christian woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy in pakistan
The 45-year-old mother of five appeared in a tearful televised briefing for reporters Saturday at the prison in Punjab province, declaring her innocence to reporters and maintaining the case stemmed from personal disputes that led to a false accusation.
“I have small children,” pleaded Bibi, wearing a veil covering all but her eyes. “For God’s sake, please set me free.”
Bibi has been in prison for the last 1 1/2 years and on Nov. 8 became the first woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy. Pope Benedict XVI has called for her release.
…ibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, says that is what happened to his wife in June 2009. He said his wife was picking fruit in an orchard in their village of Attian Wali, west of the Punjab provincial capital of Lahore, when she went to fetch some water for the group. When she returned, some of the Muslim women refused to drink from a container touched by a Christian, he said.
Offended, Bibi exchanged heated words with the women, he said. The family thought nothing further of the spat — until five days later when dozens of Muslims from the town’s mosque appeared and dragged her away, according to the husband’s account.
The angry women claimed that Bibi had insulted Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, and the local imam had denounced her from the pulpit.
Bibi’s 18-year-old daughter, Sidra, said she followed the crowd to the mosque and witnessed people hitting and insulting her mother.
“They told her to admit the charges of blasphemy, but she wouldn’t,” Sidra said. “They tried to force her to convert to Islam, but she wouldn’t. Then they started beating her.”
Bibi was eventually taken to the local police station and charged with blasphemy.
(CNN)– An Afghan Christian, detained for months for allegedly converting to Christianity from Islam, could face trial as early as next week – and could face a potential death penalty, officials said Sunday.
Said Musa was arrested by Afghan Interior Ministry intelligence authorities near the German Embassy in Kabul because of the allegations, said Qamaruddin Shenwari, director of the Kabul courts’ north zone. The exact date of his arrest is not known.
The case against Musa has not yet been finalized, said Mohammad Najim Hamidi, director of public security at Zone 3 of the Kabul courts. He could face trial next week if the case is prepared by then, Hamidi said. It was earlier thought Musa’s trial would begin on Sunday.
The Afghan Constitution does not mention converting from one religion to another, so the judge will take Islamic law into account, officials said.
“According to Afghanistan’s constitution, if there is no clear verdict as to whether an act is criminal or not in the penal code of the Afghan Constitution, then it would be referred to sharia law where the judge has an open hand in reaching a verdict,” Shenwari said.
Under sharia law, converting from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death.
christian murdered becuase they wanted his property.
ISLAMABAD – Police suspect two Muslim extremists shot a Christian to death yesterday in Punjab Province shortly after the victim was granted bail in a “blasphemy” case – and less than a week after Islamist militants killed four members of a Christian family for their faith in the same province.
In Godhpur village in Narowal district, 111 kilometers (69 miles) northeast of Lahore, 22-year-old Latif Masih died after two men with pistols shot him to death near his home. Inspector Rafique Ahmed said that Masih’s murder was likely linked to the case against him for allegedly desecrating the Quran. “No Muslim tolerates a man who commits blasphemous acts,” he said.
Masih, a member of the United Presbyterian Church, was accused of burning pages of the Quran in a case registered at Godhpur police station in June and had spent five months in jail. He was released on bail on Nov. 3 after the complainant in the case, Ijaz Ahmed, told the court that he was not sure that Masih was guilty, police said.
Masih’s mother Rubina Bibi, 60, said two men armed with pistols knocked at the door of their house on Thursday (Nov. 18) and asked him to accompany them.
“A few yards from the house, they suddenly opened fire,” she said, adding that Masih was shot five times.
She said the attackers fled by motorbike. “There were policemen present in the street, but no one tried to stop them,” she said.
Junaid Masih, the victim’s brother, said Latif Masih was innocent of the blasphemy charge. He said that Ahmed had filed the charge because he was trying to take possession of his brother’s shop.
“My brother bought a mobile shop in the village,” he said. “He displayed a cross inside. Ijaz Ahmed is the son of the local Muslim cleric, and he came to Latif`s shop and threw the cross out and demanded that he leave the shop.”
Junaid Masih added that he suspected Ahmed had arranged for two Muslim associates who were with him when he threw out the cross to kill his brother.