In the meantime, the case has triggered a debate on how Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws are being used to settle personal scores and vendettas.
Plus: the Muslim cleric at the foreground of the campaign to prosecute a young Pakistani girl accused of blasphemy may have planted the evidence — burned pages from the Koran — himself.
From the religion beat: the popular Faith & Reason column at USA TODAY is closing down.
In today’s edition of Religion News Briefs: Appeals court orders punitive damages against jailed cult leader Tony Alamo reduced from $60M to $24M. Also: cult expert Stephen Kent addresses the decline of Scientology. And the Raelian Movement — a UFO cult — really knows how to latch onto free publicity.
Plus some surprising news in the blasphemy case against a young Pakistani Christian girl. And more…
The mother of a 6-month-old girl has been wrongly jailed for more than a month, as Pakistani authorities have failed to file a charge sheet within the mandatory 14-day period against the young Christian woman falsely accused of “blaspheming” the prophet of Islam, her attorney said.
A young mother has been falsely accused of “blaspheming” Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, because she rebuffed attempts by relatives who had converted to Islam to force her to renounce her Christian faith, family members said.
Speaking ill of Muhammad in Pakistan is punishable by life imprisonment or death under Pakistan’s internationally condemned blasphemy laws.
Police charged the man after his landlord accused him of burning pages of the Quran in order to prepare tea.
Pakistan police this month tortured a young Christian woman into revealing the whereabouts of the legal team helping her family after an influential Muslim family kidnapped her and her sister, sources said.
Police also helped the Muslim family beat relatives of the Christian woman on court premises and attacked the offices of the organization trying to help her family, they said.
Pakistani Christians have expressed concerns about renewed kidnappings and abuse of women and girls by Muslims in a country still reeling from the recent assassination of a Christian government minister.
Among those targeted was Sehar Naz, a 24-year-old employee with Pakistan’s State Life Insurance Corporation in Punjab province, who was recovering of her injuries Monday, May 23, after she was allegedly kidnapped and raped by a Pakistan Army officer.
Police in Chichawatni, Sahiwal district have charged a mentally ill Christian with “injuring religious feelings” under Pakistan’s widely condemned blasphemy laws.
Three families related to 25-year-old Babar Masih — the only other Christian families in the area — have fled their homes after a Muslim mob threatened to harm them, relatives of the accused told Compass.
Hundreds of Muslims in Gujranwala on Saturday attacked homes of Christians, a school and a Presbyterian church building after learning that police had released two Christians accused of “blasphemy” — amid reports of another alleged desecration of the Quran.
The riots compelled a large number of Christian families to flee, as they feared the kind of large-scale violence that occurred in Gojra on Aug. 1, 2009, when at least seven Christians were burned alive by Muslim mobs after the spread of a rumor of blasphemy.