Pakistan: Christian leaders condemn blasphemy sentence

Protesters at the weekend

Protesters at the weekend

Christian leaders in India have condemned the death sentence handed down to a Catholic woman for blasphemy in Pakistan.

“It is a condemnable thing in the contemporary world,” said Father Babu Joseph, spokesperson of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

Demanding repeal of such “archaic laws” as Pakistan’s blasphemy provisions, Father Babu said that these were often used against the minority communities in some countries.

“We must attempt to purge our societies from such barbaric laws,” he said.

A court in Pakistan on Nov 7 sentenced 45-year-old Asia Bibi to death, accepting the prosecution version that she had passed derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammed.

She says she was forced to defend her religion after Muslim women on June 19, 2009 called her an “infidel” and Christianity a “religion of infidels” and pressurized her to embrace Islam.

Bibi and her children were allegedly beaten after the incident and the woman has been in jail for the past year.

Jyotsana Chatterjee, director of the Joint Women’s Program of the Church of North India, said the death sentence given to the woman is “extremely against human rights and laws of judgement”

She appealed to the Pakistan government to immediately overturn the decision.

The All India Christian Council (AICC) has asked the Indian government to raise the matter with the United Nations Human Rights Council and Pakistan Government in a bid to save the woman’s life.

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan have been misused in particular to persecute the tiny Christian community in that country, said John Dayal, AICC secretary general. He said Christian women in Pakistan have been subject to abduction, forcible conversion and trafficking.

Source: UCAN News

See also: Pakistan: Christisan woman sentenced to death for blasphemy

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