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Pakistan to hang Christian for ‘blasphemous’ WhatsApp images sent by Muslim

Orthodox Christians in Pakistan are under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore and South Asia, which comprises all the Orthodox Communities, Parishes, Foundations and Philanthropic Projects in Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Brunei, Timor, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, as well as Pakistan.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Pakistan to hang Christian for ‘blasphemous’ WhatsApp images sent by Muslim,” by Simon Caldwell, Catholic Herald, June 6, 2023 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

A court in Pakistan has sentenced a Christian to death after he received cartoons of Mohammad, the founder of Islam, in a WhatsApp chat message to his phone.

Nouman Asghar, 24, of Bahawalpur in Punjab, was convicted of blasphemy under 295-c of the country’s Penal Code, which carries the death penalty.

According to Fides news agency, he and his family argued that the drawings of Mohammad were sent to him by Bilal Ahmad, a young Muslim whom the police did not arrest.

The same drawings were also sent via WhatsApp, a social media platform, to Sunny Mushtaq, the Christian cousin of Ashghar, who is awaiting sentencing for blasphemy from the same Bahawalpur Magistrates Court.

Trainee Sub-Inspector Fraz Ahmed of the Faqirwali Police Station in Bahawalnagar said the pair were arrested in July 2019 after he received “secret information” that Mushtaq had printed the sketches and was showing them to other people.

Aneeqa Maria Anthony, a lawyer from The Voice legal group which is supporting the pair, said he was disappointed by the sentencing of Asghar.

He said: “The magistrate ignored all the procedures and dismissed all the evidence in favour of the accused.

“He only wanted to complete his ‘sacred duty’ to punish an alleged blasphemer,” he told Fides news agency.

“We expect the same fate for Sunny Mushtaq. They were arrested for a teenage game. Their families are suffering greatly.

“Our legal team at The Voice is doing everything necessary to grant them justice, helping their families and standing by their side in these dark and difficult times.”

Mr Anthony described the prosecution of the two men as “another example of the misuse of blasphemy laws” under which scores of Christians have been prosecuted, often following fabricated allegations….

Pakistan ranked seventh on Open Doors’ 2023 list of the world’s most dangerous places to be a Christian, up from eighth the previous year.

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