In Pakistan, where even perceived slights against Islam are considered blasphemy, a Christian man has been sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad over WhatsApp.
Nadeem James, 35, was said to have committed blasphemy in a poem he sent to a Muslim friend on the WhatsApp messaging service.
James’ lawyer says he did no such thing and that this is merely an act of revenge.
“My client will appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend, who was annoyed over Mr James’ affair with a Muslim girl.”
The incident took place more than a year ago, and James was on the run for a little while… until he was captured.
The reason the lawyer may be citing this as an act of revenge is because lawmakers are being urged to amend the blasphemy law to put to death those who falsely accuse others of blasphemy… though blasphemers would still be subject to death.
Another man was sentenced to death back in June for allegedly posting “derogatory content” on Facebook. An atheist was beaten to death earlier this year after being accused of blasphemy. And a Pakistani Bollywood star was sentenced to 26 years in jail for acting in a wedding scene depicting Muhammad’s daughter, but because the ruling was only enforceable locally, she never spent any time behind bars.
None of these penalties are acceptable in civilized societies. What the courts and vigilantes are doing is infinitely worse than any of the people sentenced to die for, at most, offering their thoughts. Opinions should never result in the death penalty.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Scott for the link)