Christians accused of blasphemy for selling fireworks wrapped in pages of Koran

Arif Masih and Tariq Masih who own a store selling fireworks were found to have sold fireworks that were wrapped in pages containing verses of the Koran.

Pakistan
Nov 05 2013, 5:49 PM
Christians accused of blasphemy for selling fireworks wrapped in pages of Koran

Two Christians of Thatta Faqirullah in Wazirabad of Punjab province fled with their families after they were accused of blasphemy. Arif Masih and Tariq Masih who own a store selling fireworks were found to have sold fireworks that were wrapped in pages containing verses of the Koran.

The two Christians said that they were innocent as they bought the fireworks from a factory owned by Muslims.

"We do not manufacture fireworks, we buy them from a factory near Gujranwala and we do not know what materials they use. Moreover, these factories are owned by Muslims and no Christian works inside there," Tariq Masih said.

"We have not even touched the pages of the Koran. The idea of using these pages for fireworks is beyond all imagination because we are well aware of the consequences," he added.

On October 27, they sold Muhammad Zahid a set of fireworks for his wedding party. When a few of the fireworks failed to go off, wedding guests opened it and found that the chemicals were wrapped in pages containing verses of the Koran. They turned their ire on the store and destroyed it.

The people of Thatta Faqirullah later asked the police to arrest the store owners and demanded an exemplary punishment for those who insulted Islam. Arif Masih and Tariq Masih, along with their families, then fled the area, fearing for their lives.

Father George James of the Diocese of Sialkot said, "It is a sad the marginalized are victimized. A poor vendor is being targeted for something he has not done; violent and aggressive mobs are hunting his family down to kill them. For how long will minorities face the abuse of the law? The concerned authorities should act responsibly and ensure that the law and order situation remains in control and no innocent has to suffer."

The blasphemy law is often misused against Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis, and also against fellow Muslims. Last month, a Christian was accused of blasphemy and beheaded in a Karachi market. It is alleged that the real reason was professional rivalry.

Source: AsiaNews

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