Mentally Ill Christians Charged with Blasphemy in Pakistan

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The local police has charged a mentally-disabled Pakistani Christian man with blasphemy, reports Pakistan Christian Post.

Stephen Masih, 38, unmarried, was arrested after Muhammad Rafique and Muhammad Imran claimed that Masih “had made derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad.” Masih lives with his sister who argued that he has been mentally ill since he was a child. She added that Masih used abusive language against their women neighbors, but not Prophet Muhammad.

We are unhappy with the functioning of the government in Pakistan because the mindset of ‘maulvis’ (Islamic hardliners) towards Christians is immoral. —Frank John, Chairman of Drumchapel Asian Forum in NW Glasgow

Gatestone Institute listed several incidents wherein mentally ill Christians in Pakistan were charged with blasphemy.

Last year, a mentally-disabled Yaqoob Bashir, 26, was accused of burning a Koran booklet in 2015 and was sentenced to life in prison. His mother called the decision as “unbearable and unjust.” She said, “He did not insult or do blasphemy. He does not care much of these issues as his mind works differently than that of a normal person’s.”

Another incident happened in August 2017 where a 16-year-old mentally-challenged Christian was accused of stealing. Asif Stephen was assaulted and also accused of burning a Koran.

Christian charity Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS)-UK director Nasir Saeed lamented that blasphemy laws are misused against religious minorities in Pakistan.

“Pakistani politicians, courts and law enforcement agencies all are aware that blasphemy law is frequently misused to settle personal grudges and petty disputes, but still has failed to stop ongoing misuse of this law,” Saeed said.

He reminded law enforcement agencies to be vigilant in distinguishing between healthy and mentally ill people before filing a case against them.

Meantime, Pakistanis living in Europe held a protest rally in Geneva, Switzerland during the 40th session of the Human Rights Council to condemn the rising number of Islamists who are persecuting minorities in their home country, reports Asia News.

Rallyists gathered in front of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to Broken Chair in Palais Wilson. They demanded the abolition of the blasphemy laws.

“We are unhappy with the functioning of the government in Pakistan because the mindset of ‘maulvis’ (Islamic hardliners) towards Christians is immoral,” said Frank John, Chairman of Drumchapel Asian Forum in NW Glasgow. He added, “Every person in Pakistan is unhappy with Act 295C because we always remain in fear of its misuse.”

Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at Joyce@onechristianvoice.com.

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