Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Muslim Boy’s Response to Blasphemy Charge Unnerves Many in Pakistan

By Waqar Gillani and Rod Norland

PAKISTAN---Late one night, the imam Shabir Ahmad looked up from prayers at his mosque to see a 15-year-old boy approaching with a plate in his outstretched left hand. On it was the boy’s freshly severed right hand. Mr. Ahmad did not hesitate. He fled the mosque and left the village, in eastern Punjab Province. Earlier that night, Jan. 10, he had denounced the boy as a blasphemer, an accusation that in Pakistan can get a person killed — even when the accusation is false, as it was in this case. The boy’s family, however, argues that the cleric did nothing wrong and should not be punished. [link]

When the imam then asked who among them had stopped praying, Anwar, who apparently misheard the question, raised his hand. This inspired the crowd to accuse him of blasphemy and demand that he make penance.