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False blasphemy accusations need penalty, group sayscomment (0)

October 3, 2013


Pakistan’s constitutionally mandated Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) told the government Sept. 18 that anyone who wrongly accuses a person of blasphemy against Islam must be executed — a measure intended to protect innocent people who are often killed by mobs.

The CII demanded the measure after endorsing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which allow a death sentence for people found guilty of desecrating the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad, mosques or Islamic beliefs.

Charges of blasphemy are sometimes leveled to settle scores or acquire property, a Pakistan Today editorial said Sept. 20.

Former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and former Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated in 2011 for demanding the blasphemy laws be reformed to remove the option of execution and retain only the existing punishments of imprisonment and fines.

CII decided that falsely accusing someone of blasphemy “is totally un-Islamic in nature and is also tantamount to blasphemy,” the Pakistan Tribune reported.

CII member Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said the amendment would ensure “nobody dares to use religion to settle personal scores,” Pakistan’s Nation newspaper reported.  

(RNS)

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