LAHORE, Pakistan – A Christian man sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan has been freed by an appeals court, but Muslim-Christian strife continues to flare up in the volatile Islamic nation.
Media reports differ on the exact circumstances of Younis Masih’s 2005 arrest for allegedly blaspheming Islam’s prophet Muhammad, which is punishable by life in prison or death.
Morning Star News, a news service that reports on persecution issues such as blasphemy laws, said Masih had asked local Muslims who were singing a religious song to do so more quietly, and a mob beat him unconscious the next day.
World Watch Monitor, another news service focusing on persecution issues, cited the Lahore-based Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement’s description of the case: Masih – under the influence of drugs – got into an argument with a Muslim imam who was leading a worship service at a neighboring home. The next day, Masih threw bricks at the imam’s door. Muslims subsequently beat Masih and his wife, and the imam accused Masih of blasphemy.
Both sources agreed that the conflict spread when Muslim mobs attacked Christian homes in the area.