Pakistani Catholic Didn't Burn Quran, Says Archdiocese

Anti-Blasphemy Law Continues to Victimize Christians

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KOENIGSTEIN, Germany, DEC. 15, 2011 (Zenit.org).- With the plight of Asia Bibi drawing international attention, another Pakistani Christian is facing accusations of blasphemy.

A 24-year-old man, Khuram Masih, was arrested Dec. 6 after his girlfriend accused him of burning the Quran.

However, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Lahore told Aid to the Church in Need that the charges are fabricated.

The spokesman explained that Masih had been living with his Hindu girlfriend out of wedlock, as his parents had not consented to a wedding.

According to the archdiocese, the family of the Muslim owner of the house in which the unmarried couple was living put pressure on the young woman and blackmailed her after she declared unwillingness to convert to Islam. She was threatened with stoning for «living in sin.» Under these threats, she was forced to call the police to accuse her boyfriend of burning Quran pages to warm tea.

The young man is now in jail awaiting trial.

A Pakistani Muslim attorney who defends victims against accusations of blasphemy and whose name cannot be mentioned for security reasons told ACN that 95% of all blasphemy allegations are false and intended to harm or take revenge on someone.

Pakistan’s blasphemy law was enacted in 1986. Insulting the Quran can be punished by life imprisonment, and insulting the Prophet Mohammed is punishable by death. According to the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church in Pakistan, which documents these cases, 38 persons, including 14 Christians, were accused of blasphemy last year.

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