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Son of Pakistan Governor Murdered for Supporting Asia Bibi Says There are 200 More Cases Just Like Hers

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The son of a Pakistani governor who was assassinated in 2011 because of his support for imprisoned Christian mother Asia Bibi told religious freedom advocates that there are over 200 people jailed in Pakistan for blasphemy.

Shaan Taseer, the son of late Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, delivered a powerful address at the State Department’s second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom on Wednesday — the second day of a three-day summit touted as the largest of its kind ever held.

“Eight years later, the woman that my father gave his life to defend has been found innocent by the highest court in the country,” Taseer said. ”For this ladies and gentlemen, I want to congratulate each and every one of you. Asia Bibi’s acquittal is a victory for humanity, it’s a victory for human dignity and it is a victory for common sense.”

Although the world rejoiced when Bibi was acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court last fall after spending nearly a decade on death row over an accusation that she insulted Islam’s prophet, Taseer warned that there is much work still left to be done.

“As we celebrate these victories, we must be mindful of the challenges ahead,” he stressed. “While Asia Bibi — the world’s most famous prisoner victim of blasphemy is a free woman — I want you all to know that there are 200 Asia Bibis in jail accused of blasphemy law in Pakistan today and these are only the reported cases.”

Taseer has followed in his father’s footsteps in calling for an end to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which are regularly used by Muslims in the Muslim-majority country to take advantage of or settle scores with religious minorities.

Under Pakistan’s penal code section 295, those accused of insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad or desecrating a Quran could be subject to imprisonment or even capital punishment.

Bibi, an illiterate farm laborer, was accused by Muslim colleagues of insulting Muhammad during an argument, a claim that she has denied. In 2010, she was sentenced to death by a Pakistan court.

“My father as the governor at the time said, ‘No, not on my watch. I will not let this injustice take place for this woman, not when I am governor,’” Taseer told the crowd. “He threw his weight behind Asia Bibi, he met with her in prison. He showed her that he stood for her. He called for a presidential pardon given the weaknesses in the case. And, he called for reform of the blasphemy law.”

Although he was a Muslim himself, Salmaan Taseer’s advocacy drew the ire of radicals in Pakistan who demanded he issue a retraction. When Taseer refused to retract his support for Bibi and his calls for blasphemy reform, a fatwa was issued calling for his death.

“Many well-wishers, including myself, caring for his well-being asked him to reconsider retraction,” Taseer admitted. “This is his response that he wrote out by way of a tweet three days before his death. He said: ‘I stand with the weakest of the weak but I have been asked to retract and also refused. Not if I am the last man standing.’”

On Jan. 4, 2011, Taseer was shot 27 times by his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri. Since Shaan Taseer has taken up his father’s fight in calling for an end to blasphemy laws and has been active in grassroots projects, he too has had a fatwa issued against him.

But nonetheless, Taseer continues to speak out and provide aid to religious minorities facing persecution in the South Asian nation.

Speaking of the more than 200 other victims of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, Taseer said that they include victims who are elderly, children, poor, mentally challenged and physically challenged. He stressed that most of them are illiterate and in jail without a trial or due process.

“If we claim to be working towards a world free of religious persecution, then this is the frontline of that work,” Taseer said. “These are the foot soldiers fighting for the world that we believe in, for a new and progressive society free of religious persecution.”

Among those in prison for blasphemy is 16-year-old Nabeel Masih, who was jailed in 2016 after being accused of posting a blasphemous picture on Facebook. However, Masih has maintained that he did not author the post in question.

According to Taseer, Masih is still awaiting trial after more than two years in prison.

Taseer also mentioned Junaid Hafeez, a scholar accused of blasphemy by academic rivals who has been jailed for years without trial.

“He has been in the first stage of the legal process for six years,” Taseer told . “Six to seven judges have been changed. One lawyer has been shot. His current judge has been on pilgrimage for the past two months. Decisions are awaiting.”

Taseer said that victims like Masih, Hafeez and others are essentially living in a “legal vacuum” in which their legal rights are being trampled upon.

When asked about his tally of 200 blasphemy victims in jail in Pakistan, Taseer told that there is no official figures on blasphemy prisoners in Pakistan but said that some organizations have pulled reported figures from news articles.

