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Pakistan: another Christian accused of blasphemy

Catholic World News - April 11, 2011

Arif Masih, a 40-year-old Pakistani Christian, has been jailed after being accused of tearing pages from the Qur’an and writing a threatening letter to Muslims. The blasphemy accusation, according to the Fides news agency, followed a land dispute with his neighbor.

Father Nasir Barkat of the Diocese of Faisalabad said he was told by a police official that “we know that Arif Masih was falsely accused in this case, and we will apprehend the real culprits.”

“We urgently need to find a solution to prevent this abuse of the law,” said Paul Bhatti, a Catholic layman who serves as special advisor to the prime minister for religious minority affairs. Bhatti, whose brother Shahbaz was assassinated in March 2 for opposing the blasphemy law, added that “we can start with a moratorium or consider amendments. But we must also work to change the mentality and culture in Pakistan where there are individuals and organizations who use this law to create disharmony and social tension.”

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