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Pakistan: blasphemy laws spur violence against Christians

2009-09-07

As a result, minority religions in Pakistan, like Christianity, are marginalized at least indirectly. Moreover, so-called “blasphemy laws” forbid anyone from disrespecting the Muslim religion.

Insulting the Koran or the prophet Mohammed, for example, could result in prison or the death penalty in Pakistan.   

But some extremists are using these laws as a pretext to attack Christians, often in the most violent of ways.

Father Pascal Paulus, a Dominican priest from Pakistan says the violence is getting increasingly worse.

Father Pascal Paulus
(Pakistan)

Lately we have faced like in one month we have faced three different places that there was great violence. Like eight people were burned alive.”

Father Pascal has seen the violence against Christians in his country first hand. He came to Rome to raise awareness about the persecution of Christians in Pakistan and tell how blasphemy laws are being used unfairly against them.

Father Pascal Paulus
(Pakistan)
We want to request to people, local organizations and international organizations to raise their voices for the amendment of the law 295 b and c, in order for people to live in dignity, respect.”

About 2.8 million people, just over 1% of the total population of Pakistan, is Christian making it a vulnerable demographic to extremist groups in the country.

Christians like Father Paulus are giving a voice to Pakistan’s voiceless majority. Raising international awareness might just be the first step in easing tensions between Christians and Muslims in that country.

RS