Police, Islamic Extremists in Pakistan Hunt for Christian Accused of ‘Blasphemy’ Morningstar News, October 25, 2013
Young evangelist in hiding denies charges, sources say.
Morning Star News – “Police and a banned Islamic extremist group in Lahore, Pakistan are searching for a young Christian accused of blasphemy – with the extremist group calling for his death – after he sought to correct misconceptions about Christianity in a Muslim book, sources said.
Sources close to Adnan Masih, 26, said he believes that if he turns himself in, he will be killed by either the Islamic extremist Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) or the Pakistani judicial system, which makes blasphemy against Islam’s prophet punishable by death. They said Masih denies having written anything against Islam or its prophet, Muhammad, when he scribbled in a Muslim book he found in a glassworks shop where his brother works.
His brother, Irfan Masih, was busy elsewhere that day, Oct. 7, and asked him to fill in for him at the shop. Masih, who has a master’s in English and trained as a pastor at a United Pentecostal seminary, became bored and began going through books in a desk drawer, where he noticed one entitled, ‘I Asked the Bible Why Korans Were Burnt [in Urdu, ‘Mein ney Bible sey poocha Quran kyun jaley’],’ sources said.
A source close to Masih said the evangelist and tutor noticed several false statements about the Bible and about Jesus, which he highlighted with a marker and corrected by answering with verses from the Bible. The next day Masih found a case had been registered against him for blasphemy under the Pakistan Penal Code’s Section 295, parts A, B and C – for allegedly outraging religious feelings, defiling the Koran and defaming Muhammad respectively.
The book belonged to a Muslim worker at the shop, Abid Mehmood, who upon seeing the notations went to police and also notified the JuD, a banned Islamic militant organization related to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been designated as a global terrorist group operating in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
The United States has announced a $10 million bounty on JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, but he is supported by Pakistan’s powerful Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence and moves about freely in the country.
Masih, married and a father of two young girls, went into hiding after learning that JuD had issued a fatwa calling for his head. A source said he had no idea that ‘pointing out false references in a book would land him in such big trouble.’
Hafiz Abdul Malik of the JuD told Morning Star News that the group would not tolerate one word against their prophet.
‘The police better arrest the blasphemer and hand him over to us on Saturday [Oct. 19],’ Malik said last week. ‘We will not be responsible for any law-and-order situation in the city if the police fails to keep its assurance. How dare someone use derogatory language against our beloved prophet … Don’t they know that the Koran orders us to slit the throat of whoever is disrespectful to Allah’s beloved prophet?’” Read more.