Thousands of Muslims In Pakistan Rally In Support Of Man Who Assassinated An American Citizen On Trial For Blasphemy
Thousands of Muslims participated in a rally held at Peshawar in support of a man who walked into a courtroom in Peshawar and killed a US citizen on trial for blasphemy.
Tahir Ahmed Naseem, a member of the Ahmadi minority Muslim sect, was shot and killed during his hearing on blasphemy charges in a courtroom Wednesday (29 July).
Naseem was charged with blasphemy after he allegedely declared himself Islam’s prophet. Muslims believe Muhammad was the last messenger of God and any claim of prophethood after him is heresy. Most Islamic nations have a blasphemy law that awards death penalty for anyone deemed insulting Islam.
It was later revealed that Naseem was American citizen. According to the statement issued late Thursday by the US State department, the deceased Tahir Ahmad Naseem was “lured to Pakistan” from his home in Illinois and entrapped by the country’s blasphemy laws. However, the statement did not elaborate on the circumstances in which he came to be in Pakistan.
As per an earlier report, the deceased Tahir Ahmad Naseem was arrested two years ago on the charges of blasphemy for claiming to be a prophet and was being brought to the court from Peshawar Central Jail.
The assassin Khalid Khan fired at Naseem six times during the court hearing Wednesday and reportedly said that Naseem was an “enemy of Islam”.
In a video posted on Facebook, Khalid Khan claimed the Prophet Muhammad “came to me in my dream and told me … to finish [Naseem].”
Muslims believe Muhammad was the last messenger of God and any claim of prophethood after him is heresy.
At the rally in Peshawar, the demonstrators praised Khan for the killing Naseem, calling for his immediate release from jail and saying he killed Naseem because the government was too slow in prosecuting blasphemy cases.
As per a spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya community, the deceased was born in the persecuted Ahmadi sect, however he later left the sect and claimed to be a prophet himself.
The leader also suggested that the deceased was mentally ill and that he was unaware of the consequences of his acts.
The deceased elder man was charged under Section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), Section 295-B (defiling etc. of the Holy Quran), Section 295-C (use of derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad PBUH) and Section 298 (uttering words etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The US statement further added, “We urge Pakistan to reform its often abused blasphemy laws and its court system, which allow such abuses to occur, and to ensure that the suspect is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Multiple human rights groups have raised fingers at the Pakistan’s hardline blasphemy laws over the years. They have stated that the laws are used to disproportionately target the minority communities while encouraging extra-judicial killings.
Between 1987 and 2017, 1,500 people in Pakistan were charged with blasphemy and 75 of them were killed, as per the Center for Social Justice.
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