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PAKISTAN: Conference about Blasphemy Laws in Brussels and Online

Conference about Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan and the Persecution of Minority Groups

Picture: Mob demonstrating for death penalty in blasphemy cases in Pakistan (Getty Images)
“The blasphemy laws of Pakistan, while purporting to protect Islam and the religious sensitivities of the Muslim majority of Pakistan, are vaguely formulated and arbitrarily enforced by the police and the judiciary; as such they permit, even invite, abuse and the harassment and persecution of minorities in Pakistan.” 
A conference to discuss Pakistan’s highly controversial and widely condemned blasphemy laws will take place on Tuesday July 27th, at 11.00 (CET) at the Press Club Brussels, under the auspices of the Alliance internationale pour la défense des droits et des libertés (AIDLR)
The issues to be discussed will include:
  • The legal basis of the blasphemy laws.
  • The use of the laws to justify ethnic cleansing.
  • The particular effects on females.
Moderator: Andy Vermaut, Alliance internationale pour la défense des droits et des libertés .
Confirmed speakers
Paulo Casada, former MEP, Founder and executive director of the “South Asia Democratic Forum”. 
Jürgen Klute, former MEP, Christian theologian.
Willy Fautré, Director, Human Rights Without Frontiers.
Manel Msalmi, International affairs Advisor of MEPs of the European Peoples’ Party at the European Parliament.
Journalists and other interested parties are invited to register to join the debate via Zoom by e-mailing mordeau.brussels@gmail.com before 21:00 July 26th.
The event will be live-streamed from 11.00 (CET) at: 




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INDIA: Open Doors publishes new report on situation of religious minorities

INDIA: Destructive Lies: Open Doors publishes new LSE report on situation of religious minorities

 

Open Doors (07.01.2021) – Christians across India are living in constant fear as a systematic campaign of violent harassment, rape, and murder is waged against them. This is the finding of a shocking new report from the London School of Economics, commissioned by the Christian NGO Open Doors.

 

Destructive Lies – Disinformation, speech that incites violence and discrimination against religious minorities in Indiadescribes the extreme persecution Christians and Muslims are facing at the hands of violent vigilante mobs of Hindu nationalists. An executive summary is available here.

 

According to the report, the attacks and persecution are ignored, and even condoned by state actors – including state and regional government, police, and media – to keep in favour with India’s powerful Hindutva organisations.

 

A series of disturbing case studies are laid out in the report, including Sunita Verma**, who gave birth to a still-born baby after a Hindutva mob violently kicked her in the stomach, Ravi, a local labourer, entrapped and beaten by a mob and left to die in a cell by police, and the details of a mass attack on a Muslim village by a 6,000 strong mob, committing arson and driving many from their homes permanently.

 

According to one of the report’s authors, who have asked not to be named: “The extent to which … state actors are complicit in the violence is shocking; it was there even at the ground level. The bureaucrats, the police, the lower court judges, all of them are …openly colluding to harass these minorities. And politicians, top religious leaders and powerful media owners [are giving] very overt signals that this [behaviour] is desirable.”

 

During the current Covid-19 crisis, for example, Christians and Muslims have been targeted in concerted campaigns of misinformation, including claims that they are deliberately trying to spread the virus and infect Hindus through their acts of worship.

 

The research was conducted in February and March 2021 by an LSE research team based in India. The data was collected in localities where there had been reported incidents of anti-Christian or anti-Muslim violence. Further findings of the report include how attacks are filmed and posted on social media, how police and local legal infrastructures refuse to acknowledge any of the crimes committed or press charges and how state-level anti-conversion laws are encouraging violence and persecution.

 

The report makes a series of urgent recommendations, including an international fact-finding commission to record levels of violence and human rights violations against religious minorities. Meanwhile social media corporations are urged to take a series of immediate measures, including more moderators to address local issues of discrimination, harassment, and violence and immediate suspension of accounts spreading such materials.

 

** Names have been altered for safety reasons.

Picture: AsiaNews


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