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Sad – Christian Man Awaits Execution By Hanging for Refusing to Convert to Isam in Pakistan.
A Christian man in Pakistan is to be put to death after he sent “blasphemous” text messages to a former work colleague who tried to convert him to Islam
Asif Pervaiz, 37, has been in custody since 2013 for allegedly insulting Islam and was found guilty in Lahore on Tuesday.
Pervaiz, who denies any wrongdoing, claims that after he quit his job at a hosiery factory, his supervisor Muhammad Saeed Khokher tried to convert him to Islam.
But Asif says when he refused to change his beliefs, he was then accused of having sent blasphemous texts about Islam to his former boss.
Insulting the prophet carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, a predominantly Muslim country.
Asif’s lawyer Saif-ul-Malook told Al Jazeera: “The complainant was a supervisor in a hosiery factory where Asif was working under him.
“He denied the allegations and said that this man was trying to get him to convert to Islam.”
Pervais was convicted after a trial in Lahore that has run since 2013.
His lawyer Saif-ul-Malook told Reuters he would appeal the sentence.
The court order, seen by Reuters News Agency, said Pervaiz would first serve a three-year prison term for “misusing” his phone to send the derogatory text message.
Then “he shall be hanged by his neck till his death.”
He was also fined 50,000 Pakistani rupees (£230), the order said.
Asif spoke in his own defence during the trial, saying he was confronted by his boss after he quit the factory job.
But Khokher denies wanting to convert his Christian colleague, according to his lawyer, Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry.
He said: “He has taken this defence after the fact, because he had no other clear defence. That’s why he accused him of trying to convert him.”
Human rights groups say blasphemy laws are often misused to persecute minorities or even against Muslims to settle personal rivalries.
There are currently at least 80 people in prison in Pakistan for the crime of “blasphemy”, with at least half of them facing life sentences or the death penalty, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Blasphemy in Islam is any disrespectful action concerning God, insulting an angel, or denying the prophethood of one of the Islamic prophets
In the modern Muslim world, the laws pertaining to blasphemy vary by country, and some countries prescribe punishments consisting of fines, imprisonment, flogging, hanging, or beheading.
Blasphemy laws were rarely enforced in pre-modern Islamic societies. In the modern era some states and radical groups have used charges of blasphemy in an effort to burnish their religious credentials and gain popular support at the expense of liberal Muslim intellectuals and religious minorities.
Other Muslims instead push for greater freedom of expression.
Contemporary accusations of blasphemy against Islam have sparked international controversies and incited mob violence and assassinations.
Most Muslim-majority countries have some form of blasphemy law and some of them have been compared to blasphemy laws in European countries (Britain, Germany, Finland etc.).
However, in five countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, blasphemy is punishable by execution.
In Pakistan, more than a thousand people have been convicted of blasphemy since the 1980s; though none have been executed.
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