March 2, 2019

PAKISTAN: A Moderate Muslim Mob Chased Out About 200 Christian Families From Their Homes After Four Christian Women Were FALSELY ACCUSED Of Blasphemy Offending Islam Last Week.

Persecution International Christian Concern
written by Staff
Monday February 25, 2019

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that four Christian women from the Farooq-e-Azam neighborhood of Karachi, Pakistan were falsely accused of blasphemy on February 19, 2019. Following the false accusation, a mob of enraged Muslims attacked the Christian-majority neighborhood, leading to the displacement of approximately 200 Christian families.

The incident began in January 2019, when Fayaz and Samina Riaz, a Muslim couple, were asked to vacate their rented house by their Christian landlord, Amjad Dildar. According to local Christians, the Muslim couple had been “causing trouble among the Christian families in the community” and were asked to leave.

On Tuesday, February 19, Samina Riaz accused four Christian women, including three of her landlord’s daughters, of desecrating a Quran. According to Aslam Masih, a local eyewitness, “Samina Riaz alleged Sunaina Amjad, age 22, Sophia Amjad, age 18, Soneha Amjad, age 14, and Sophia Qamar, age 30, [of] desecrating a Holy Quran. She claimed they stole a copy of the Quran and ruined it by submerging it into a basin of dirty water.”
This is what happens when a mean spirited heartless person reports a fake hate crime. (emphasis mine)
As news of the accusation spread, a mob of enraged Muslims gathered in Farooq-e-Azam and attacked several Christian properties, including Amjad Dildar’s house and a nearby church. The Muslim mob killed family pets, livestock, and damaged several Christian homes by stoning them.

Approximately 200 Christian families from Farooq-e-Azam have fled their homes and moved to safer areas within Karachi. Local police have regained control of the neighborhood; however, members of the mob are still refusing to allow Christians to open their churches.

“After police investigated, it was revealed that (THE MUSLIM WOMAN) Samina Riaz borrowed a copy of the Quran from Khalid Khan, a nearby shopkeeper,” Masih told ICC. “When she reached home, she threw it into a water tub in the restroom. She purposely alleged the Christian women of desecrating the Holy Book of Islam.”

Samina Riaz later admitted to orchestrating the incident and she and her husband, Fayaz, were arrested. However, a First Information Report (FIR) has yet to be filed because negotiations between local Christian and Muslim leaders are ongoing.

In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. In the past 30 years, more than 1,500 individuals have been accused of committing blasphemy. Religious minorities, including Christians, make up the majority of these accusations despite the fact that religious minorities make up only 3.6% of Pakistan’s total population.

ICC’s Regional Manager, William Stark, said, “ICC’s thoughts and prayers go out to the four Christian women who were falsely accused and the Christian community of Farooq-e-Azam. The abuse of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws must be curbed. Too often these laws have been a tool in the hands of extremists seeking to stir up religiously motivated violence against minority communities. Without real reform, religious minorities, including Christians, will face more false blasphemy accusations and the extreme violence that often accompanies these accusations.”

*********** IN SIMILAR NEWS ***********

Worldwatch Monitor
written by Staff
December 17, 2018

A Pakistani court last week sentenced two Christian brothers to death for blasphemy. (insulting Islam)

Since their arrest in 2014, Qaisar and Amoon Ayub had been held in District Jail Jhelum, in Punjab province, 200 km north of Lahore, for allegedly posting “disrespectful material” on their website, according to AsiaNews.

For security reasons the two were kept in prison for the 13 December announcement of their sentence by Judge Javed Iqbal Bosal of Talagang District Jhelum.

Their story dates back to 2011 when Qaisar, following a quarrel at his office, started to receive death threats and the brothers had to flee the country. They were arrested on charges of blasphemy upon return four years later, as AsiaNews reported at the time.

Qaisar has said he closed his account in 2009 but that a Muslim friend somehow had been able to take the website back online while keeping it in Qaisar’s name, according to AsiaNews.

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS-UK) that has represented the brothers, said they planned to appeal the sentence, taking it to the Lahore High Court.

“In this case the trial Judge did not apply his judicious mind and convicted the accused in a very casual manner,” the centre said on its website.

“This is a very unfortunate situation,” centre director Nasir Saeed said. “Because of threats from hardliners, lower courts pass their responsibility to the higher court and then it takes years to prove the accused innocent.”

“We have seen this in the recent case of Asia Bibi, who was similarly convicted by the lower court and it took her years to reach to the Supreme Court to get justice,” he said. “I am afraid now Qasir and Amoon will have to wait years to get justice.”

Aasiya Noreen, a Pakistani Christian woman commonly known as Asia Bibi, was acquitted by the country’s highest court in October of a blasphemy charge, which carries the death penalty, though it has never been imposed.


The reason for the accusations against the two brothers appears to be a quarrel between Qaisar’s friends that took place in his office in Lahore in 2010 when one of them made a comment about the sister of another friend, who then blamed Qaisar for the insult.

He told Qaisar that this was a very serious issue in Pakistan and shortly afterward, Qaisar began to receive death threats and went into hiding.

For fear of his life, he fled the country, together with his brother. First they went to Singapore, then to Thailand but could not stay in either place for very long, and so they returned to Pakistan in 2012. It was then that Qaisar was told that a blasphemy case was opened against him.

Both men are married, and Qaisar has three children. The latter’s imprisonment has affected his family, in particular the mental health of his 14-year-old son, AsiaNews reported shortly after their arrests.

The US State Department announced last week that it had added Pakistan to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for religious-freedom violations because of the country’s blasphemy laws.

“[Of] the world’s population of people that are in prison for blasphemy, half of them are in Pakistani prisons, including Asia Bibi recently, who was recently released and is now awaiting a re-hearing of sorts by the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” the US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, said during a press briefing.

Minority Empowerment Package

Meanwhile, the Punjab government announced a grant package as early Christmas gift to religious minorities, including advance salaries to Christian employees who will be able to have a holiday on Christmas despite 25 December also being the birthday of Pakistan’s founder, said Mr. Ejaz Alam Augustine, Punjab’s Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs.

Augustine said previous governments had delayed Christmas package many months, but this time it would be given before Christmas.

He also announced that after Christmas, “the Punjab government will introduce a complete legislative package which will include updating Christian family laws and better mechanisms for providing 5% job quota,” adding that they were also considering introducing “an education quota for religious minorities in the institutions of higher learning. We hope this would bring a change in the lives of religious minorities, especially Christians in Punjab who are the largest minority in the province”.

Last week, at an event to mark Human Rights Day, the Minister announced a Minority Empowerment Package, which includes new legislation and implementation of existing laws to assist religious minority communities in Punjab, as reported by the national newspaper Dawn.

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