan's stone crushing factories, which exist far and away from any sort of regulatory and safety laws, claim the lives of many of its laborers. Dust ... continue reading


CRY FOR JUSTICE: Filipino women demand stronger voice in governments Watch

Image of It is not surprising to see young indigenous women in the Philippines being forced to marry men six times their age in arranged marriages.

By Froilyn Mendoza, Thomson Reuters Foundation

When the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro on October 15, 2012, many rejoiced. A peace deal seemed finally to have ended the four-decade conflict between the Government and ... continue reading


British nun who founded order in India declared Venerable by Pope Watch

Image of Mother Mary Veronica's Cause for Canonization was opened at the request of her order in 1997.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, for the second time in less than a month, has moved a British woman closer to canonization. His gesture for Mother Mary Veronica of the Passion, a Carmelite nun, comes mere weeks after he declared Frances Taylor, a nurse who served with Florence ... continue reading


Only one hospital in China would remove this 33 pound tumor! Watch

Image of 11-year-old Han Bingbing underwent eight hours of surgery to remove a 33 pound tumor from her abdomen.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An 11-year-old Chinese girl has undergone a successful operation to remove a 33 pound tumor from her abdomen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Han Bingbing, from Heilongjiang in north-east China, underwent eight hours of surgery to remove an intraperitoneal tumor, ... continue reading


BREAKING NEWS: 295 people killed after Malaysia Airlines passenger jet shot down over Ukraine Watch

Image of There are multiple reports that the plane was shot down at cruising altitude. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister told The Associated press that the plane, confirmed that the plane was shot down.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There's shocking news near the Ukrainian-Russian border today. A Malaysian Airlines passenger plane with 295 aboard - 280 passengers, and 15 crew, has been shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Ukraine near the Russian border. Everyone on board was killed. ... continue reading


Indian orphanage refuses to expel 23 students who are HIV positive Watch

Image of The headmaster of Our Lady of Fatima School in Rivona, south Goa says he will not expel HIV-positive students.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Refusing to bow to public pressure, a Catholic school in Goa, India says it will not remove 23 students from an orphanage that caters mainly to HIV positive children. "We are caught in a situation where we have to follow the rules, and at the same time are ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 44:1, 10-15
1 Next let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 132:11, 13-14, 17-18
11 Yahweh has sworn to David, and will always remain ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:16-17
16 'But blessed are your eyes because they see, your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 26th, 2014 Image

Sts. Joachim and Anne
July 26: By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter