Saturday, October 26

A Christian in Turkey

A story from Istanbul, Turkey, shows Islamic wackos doing what they always do:  Accuse Christians of blasphemy against their so-called prophet, and call for the Christian to be killed.  While such outrages are common in Pakistan, they've been rare in Turkey.  But Islamic fanatics are getting more aggressive around the globe.

In this case Irfan Masih, owner of a book store, asked his brother to mind the store while he ran an errand.  Brother Adnan, who has a master’s in English and studied at a Pentecostal seminary, was going through books in a desk drawer and noticed one titled, “I Asked the Bible Why Korans Were Burnt."

A source close to Adnan Masih said Masih saw several statements about the Bible that he believed were false.  He highlighted these and answered with verses from the Bible. The next day Masih learned that a case had been registered against him for blasphemy, for "outraging religious feelings, defiling the Koran and defaming Muhammad."

The book Masih commented in belonged to a Muslim worker at the shop, Abid Mehmood.  On seeing the notations the man not only went to the police but also notified an Islamic militant organization known by the acronym JuD, which issued a fatwa calling for the death of Adnan.

Masih, married and a father of two young girls, went into hiding after learning of the fatwa.  A source said he had no idea that simply “pointing out false references in a book"--not the Koran--would land him in such big trouble.
 
A spokesperson for the JuD said his group would not tolerate one word against their prophet.  “The police better arrest the blasphemer and hand him over to us,” the man said. “We will not be responsible for any law-and-order situation in the city if the police fail to [do this].  How dare someone use derogatory language against our beloved prophet … Don’t they know that the Koran orders us to slit the throat of whoever is disrespectful to Allah’s beloved prophet?”

Since last week JuD protesters have gathered at the police station and the superintendent’s office every evening, howling for Masih’s arrest.

Chillingly, police jailed Adnan's brother, the shop owner, even though he did nothing wrong and wasn't even at the shop at the time.

Asked why he and the police wanted Irfan Masih’s arrest when he was not present in the shop when the alleged blasphemy took place, the Muslim accuser said detaining the innocent brother would pressure Adnan Masih to surrender to police.

“Irfan has never been disrespectful to Islam, but he is the brother of a blasphemer and must suffer for his action,” he said.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police said officers were trying to keep tensions under control, and that “Adnan Masih’s arrest is important to prevent violence on other Christians.”

“Right now, it’s not a matter of whether Adnan Masih is guilty or not,” said the deputy. “He has been charged under all three sections of the blasphemy law and must surrender to us so that we can investigate the charges against him.”

The deputy said he had asked local Christian leaders to bring Masih before them to prevent rioting.

“Islamist groups have already started pressuring us, warning of massive protests in the city,” he said. 
Asked why police had jailed Masih's brother when he hadn’t been accused of any wrongdoing, the deputy said the shop owner had been "detained for questioning."
 
“He’s our guest until we have the main accused in our custody.”

An attorney who works at the Lahore High Court, told Morning Star News that police were committing an illegal act by keeping an innocent man in custody.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are frequently used against religious minorities, with frivolous accusations used to settle personal vendettas.

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