Gunman shoots Pakistan minister over blasphemy law

Gunman shoots Pakistan minister over blasphemy law
Pakistan’s interior minister, who has championed the country’s minority communities, has survived an assassination attempt by a gunman protesting against the country’s blasphemy laws. Ahsan Iqbal was shot in the arm before police overpowered his suspected attacker, 21-year-old Abid Hussain, the BBC reported. Iqbal was shot on Sunday (6 May) . . . Read More

Pakistan’s top judge says he’ll hear Asia Bibi’s appeal personally – and ‘soon’

Pakistan’s top judge says he’ll hear Asia Bibi’s appeal personally – and ‘soon’
Pakistan’s chief justice says he will decide, “soon,” the fate of Aasiya Noreen, a Christian woman whose 2009 conviction on blasphemy charges has fixated world attention on the country’s treatment of religious minorities. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar told Noreen’s lawyer, Saif-ul-Malook, on 21 April that he would hear the woman’s . . . Read More

Saudi school textbooks still ‘promote hatred toward religious minorities’ – USCIRF

A school complex in Medina, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr; CC 2.0)
School textbooks in Saudi Arabia still include content “promoting violence and hatred toward religious minorities and others”, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Even though the Saudi government has been “engaged in textbook reform for the last 15 years”, a new study by USCIRF found . . . Read More

Coptic teacher charged with contempt of religion for questions about Muhammad

Coptic teacher charged with contempt of religion for questions about Muhammad
A Coptic teacher at an Egyptian state school has been charged with contempt of religion after including wordplays in a set of questions about Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Magdy Farag Samir, 49, a teacher of social studies at Barot Preparatory School for Girls in Beni Suef Governorate, asked his students: “Where . . . Read More

Pakistan student kills school principal in blasphemy row

Banner protesting against changes to the blasphemy laws, Peshawar 2017 (World Watch Monitor)
A Pakistani student has shot and killed his school principal after they argued over the student missing classes to attend protests over “blasphemous” law changes, reports The Guardian. Police said the unnamed student had attended a sit-in staged by a new ultra-religious party, Tehreek-e-Labaik, to oppose a small change in . . . Read More

Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy protests showcase minorities’ plight

In November there were widespread anti-blasphemy protests in Islamabad and other cities in reaction to proposed changes to an election law. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Anti-blasphemy protests in Pakistan have once again highlighted the fragile position of the country’s religious minorities. Life in various parts of Pakistan virtually came to a halt on Saturday (25 November) after the police, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies clashed with rioters in the capital, Islamabad, resulting in protests . . . Read More

Saudi Arabia pledges to scrutinise hadiths to ‘eliminate’ extremism

The big mosque near Deera square in Riyadh with room for 20,000 people. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Saudi Arabia has pledged to monitor preachers and jurists’ use of Prophet Muhammad’s hadiths (sayings) “to prevent them being used to justify violence or extremism”. Saudi’s King Salman has ordered an international council of senior Islamic scholars to scrutinise the hadiths. The Saudi Culture and Information Ministry promised on Tuesday . . . Read More

Pakistan Christian sentenced to death for WhatsApp ‘blasphemy’, despite gaps in police case

Nadeem Masih
Six days after a Pakistani Christian was sentenced to death for blasphemy, the young man’s lawyer says there was insufficient evidence against his client and that the police failed to investigate the matter properly. Nadeem Masih, 24, from the Yaqoobabad area of the religiously conservative city of Gujrat, in Punjab . . . Read More

Governor Taseer’s son accused of hate speech

The son of a senior politician murdered six years ago for criticising Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law has been accused of committing “hate speech” for echoing the criticism. Shaan Taseer, son of the former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, said the law was “inhumane” during a filmed Christmas message shared via social . . . Read More