November 20, 2012 |
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A Pakistani court on Tuesday dismissed charges against a Christian girl accused of desecrating the Koran, ending a case that had cast a spotlight on the country's controversial blasphemy law and renewed questions about the treatment of minorities. The Islamabad High Court concluded there was no evidence to support allegations that Rimsha Masih, 14, had ripped pages from the Koran on Aug. 16 and burned them, said one of her lawyers, Akmal Waheed Bhatti. Rimsha spent three weeks in jail but was later freed on bail after police came across evidence they say shows an imam at a mosque in her neighborhood had ripped pages from a copy of the Koran and planted them in a bag of ashes and trash that the girl was taking to a garbage bin. The cleric, Khalid Chishti, now faces charges of fabricating evidence against Rimsha.
June 11, 2013 |
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. Protesters in the embattled city of Aleppo called for justice in the killing of a 14-year-old boy accused of blasphemy, blaming armed opposition groups for the youth's death. The killers have not been identified, but some in the city are pointing a finger at armed Islamist groups, an accusation that could ignite tensions among residents, activists and Islamic rebels in the city, about half of which is under opposition control.
September 8, 2009 |
An Afghan journalist, whose death sentence for blasphemy was reduced to 20 years in prison on appeal, has been released and is living in exile in an undisclosed country, a media watchdog said. Parwez Kambakhsh, 24, a reporter with the Afghan Jahan-e Now daily, was sentenced to death in January 2008 by a court in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. He was arrested and imprisoned for downloading and distributing an Iranian article from the Internet that said the prophet Muhammad had ignored the rights of women.
November 15, 2010
An atheist blogger rants about the idiocy of religion and its adherents, and forms Facebook groups in which he declares himself God and orders his followers to smoke marijuana. Here, we call this kind of thing the new normal. But in parts of the Muslim world, it can get you executed -- and in the West Bank, where a mild-mannered barber was recently arrested on heresy charges for "insulting the divine essence," it's posing a serious test for the Western-backed regime that would presumably rule a Palestinian state, if one ever comes into being.
May 8, 1998 |
Thousands of mourners Thursday demanded repeal of a law that bans blasphemy against Islam, one day after a Roman Catholic bishop killed himself to protest a death sentence against a Christian convicted under the law. Bishop John Joseph, 65, shot himself in the head Wednesday at the courthouse in Punjab province where fellow Catholic Ayub Masih was tried and sentenced to death April 27. "We should not call it suicide," Lahore Archbishop Emmanuel Yousuf Mani said.
May 9, 1998 |
Ayub Masih, a young Pakistani from the village of Sahiwal, was condemned to death under his nation's laws for defaming the Prophet Muhammad. The young man allegedly had praised "The Satanic Verses," the Salman Rushdie novel that many Muslims consider insulting to Islam. The harsh penalty for Masih, a Roman Catholic, for violating Pakistan's notorious blasphemy law might have gone unnoticed, except for a stunning intervention by Bishop John Joseph.