|Efforts to reform Pakistan's brutal and intolerant |
blasphemy laws have met stubborn resistance.
He is subsisting in a Pakistani prison where his lawyers say he is suicidal and has suffered a stroke.
Mohammad Asghar is a British citizen. Nonetheless, a Pakistani court found him guilty of blasphemy Thursday and sentenced him to death.
In 2010 Asghar, 72, referred to himself as the Prophet Mohammed.
Americans and Europeans are heeding the call to embrace diversity without considering the consquences. Failure to comply with the multicultural agenda will lead to accusations of Islamophobia and, in some nations, can even lead to arrest.
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Pakistan sentences British paranoid schizophrenic to death for blasphemy
Not long before his 2010 arrest in Rawalpindi, Asghar was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital with “grandiose” paranoid delusions, believing former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George W. Bush had sent secret agents for him based on his opposition to the Iraq war. He also believed Pakistani and international media organizations had bugged his home.
Upon his release in March 2010, he left for Pakistan on heavy medication that Dr. McLennan said he unlikely continued. She said he was at high risk for suicide, offering to treat him in Edinburgh.
He was first arrested not long after leaving the hospital, when a tenant he was thought to be trying to evict from one of his properties gave police several unmailed letters in which Asghar claimed to be the Prophet.
Pakistan’s strict anti-blasphemy law prohibits such slander of any recognized religion. Penalties range from a fine to death. Many see the law as tool for misuse against Christians and other religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim nation.
"We cannot mention anything about Mr. Asghar's family; blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan and we ask that our own names are kept out of the press for our own safety," one of Asghar's lawyers said.
Two top Pakistani politicians, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, were murdered in 2011 for opposing the law in defense of a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for “insulting Islam.”
A spokeswoman for the British High Commission in Islamabad said it was aware of Asghar’s case and condition, but could not offer comment, AP reported.
Amnesty International has called for Asghar’s immediate release.
"At a time when Pakistan is reeling from a spate of abuses which perpetrators seek to justify as a defense of religious sentiments, reform of the blasphemy laws is more urgent than ever," said Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director Polly Truscott.
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