Commentary by Dr. HL Champion
- The following article from The London Times Newspaper is another reminder of how intolerant Islam continues to be toward anyone with opposing views. It would be good for those who are of this mindset living here in America to remember their faulty heritage. While courts in other Islamic countries do not have legislative blasphemy laws as does Pakistan, it is evident that Muslims in general will not tolerate any distain toward their founding leader. The followers of Christ are diametrically opposite.
Islamic followers here in America have the same principles as does their foreign counterparts. We wonder and wait to see if they will protest this sentence in their publications and exhortations. We will not hold our breaths.
Let us pray for this Christian to be freed from this charge. And pray for the government to deal with the community response to this unjust charge. -
Twenty Six year old Sawan Masih, who is father of three children, was convicted of uttering the insult during a conversation with a Muslim friend. A mob then burned two churches and dozens of Christian homes in the eastern Pakistani city.
The Times newspaper says that if this sentence is carried out, it will be the first execution under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
Masih maintains that he was falsely accused as part of a plot by Muslim businessmen to clear Christians from their Lahore neighbourhood and turn the area into a profitable industrial estate. He is expected to appeal against the ruling.
Pakistan has become infamous in recent years for mob violence and vigilantism in response to any perceived insult to Islam or the Prophet Mohammed.
Such is the stigma against anyone accused of blasphemy that the family of a Christian girl falsely accused of burning pages of the Koran was forced to leave the country, despite a Muslim cleric later being arrested for making the story up.
In 2011, the relatively liberal governor of Punjab was killed by his own body guard for suggesting the blasphemy law be repealed. A Christian politician who had also criticised the law was shot dead two months after.
Critics of the law say that it is often abused to settle personal disputes and that members of minority groups are especially vulnerable.
Pakistan is the only country where the punishment for blasphemy is death or life imprisonment.
Sawan Masih was convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a conversation with a Muslim friend. A Muslim mob burnt dozens of Christian homes and set fire to two churches in Joseph Colony in retaliation for alleged insults.