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16 Y/O Christian Boy Facing Death Penalty After 'Blaspheming' Islam with Facebook Post, Family Forced to Flee

( [email protected] ) Sep 29, 2016 04:40 PM EDT
A 16-year-old Christian boy in Pakistan is facing the death penalty after after a photo of the Kaaba in Mecca, one of the holiest sites in Islam, appeared on his Facebook profile.
Pakistan's blasphemy laws do not discriminate: scores of Christian men, women and children have been imprisoned after "blaspheming" the Muslim prophet Mohammad. Photo Credit: REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

A 16-year-old Christian boy in Pakistan is facing the death penalty after a photo of the Kaaba in Mecca, one of the holiest sites in Islam, appeared on his Facebook profile.

According to the Express, after the image, showing the Kaaba with a pig's head on top, appeared on the boy's Facebook page, a Muslim man alerted local police of the "insulting and sacrilegious" post.

Shahbaz Ahmed, a police official, said the informant contacted officers over a post "hurting religious sentiments of Muslims and desecrating the religious place" and accused the boy "had done a great injustice to us by badly hurting our religious feelings".

Police did not release details of the contents of the post, other than it included a photo of the Kaaba, a black cube-shape  built around an ancient stone at the center of Islam's most sacred mosque Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

While it is unclear if the boy posted the image, was tagged in the post or liked the post, under Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws, the teenage boy faces the death penalty or a life sentence.

Thus, the boy's family have been forced to flee their home in Bhai Pheru for fear of violence as their son awaits trial in prison.

Pakistan's notorious blasphemy laws often target Christians, which make up just 1.6% of the country's population. According to BBC News, "scores" of Christians have been found guilty of desecrating the Koran or of blasphemy since 1990.  

Earlier this year, a young Christian boy in Pakistan was charged with blasphemy and forced to run for his life after Muslim leaders offered a $10,000 reward for his body because he was falsely accused of viewing anti-Muslim material on his phone.

Pakistan, the world's second largest Muslim country, is ranked #6 on the Open Doors 2016 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians, and has received the maximum score in the violence category.

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said the incident "underlines the worthlessness of Christians in Pakistan."

"A 16-year-old boy who has been accused of a blasphemy, has been placed in a prison without any proper investigation," he said.

"Social media can be a force for good or for bad, and we are all too aware of trolling in the west. However few understand the blasphemy entrapment Christians can face in Pakistan and often on flimsiest evidence, for which I can see social media becoming an ever more prolific weapon. "Pakistani Christians try to be active parts of society and will have friends from the local Muslim community. It is hard to be part of the local community when you exclude the largest diversity, however perhaps in future Christians in Pakistan should observe a more stand-offish approach when adding Muslims to their social media.

"Clearly, even long term friends will bay for your blood if they feel that you have slighted their faith. perhaps it would be wise to prevent such hatred by more aloofness in future."

Tags : Pakistan, Christian, Islam, Muslim, Middle East, Persecution, blasphemy, Facebook