Sabir Michael (YouTube / Academy for Cultural Diplomacy)

A Pakistani professor has warned that some social media activists and religious leaders are falsely portraying incidents as religiously motivated to stoke intolerance, reports UCAN.

Sabir Michael, assistant professor at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology in Karachi, cited three recent incidents that he said were reported “as through religion was at the heart of the conflict, when that wasn’t the case”.

He urged social media users to be more wary of liking and sharing posts, saying: “Please don’t post every incident as though it must have been religiously motivated.

“A full and impartial inquiry should be made using reliable sources rather than letting the court of public opinion make false judgments based on incorrect information.

“Some people do this deliberately, exploiting religion to serve their own agendas of inflicting harm on certain individuals or communities for a range of reasons that have nothing to do with Christianity or Islam.”

Social media has been at the heart of numerous accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan, which has the world’s strictest anti-blasphemy laws. And such cases have been registered disproportionately against minority groups.

Pakistan is overwhelmingly Muslim (around 95%). Of the remaining 5 per cent, Hindus and Christians are the largest minority groups, each accounting for around 1.6 per cent of a population of 210 million. Yet between 1990 and 2014, over a quarter of the 702 blasphemy cases were against Christians.