Islamic Tolerance Alert from Compass Direct, with thanks to Twostellas:
LAHORE, Pakistan, June 30 (Compass Direct) — A Pakistani “blasphemy” suspect has appealed for asylum in Holland after facing police torture and attacks by Muslim extremists for his controversial religious views.
Yasaar Hameed, 36, applied for asylum in late March, meeting Dutch immigration officials for his first hearing on June 7. Still wanted on charges of blasphemy in Pakistan, Hameed told friends in Pakistan that authorities said it would take at least six months to process his application.
Hameed’s wife and two children remain in Pakistan where they face dual insecurity for converting to Christianity and for Hameed being sought as a blasphemy suspect. Hameed and his family converted to Christianity in 2004.
A political activist and comparative religion scholar, Hameed has found himself in courtroom troubles several times since 1993, each time accused of blasphemy. The worst accusation came in December 2002, when extremist maulvis (Muslim teachers) accused him of publishing a pamphlet showing Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, in indecent positions.
Under Pakistani law, blasphemy against Muhammad carries the death penalty.
Hameed was detained for nearly six months from December 2002 to May 2003. The former prisoner said he was tortured for two weeks and denied food for a month, and that he also spent time in solitary confinement.
“After he didn’t come home for a week, we began to get worried,” Hameed’s wife, whose name has been withheld for security reasons, told Compass. “The police wanted a bribe before they would give us any information, and no lawyers were able to help us.”
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