Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 17 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Mariana of Jesus
home iconNews
line break icon

Calls for Death Penalty for Misuse of Blasphemy Law

© Arif ALI / AFP

UCAnews - published on 09/20/13

Pakistan clerics want to end false claims against the innocent

Pakistan’s official body of religious scholars has recommended an amendment to the country’s controversial blasphemy law, calling for the death penalty for people who falsely accuse others of insulting the Prophet Mohammed. 

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is constitutionally authorized to advise lawmakers on the compatibility of laws with Islamic sharia.

At a meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday the council said misuse of blasphemy laws is as blasphemous and punishable as the act itself.

Those who abuse the law should also be punished with the death penalty, it said.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan, which has effectively claimed the lives of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti after the two politicians spoke out and called for the law to be reformed. Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of four, has been in jail for the past four years on blasphemy charges, having drunk water from a cup that was reserved for Muslim women.

Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old Christian girl was detained in a maximum security prison for several weeks in Aug 2012, after falsely being accused by a Muslim cleric of burning pages from the Qu’ran.

Rights group and religious minorities say it has often been abused with false accusations being used to settle personal feuds.

CII member and Chairman of Pakistan’s Ulema Council, Allama Tahir Ashrafi, proposed the recommendation.

"I thank Allah that I attained a most significant victory in the CII meeting which approved the death sentence for those who file an untrue [accusation] of some blasphemous incident," he said after the meeting.

"I dedicate this effort to all those including Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, who have fought for righteousness," he added.

The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), an umbrella organization representing minorities and marginalized communities, hailed the CII recommendation as “a positive step forward.”

"We have been engaged in a long struggle towards this very end to stop misuse of the blasphemy law; hence, it is definitely a good development,” said APMA chairman Doctor Paul Bhatti, Shahbaz Bhatti’s elder brother.

The APMA made this very same demand at its national conference in February this year to end this abuse of the law, he added.

Originally published at UCAnews on 19 September 2013. Used with permission. All other rights reserved. 

Tags:
PakistanReligious Freedom
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
3
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
4
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
St. Padre Pio: His life, his miracles and his legacy
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
7
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.