“The real figures are far, far more,” he contended. “According to reported figures, yes, there are 200 people in jail accused of blasphemy. Of them, 40 are probably on death row. The rest are basically waiting for trial. It is as difficult, it is as bad, it is as bleak when you are awaiting trial because you are living in a legal vacuum.”

Lisa Curtis, senior director for South and Central Asia at the U.S. National Security Council, told the audience when introducing Taseer that there are more people imprisoned for blasphemy in Pakistan than all the other countries in the world combined.

But with Bibi having been freed from prison and now living in Canada, Taseer is concerned about the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a “poster child” for the anti-blasphemy law movement in Pakistan since the international community has not rallied around other blasphemy law victims as much as they did when Bibi was in jail.

“I think it is all of our fault,” Taseer told . “We need to speak more about the victims. A lethargy has set in, complacency has certainly set in. It’s the old adage that one person is a story and 1 million is a statistic. That applies here also. Unfortunately, Asia Bibi was the poster girl and we stand the risk of losing our poster girl and letting the world think that the issue is over. The issue is not over. The poster girl is free but there are 199 people after her still remain incarcerated.”

Taseer challenged U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback to press Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan during his state visit to the U.S. next week about the blasphemy prisoners.

“The troops of history will march on and I have no doubt that the blasphemy laws of Pakistan, like the Jim Crow laws, the Apartheid laws of South Africa, like the Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany, will take their rightful place in the dustbin of human history,” he stressed. ”When that day comes and I hope it will be in my lifetime, we may want to ask us what we did to help those who suffered under this law.”

At the inaugural State Department Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom last July, the U.S. and 14 other countries signed onto a statement of concern arguing that blasphemy and apostasy laws justify “mob violence in the name of religion, or as a false pretense to settle personal grievances.”

Crime

ISWAP Terrorists Kill Two Christian Business Owners

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Nigeria – On September 24, two militants suspected to belong to the terror group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), shot and killed two Christians in Kano, the capital city of Plateau state.

The two Christians who were murdered, Ifeanyi Ilechukwu and Chibuke Emannuel, were sitting at their shop at around 8pm. Two terrorists approached them and shot them at close range. Ifeanyi died instantly, and Chibuke died the following day in the hospital. The murders came less than a week after ISWAP bombed a Christian-owned business in northeastern Nigeria on September 18. Nobody died in that incident, but the three Christians who were in the shop at the time had to be rushed to the hospital.

Across Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, there has been a rise in crime and violence exacerbated by the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Armed robberies occur often, and kidnappings for ransom have become increasingly common. The northwestern parts of the country have seen mass abductions of children from schools and indiscriminate attacks on towns and villages by armed gangs.

However, the worst and longest-running security crisis remains the one in the northeast, where Boko Haram and ISWAP, which broke out of the former, have killed, abducted, and looted on a massive scale while fighting against the Nigerian military. The radicalized Islamic groups are attempting to establish a caliphate in the region, and they frequently target Christians in their attacks.
Sources:persecution

http://theendtimeradio.com

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Crime

തെറ്റിദ്ധരിപ്പിക്കുന്ന പരസ്യങ്ങൾ: 24 ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ പരസ്യ ദാതാക്കള്‍ക്ക് പിഴ ചുമത്തി സൗദി

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സൗദി: തെറ്റിദ്ധരിപ്പിക്കുന്ന രീതിയിൽ പരസ്യങ്ങൾ നൽകിയ 24 ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ പരസ്യ ദാതാക്കള്‍ക്ക് പിഴ ചുമത്തി സൗദി. സൗദി വാണിജ്യ മന്ത്രാലയം ആണ് പിഴ ചുമത്തിയ വിവരം പുറത്തുവിട്ടത്. രാജ്യത്ത് നിലനിൽക്കുന്ന ഇ കൊമേഴ്‌സ് നിയമം ലംഘിച്ചാണ് പരസ്യം പുറത്തുവിട്ടത്. പരസ്യങ്ങൾ പുറത്തുവിട്ടവരിൽ സ്ത്രീകളും ഉൾപ്പെടും. ഇന്‍സ്റ്റാഗ്രാം, സ്‌നാപ്ചാറ്റ്, ടിക് ടോക്, ട്വിറ്റര്‍ തുടങ്ങിയ സോഷ്യൽ മീഡിയ വഴിയാണ് ഇവർ പരസ്യങ്ങൾ പുറത്തുവിട്ടത്.

