By BosNewsLife Asia Service
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– A major rights group expressed concerns Tuesday, November 3, that prominent Islamic political parties are obstructing efforts to amend of repeal Pakistan’s blasphemy legislation under which Christians have been detained across the country.
U.S.-based International Christian Concern (ICC) said it learned that on October 31, the influential Jamaat Ahl-e-Hadith Pakistan and the Tehreek Tahafuz-e-Haqooq Ahl-e-Sunnat parties, told the government not to amend the law “if it wants to remain in power.”
Pakistan’s blasphemy law stipulates that defaming the Islamic prophet Mohammed or desecrating the Koran, deemed a holy book by Muslims, is punishable by death or life imprisonment.
“Muslims have used the law to repeatedly incite violence against Christians. In August, a Muslim mob killed 11 Christians and burned down over 40 Christian homes following false allegation of desecration of the Koran an in the Pakistani city of Gojra,” ICC said.
Muslims also have been the victims of the blasphemy law. According to the State Department’s report on International Religious Freedom, in 2008 alone, 17 Muslims and 25 Ahmedis were arrested for allegedly violating the blasphemy law, ICC said.
“It’s unfortunate that political parties stand in the way of repealing the blasphemy law which has been misused against Christians, Muslims, and Ahmedis,” said ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and South Asia, Jonathan Racho.
“We urge the government of Pakistan to end the misuse of blasphemy laws by repealing it once and for all.”