Friday, 21 August 2015

Three Christians arrested under terrorism charges for using the word “Prophet” for a Pastor

GUJARAT: Reportedly three Christians were booked by police under terrorism laws. The police officials have stated on Thursday, August 20 that these three Christians were detained because they used the word “Prophet” to describe a dead Pastor on a poster.

Moreover, a local police officer Shahid Tanveer said, “We have arrested three men, including the son of the priest, because they used the word  Prophet for the late Fazal Masih.”

In keeping with details, these three Christians were detained by the police in Gujarat after posters marking the 20th death anniversary of Pastor Fazal Masih were spotted with the Urdu word “Nabi” translation for “Prophet” used for him.

According to the police station authorities, seeing the gravity of the matter, local Muslim clerics along with leader of the Christian community were summoned to the police station to seek advice from them on the matter.

However, the Christians who were organizing the ceremony of death anniversary finally apologized and begged for forgiveness. The Christian organizers clarified that they used the word “Prophet” for Pastor Fazal Masih in order to celebrate his precious services to the Christian community.

The Muslim clerics, on the other hand, sternly refused to accept the apology and pressed charges against the three detained Christians. Subsequently, an FIR was registered including anti-terrorism charges against the organizer and three other Christians who are currently in police custody. Even as 11 other Christians who have been named have not been arrested.The Christian population is very small in this area - about 100 to 115 families. A few families have fled for security reasons.

The word Rasool has been used several times in the Urdu Bible as a translation of Apostle and Disciples , and Christians, lay and clergy used this word in their sermons and even in their writings.

This is not an Islamic word but from the Urdu language which is the national language of Pakistan and spoken by all Pakistani citizens, Muslim and non-Muslims alike, and cannot be attributed to Islam or the Muslim.

On the pretext of being offended over the use of such word as prophet and apostle and subsequently charging someone under the blasphemy law is very unfortunate.
Government and Muslim Clerics should educate Muslims about the religious terms of other religions and they also interfere in this case to be dismissed if they believe in religious harmony.The Government must take steps to stop the continue misuse of the blasphemy law to avoid any further loss of lives and properties.This case is an attack on religious freedom of Christians.

Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender said how ridiculous that the police is yet to clarify the reasons as to why terrorism charges were brought against the Christians.

Gill strongly condemned arrest of three Christians under charges of blasphemy and terrorism by Gujarat police on publishing a poster for worship gathering with title of “Prophet” to their deceased religious leader. 

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