A Christian family from Pakistan was forced to move to an undisclosed location in the country after their daughter received death threats for allegedly desecrating the Qu’ran. According to the Justice and Peace Commission of Pakistan’s Bishops’ Conference, the family was told of “terrible consequences” on the part of Muslim extremists in Wah Cantt (near Islamabad).
As reported by AsiaNews, last July, 16-year-old Safad Tasneem Dean was accused of throwing a copy of the Qu’ran into a trash bin. “An enraged group of Muslims gathered with the intention of burning the girl’s house,” the agency reported. “They tried to kill her but a group of local elders was able to save her by getting the police to arrest her.”
After heated discussions between local Christians and Muslims, it was decided that the girl’s father would take her place in prison. He was released soon after.
Since then, there has been no evidence presented concerning the alleged blasphemy, however, Safad has reportedly received continued death threats and her family was told of “terrible consequences”. As a result, Safad’s family was forced to move to an undisclosed location.
For more than 20 years, the blasphemy laws have been widely misused and caused fear and suffering in the predominantly Muslim nation, as they only require the testimony of one Muslim to bring charges against another person for blasphemy.
Although the purpose of the laws is to prevent the defamation of Islam and the prophet Mohammed, the laws have been used as a tool in disputes that have nothing to do with religion. One of the major complaints about the law is it is often misused to settle personal vendettas and arguments over property or money, particularly against the minority Christian community.
Many non-Muslims, especially Christians, have been indicted and convicted, and even Muslims themselves are affected by the legislation.