പരസ്യങ്ങൾ തെറ്റിദ്ധരിപ്പിക്കുന്നതും ആളുകളെ വഞ്ചിക്കുന്നതും ആണ്. ഇത്തരത്തിലുള്ള പരസ്യങ്ങൾ പങ്കുവെച്ചതിനാണ് ഇവർക്കെതിരെ കേസ് എടുത്തിരിക്കുന്നത്. പരസ്യങ്ങളിൽ ഇവർ തെറ്റായ വാദങ്ങൾ ആണ് ഉന്നയിക്കുന്നത്. തെറ്റായ അവകാശവാദങ്ങളും മുന്നോട്ടുവെക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. രാജ്യത്ത് ഇത്തരത്തിലുള്ള പരസ്യങ്ങൾ പുറത്തുവിടുന്നത് സംബന്ധിച്ച് ശക്തമായ നിയമം നിലനിൽക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. ഇത് തെറ്റിച്ചതിനാണ് നടപടിയുമായി അധികൃതർ എത്തിയിരിക്കുന്നത്. ഇതൊരു പാഠം ആയിരിക്കുമെന്നും നിയമം എല്ലാവർക്കും ബാധകമാണെന്നും ഇ കൊമേഴ്‌സ് നിയമത്തിലെ വ്യവസ്ഥകള്‍ ലംഘിച്ചാൽ ശക്തമായ നടപടി സ്വീകരിക്കും എന്ന് അധികൃതർ അറിയിച്ചു.
Sources:globalindiannews

http://theendtimeradio.com

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Khmer Bible editor’s treason conviction upheld in Cambodia

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Cambodia’s Supreme Court has upheld a six-year jail term imposed on Theary Seng, a prominent Christian and pro-democracy advocate who was jailed for treason after backing former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and the outlawed Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP).

“I think this was unfair for my client,” her defense lawyer, Choung Chou Ngy, who filed the motion to appeal in August, said after the decision.

Judge Kong Srim ordered that Theary Seng remain in prison after the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court’s verdict, adding her release would affect public order.

Theary Seng, whose work includes editing the Khmer version of the Bible, was among more than 120 people charged in three mass trials that followed Sam Rainsy’s failed bid to return to Cambodia in late 2019 when he promised to oust Prime Minister Hun Sen.

She was one of more than 50 CNRP activists convicted and jailed in June and was moved from a prison in Phnom Penh to another in Preah Vihear, in the remote north, after prison officers lodged complaints saying that she could incite other female prisoners.

“This regime will not let me go free,” she said ahead of the June verdict. “It will be an unfair and unjust verdict, because I am innocent, the others charged with me are innocent. But we are living in a dictatorship.”

Theary Seng was barred from entering the courtroom to hear her own verdict because she was dressed as the Statue of Liberty. Instead, she was arrested outside the court and jailed.

Four weeks ago an appeals court declined to grant Theary Seng – a Cambodian-American dual citizen – a request for release while her appeal was being heard.

“Given the circumstances, Theary is holding up quite well,” a close relative, who declined to be named, told UCA News recently. “She’s in good shape.”

Two more mass trials have since been launched while the marathon treason trial of former leader Kem Sokha continues amid claims by human rights groups the courts were being used to silence the government’s critics.

On Wednesday, Kem Sokha told the Phnom Penh Municipal Court that he was not involved with the Serbian-based Centre for Applied Non-violent Action and Strategies (Canvas) which the court claimed had trained 15 CNRP activists with “color revolutionary” strategies.

The CNRP was dissolved by the courts in late 2017 amid claims it was attempting to topple the government through a color revolution.

A crackdown on dissent followed and the long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won all 125 seats contested at national elections in July, the following year.

But the crackdown escalated dramatically after Sam Rainsy – who led the CNRP jointly with Kem Sokha – threatened to return from self-imposed exile in November 2019.

Hundreds of his supporters have been rounded up since then and jailed.
Sources:ucanews

http://theendtimeradio.com

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