More evidence of the moral crime that is Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Islamic Tolerance Alert from Pakistan: “Christian woman nailed with Muslim blasphemy charge for defending cross,” from Asia News, with thanks to Kaiser:
Kasur (AsiaNews/ANS) — A Christian woman is languishing in prison for defending the cross from desecration. Naseem Bibi is in solitary confinement, charged with having offended an image of the Kabah, the most sacred shrine of Islam in Saudi Arabia. On 7 April, judges refused to release her on bail. Meanwhile, her husband and their three sons have been forced to flee their home and to go into hiding out of fear of retaliation by Muslim extremists.
The woman’s family said she protested against a group of Muslims who were drawing a cross on top of a rubbish heap. The prison authorities have not allowed members of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan (SLMP), a Protestant organization, to visit the detainee. The SLMP has disseminated a statement by Gulzar Masih, the woman’s husband, narrating Naseem’s story.
Everything started on 3 March when many Muslims were protesting the blasphemous cartoons of Muhammad near Naseem’s house in Kasur. “They were raising slogans against the US president George W. Bush, abusing him and Christianity too,” said Gulzar. “Naseem saw the protesters draw a cross on top of a rubbish help and so she went out to protest the desecrating gesture.” The woman told the demonstrators they were violating a sacred symbol of Christianity while protesting about exactly the same offence against their own faith.
According to her husband’s account, Naseem was beaten and stripped. The group of Muslims then left only to return after a few hours with an image of the Kabah soiled with excrement. The men accused Naseem of blasphemy and the police, who came to the spot, took her away to the local police station. Gulzar admitted that he did not intervene to help his wife because he was afraid.
The SMLP said a blasphemy case has been opened against the woman and her husband has been unable to visit her after more than a month.
The so-called blasphemy law (article 295 b & c of the Pakistani penal code) carries life sentences for offences against the Koran and the death penalty or life imprisonment for defamatory actions against the prophet Muhammad. The Catholic Church and human rights groups have long been calling for a total abrogation of the law. So far, the government has only introduced weak amendments.