Human rights activists and politicians in Pakistan have banded together to successfully secure the release of a 9-year-old Christian boy and his mother who were jailed last week and could have faced the death penalty after they were accused of burning the Quran.
According to the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association, 9-year-old Izhan was at school in the town of Quetta on Oct. 20 when he was accused of burning a copy of Islam's holy book.
The next day, he and his mother, Shakil, who works as a nurse at a nearby hospital, were arrested without the police conducting an investigation into the allegations provided by a Muslim witness. more >>
A persecution watchdog group is organizing a 24-hour prayer rally for Asia Bibi, the Christian mother of five who's facing the death penalty in Pakistan for blasphemy, and warns that hard-line Islamists could lash out violently against Christians after next week's hearing.
The Pakistani Supreme court announced on Friday that Bibi's appeal will take place on Thursday, Oct. 13 in Islamabad, which is expected to decide whether the Christian mother will escape the death penalty, or become the first woman in Pakistan to face such an extreme punishment for blasphemy.
Bibi was originally sentenced to death after an argument with Muslim co-workers back in June 2009, in which she was accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, though she denies the charge. more >>
A Pakistani Christian family was tied up and beaten by a group of Muslims who stormed their home last month looking to force the family to convert to Islam. But when the family refused to renounce their faith, their youngest daughter was abducted, raped and has yet to return home.
The London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association has come to the aid of the Masih family, a family of 10 Christians caught in the grips of bonded labor (modern day slavery) near the city of Kasur in Eastern Pakistan.
According to BPCA, the family lived in a small home made of mud and had been constantly pressured by local Muslims to convert to Islam, as they were the only family in the neighborhood who hadn't embraced Islam. more >>
A Muslim man in Pakistan was arrested after he shot and killed his 18-year-old sister because he felt that she had disgraced the family by marrying a Christian man.
Mubeen Rajhu, a 24-year-old who hails from Lahore, killed his 18-year-old sister, Tasleem, by shooting her in the head in August because she disobeyed the family's wishes when she got married to a Christian man.
A 16-year-old Christian boy from Pakistan is facing a prison sentence of up to 10 years for allegedly liking a Facebook post deemed offensive to Muslims, which has also put his family in danger of being attacked.
The boy was charged with blasphemy for "liking" a supposedly sacrilegious picture of the Kaaba, a black cube-shaped structure located at Islam's holiest mosque in Mecca. His actions are said to have offended some of his Muslim friends, who alleged that the boy "had done a great injustice to us by badly hurting our religious feelings."
The Organization for Legal Aid, which is the Pakistani office of the European Centre for Law and Justice, said last week that the Christian boy's family was encouraged by police to leave their home, or else face the possibility of violent retaliation by radicals, which has happened in the past with blasphemy accusations. more >>
An atheist group celebrating the upcoming International Blasphemy Rights Day on Friday, has said that laws around the world that restrict or punish those who criticize religion take away the rights of atheists, Christians, and other people.
"In too many countries around the world, criticizing religion is illegal. We've seen the consequences of these laws too many times — when a tweet or a post on Facebook declaring one's atheism or questioning a tenet of religion leads to arrests, beatings, prison, and sometimes death sentences," the Center for Inquiry, which set up the first event in 2009, said in a statement on Monday.
"Sometimes religious militants make their own laws, deciding for themselves that expressions of dissent justify brutal killings, like the grisly murders of secularists in Bangladesh, or attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan," the group added. more >>