Pakistani police arrest 4 for ‘blasphemy’ over mosque argument

Four Muslim males accused of blasphemy after arguing with spiritual cleric who refused to make funeral announcement for a Christian.

Pakistani police have arrested 4 males charged with blasphemy after they argued with an ‘imam’ (spiritual cleric) over whether or not a funeral announcement for a Christian neighbour may very well be created from a mosque, officers say.

The case occurred within the village of Khodi Khushal Singh, near the jap metropolis of Lahore, on November 18, a neighborhood police official Faryad, who goes by one identify, advised Al Jazeera on Thursday.

“The men have been detained and we have presented them before the court,” he mentioned.

The males, who had been Muslim, argued with a neighborhood cleric after he refused to make a funeral announcement for a Christian man from his mosque, the preliminary police report says.

“As soon as they arrived [at the mosque], they started cursing the mosque’s imam, they disrespected the mosque and they insulted Islam,” reads the report.

Blasphemy is a delicate topic in Pakistan, the place strict blasphemy legal guidelines prescribe a compulsory dying penalty for sure types of the crime.

The 4 males had been charged underneath sections 295 and 298 of Pakistan’s penal code, which carry penalties of as much as two years in jail.

Pakistan has by no means executed a convict underneath the blasphemy legal guidelines, however accusations of the offence have more and more led to homicide by mobs or people. Since 1990, at the very least 79 individuals have been killed in such violence, in response to an Al Jazeera tally.

Pakistani human rights activists have decried the case towards the 4 males as being unfounded.

“If there was a Muslim who in good faith wants to have an announcement such as this made in the community, it’s not an attack on someone’s faith, it’s a good cause,” mentioned human rights activist and lawyer Nadeem Anthony.

“So if someone announces [a funeral] on a loudspeaker, how is it a religious violation?”