Christian Magician Sentenced to 7 Years in Pakistan

 

A Pakistani court has convicted and sentenced a Christian Magician, Bashir Masih, to seven years of hard labor in prison for insulting Islam’s holy book, the Koran, as he performed a trick.

 

There are differing accounts of the exact nature of Mr. Masih’s blasphemy.  One report says he used the Koran to rest his legs on while laying in bed.  Another report claimed he tore pages from the book as part of either a black magic spell or a magic trick unrelated to black magic.

 

Masih was sentenced under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and moved to a jail in the nearby town of Bhawalnagar. He can appeal the sentence.

 

Masih and his lawyer were not immediately available for comment.

 

Under the blasphemy laws, anyone who insults the Koran, Islam or its prophet Muhammad can be punished by death. Throwing the holy book on the ground, touching it with feet or saying derogatory things about it are deemed insulting.

 

Human rights groups have demanded that the blasphemy laws be abolished. Christian groups allege persecution under the legislation.

 

About three per cent of Pakistan?s 150 million population are Christians. The vast majority are Muslims.

 

A Pakistani court has convicted and sentenced a Christian Magician, Bashir Masih, to seven years of hard labor in prison for insulting Islam’s holy book, the Koran, as he performed a trick.

 

There are differing accounts of the exact nature of Mr. Masih’s blasphemy.  One report says he used the Koran to rest his legs on while laying in bed.  Another report claimed he tore pages from the book as part of either a black magic spell or a magic trick unrelated to black magic.

 

Masih was sentenced under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and moved to a jail in the nearby town of Bhawalnagar. He can appeal the sentence.

 

Masih and his lawyer were not immediately available for comment.

 

Under the blasphemy laws, anyone who insults the Koran, Islam or its prophet Muhammad can be punished by death. Throwing the holy book on the ground, touching it with feet or saying derogatory things about it are deemed insulting.

 

Human rights groups have demanded that the blasphemy laws be abolished. Christian groups allege persecution under the legislation.

 

About three per cent of Pakistan?s 150 million population are Christians. The vast majority are Muslims.

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