Friday, July 31, 2020

American On Trial For Blasphemy In Pakistan Is Assassinated In Courtroom

A press statement from the State Department yesterday reports on the killing of an American citizen, Tahir Naseem, inside a court room in Pakistan where he was on trial for blasphemy:
Mr. Naseem had been lured to Pakistan from his home in Illinois by individuals who then used Pakistan’s blasphemy laws to entrap him.  The U.S. Government has been providing consular assistance to Mr. Naseem and his family since his detention in 2018 and has called the attention of senior Pakistani officials to his case to prevent the type of shameful tragedy that eventually occurred.
The State Department called for the reform of Pakistan's blasphemy laws.  Radio Free Europe adds details:
It was not clear how the suspect, identified as Khalid Khan, managed to gain access to the courtroom.
He told police the prophet Muhammad had ordered him to kill Nasim because he had belonged to the Ahmadi faith....
According to BBC News:
Mr Naseem was first accused of blasphemy by Awais Malik, a madrassa student from Peshawar. Mr Naseem had struck up an online conversation with him whilst living in the United States.
Mr Malik told the BBC he had then met Mr Naseem in a shopping mall in Peshawar to discuss his views on religion, after which he filed a case against him with the police....
Mr Naseem was born into the persecuted Ahmadi sect, according to a spokesman for the community. But he added that he had left the sect and claimed to be a prophet himself.
The community leader suggested Mr Naseem had been mentally ill - he had uploaded videos to YouTube claiming to be a messiah.