Pakistan: Christian Boy Could Be Put To Death for ‘Blasphemous’ Facebook Post

Sep 25, 2016 09:40 AM EDT

A 16-year-old boy in Pakistan, who was arrested for a Facebook post that was allegedly blasphemous, could be executed by death penalty.

Nabeel Masih from Chak 66 in the district of Kasur, Punjab Province, was reported to have insulted an image of the Kaaba in Mecca. The photo apparently showed the Kaaba, which Muslims  consider as sacred, with a pig on top.

"Local people have told me that apparently the image of the Islamic Kaaba was shown on Nabeel's Facebook profile, showing the image of a pig on top.  This infuriated local Muslims who then reported the crime to local police," Naveed Aziz, an investigator with the British Pakistani Christian Association, reported.

Aziz clarified that it is still unknown whether Masih posted the photo himself or was just tagged in the photo, and the allegation remains unproven.

Police said they took the image down from Facebook to prevent anger from being stirred up further. However, deleting the photo also made it difficult to determine if Masih was innocent or not.

Masih was accused of violating section 295 ("injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class") and 295A ("deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs") of the Pakistan Penal Code. These are otherwise known as Pakistan's blasphemy law, according to The Nation.

Masih was taken into police custody in Kasur. His family and other Christians in the village have fled their homes as the issue continues to intensify tension in the area.

BPCA chairman Wilson Chowdhry condemned the accusations against Masih, saying he was arrested even though authorities did not conduct proper investigation. What happened was evidence of "the worthlessness of Christians in Pakistan," he said.

Chowdhry said Christians in Pakistan can become victims of "blasphemy entrapment" through social media, like what happened to Nadeem James in July.

James apparently posted a blasphemous poem using WhatsApp. His friend, Yasir Bashir, claimed James sent it to him, Morning Star News reported.

"In the case of Nadeem James on 4th July 2016, the blasphemous poem was said to have been planted on his whats' app. It would not surprise me if Nabeel was tagged into the image of the blasphemous image by haters," Chowdhry said.

Accusations of blasphemy often incite violence against Christians, such as a couple who was beaten to death by an angry mob of extremists after they were said to have desecrated the Quran two years ago. Also in 2014, a rioting mob killed a woman and her two children in Gujranwala after posting an allegedly blasphemous post on social media, The Independent reported.