Date: November 12, 2019
In a rare move, police stepped in to stop Muslims attacking Amir Masih, a Christian sanitation worker, in Yousafabad, Pakistan after he was falsely accused of “blasphemy”.
“Blasphemy” charges against Amir were dropped straight away when police discovered in their investigation that the pages of the Quran which Amir had in his possession had been found in a rubbish bag collected by him from local homes as part of his sanitation duties.
Amir had taken the pages to a Muslim-owned shop to confirm whether they were from the Quran, but was accused by the shop owner of being an “unclean rubbish collector” and dragged to a local mosque.
The imam at the mosque made a loudspeaker announcement that “a blasphemous Christian had been stopped”, calling on other imams to punish Amir and burn local Christian homes, when police stepped in.
“Blasphemy” against Muhammad carries a mandatory death penalty under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code and often the mere accusation of “blasphemy” is enough to incite a vigilante killing by a mob. Under section 295-B, “wilful defilement, damage or desecration of the Quran” carries a life sentence. Police can sometimes fail to act against this mob violence in “blasphemy” cases, but in this incident, police action saved Amir from harm.