- Battle lines drawn
This week produced the clearest evidence yet that the Synod Fathers are sharply divided between those who are supporting Pope Francis in his efforts to present a more pastoral vision of the Church and those determined first and foremost to emphasise its moral teaching
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Report finds 'systemic failures' by C of E over allegations of abuse by former dean
- Middle East must keep its Christians, says Vatican calling for scrutiny of Islamists' funding
- Nichols says synod is opening pathways for divorced and remarried
- Francis to visit Istanbul's Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque as concerns over treatment of Christians resurface
- Synod final document is a setback for Francis' reforms – for now Elena Curti in Rome
- Curious muddle of Lectionary translations Philip Endean SJ
- Annulments can be far from merciful Bill Wright
The trial court of Lahore in Pakistan on 27 March sentenced Savan Masih, a Catholic, to death for blasphemy.
Following the blasphemy allegation against Mr Masih in March last year, thousands of Muslims, urged on by clerics, went on a rampage in the Joseph Colony, Lahore’s Christian district, setting on fire and damaging 178 houses, 18 shops and two churches.
Joseph Francis, director of CLAAS (the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance-Settlement) that has been providing assistance to Masih, said in a press statement on 31 March that the trial was based on a false accusation.
CLAAS said that Mr Masih was framed “in a false case of insulting the prophet Muhammad during the course of conversation with a Muslim friend” at the Joseph Colony concerning a property dispute.
Mr Masih appealed against his conviction on Tuesday saying that the charges were fabricated to accelerate the eviction of Christians from the area.
The sentence evoked strong protests the next day from opposition parties in the National Assembly, who decried the persecution of minority communities on trumped up blasphemy charges.
Shireen Mazari of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party said it was a travesty that the people who burned down so much of the colony in Lahore were released on bail, while the accused, tried on a disputed charge, was sentenced to death.