Pakistani Christian Pastor Held on Blasphemy Charge
Carrie DedrickReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2015 Aug 21
A Pakistani Christian pastor and three others have been charged with blasphemy for using the term “rasool,” or apostle, to describe someone other than the Prophet Mohammed.
Christian Today reports Pastor Aftab Gill of the Biblical Church of God and the three others referred to Gill’s deceased father as a “rasool” in posters advertising a Christian ordination ceremony. This angered Muslims in the area who believe that the only “rasool” is Mohammed.
Some Muslims planned to set fire to homes and businesses in the Gujrat, Punjab area, but police interceded before damage was done.
Gill’s younger brother, Unitan Gill, was among those accused of blasphemy. He believes that the charges were brought against the Christian group because the Muslims were jealous of his success running a local grocery store.
Nasiir Saeed, director of the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) said that the Christians had the right to use the word “rasool” on their posters.
"This is not an Islamic word but of the Urdu language, 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,” he said.
"To be offended over the use of such and other words and subsequently charging someone under the blasphemy law is very unfortunate.
"Since we know this law is being misused, the police and authorities need to be careful and avoid registering a case against anyone because of pressure from the public."
Photo courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org
Publication date: August 21, 2015