A CHRISTIAN MOTHER OF 4 AND HER DISABLED HUSBAND ARE SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER ALLEGATIONS OF BLASPHEMOUS TEXT MESSAGES
The parents of the sentenced mother of 4, are protesting in Brussels for the setting on fire of another young couple in Pakistan, who were burned alive in front of their children. Their only crime: their faith. This cruelty is happening today and daily in Pakistan! We must not allow it to continue.
There are many similar cases in that region, with the most famous one being that of Asia Bibi. Asia is the mother of 5, who is also sentenced to death because she drank water from a well that was for Muslims only and her colleagues accused her of making it religiously ‘unclean’ for them. It is very disturbing that both the Province’s Governor and the Minorities Minister who tried to defend Asia were murdered in 2011, as a result of their involvement, and the death sentence against Asia is still pending, despite all the international appeals for her release.
According to the 1986 Blasphemy Law of Pakistan, the offence of speaking against the Prophet Muhammad is punishable by death. But there is growing international concern about the application of blasphemy laws in order to settle personal scores and as a tool of religious intolerance towards minorities in the country. There have been cases of mob violence and burning of people and churches in Pakistan in the last few years that should concern us. The abuse is systematic as we can see from the recent case of the Christian couple who were burnt alive for alleged blasphemy of the Koran. The images of their gruesome killing in Punjab province again are very disturbing. The father of the murdered woman told BBC that she was killed over a wages dispute and not blasphemy, but that often locals use this law in order to intimidate Christians or incite violence against them.
The man accused in this case over the blasphemous text messages is Shafqat Emmanuel, who is disabled and has physical disabilities, but was tortured in front of his wife, Shagufta Kausar, and their 4 young children. This was in order for him to confess that they sent the offensive messages,despite the fact that the couple had reported the mobile phone stolen a month earlier to the event in July 2013.
Other members of the family have been threatened also by radical groups and had to escape for their lives. The mother and brother of Kausar are now in Europe and are appealing to the international community for the release of their daughter and her husband.
Please join our campaign to help us overturn these death sentences, this is a matter of life and death and surely their lives should mean more than just some text messages.
We also appeal to our national governments and to the European Union to condemn these death sentences and help ensure the release of Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife, Shagufta Kausar. In June 2013, the European Union committed itself in its Foreign Affairs Policy to actively protect the right of belief and religious expression. However, hundreds of cases of human rights violations and persecution of Christians are reported annually, without any real action to be taken. Their properties are seized, they are threatened, imprisoned or killed many times. But, this is something that we should not allow to continue. Those who are responsible must be held accountable.
Our silence encourages and perpetuates such cruel practices. We must act now.
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Belgian Coalition for Israel
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