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HomeAsiaChristian Man Arrested in Pakistan on Blasphemy Denies Sharing Facebook Post

Christian Man Arrested in Pakistan on Blasphemy Denies Sharing Facebook Post

Police in Pakistan apprehended a Christian man, Zaki Masih, from Chak 98 Shumaali village, based on accusations of sharing a Facebook post that allegedly insulted Islam. 

Despite the village’s Islamic cleric and other Muslims denying any blasphemy in the post, a case was registered against Masih under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. 

The charges include deliberately outraging religious sentiments, carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine, or both, as well as hurting religious sentiments, punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine, or both.

Zaki Masih’s brother, Wasim Masih, revealed that the disputed post, originally shared by a critical Muslim addressing the adulteration of food items, such as milk, was not posted by Zaki. The complainant, Muhammad Awais, has a history of property disputes with the Masih brothers, leading to a clash five years ago. Although village elders intervened and reconciled the parties involved, it appears that the other party held a grudge and falsely implicated Zaki in this case.

Wasim Masih further disclosed that Awais and his friends reached out to several Muslims to rally support against Zaki Masih. However, the majority discouraged them from inciting hatred against the Christians, including the imam of the village mosque, who confirmed that the post contained no derogatory remarks towards Islam. Despite these reassurances, the complainant proceeded to file a case, resulting in Zaki’s arrest during a police raid on his shop.

Fortunately, the local community displayed restraint and support for the accused, recognizing the baselessness of the charges. However, tensions remained heightened due to a similar incident in a neighboring village, which forced several Christian families to flee their homes.

In the adjacent Chak 49 Shumaali village of Sargodha, a Facebook post by Haroon Shahzad on June 29 caused tensions to escalate. The post cited 1 Corinthians 10:18-21, discussing food offered to idols, during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), where animals are slaughtered and the meat shared.

A screenshot of Shahzad’s post circulated on social media, resulting in accusations of disrespecting the Abrahamic tradition of animal sacrifice and likening Muslims to pagans. The complainant, Imran Ullah, reportedly held personal grudges against Shahzad, stemming from legal disputes over a plot of land designated for constructing a church building.

The cases involving Zaki Masih and Haroon Shahzad highlight the complex dynamics of religious tensions and personal animosities that can lead to blasphemy accusations in Pakistan..read more

 

Original Post Source: Morning Star News

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