ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Fifty Muslims were arrested last week in Pakistan for being involved in a 1,000-member mob that beat a Christian couple and then threw them into the fire over accusations that they had desecrated the Koran.
Shama Bibi, 28, and Shahzad Masih, 32, lost their lives on Tuesday being burnt to ashes after they were encircled by the mob who had been informed over mosque loudspeakers that the couple had been found guilty of blasphemy against Islam.
According to reports, following the recent death of her father-in-law, Bibi burned the trinkets that he had used to practice black magic. But when others saw discovered what she had done, they rather accused her of burning the Koran.
“Shama burned the amulets and some other related material, assuming that this was the best way to get rid of ‘evil stuff,’” an unidentified family member told Morningstar News. “She later threw the ashes on a garbage heap outside their quarters when Muhammad Irfan, a Muslim co-worker, noticed some half-burnt pieces of paper from the amulets and raised a clamor, claiming that Shahzad’s family had desecrated Quranic pages.”
Bibi and her husband worked for a brick factory owner near the village of Kot Radha Kisha and had three young children. Unconfirmed reports state that Bibi was also several months pregnant.
When area Muslims heard the call from the local mullah that the couple had been declared guilty of blasphemy against Islam, a crime resulting in life imprisonment or death, hundreds rushed their workplace and broke down the door. Bibi and Masih were then dragged outside and beaten “using fists, kicks and batons at will.” Some reports state that the mob chanted “Allahu Akbar” as they took vengeance on the Christian couple—a popular phrase among Muslims, meaning “Allah is great.”
While Bibi is believed to have died from the beating, her husband remained alive through the incident. However, the mob then grabbed both Bibi and Masih and threw their bodies into the fiery kiln used for making bricks, burning Masih to death and incinerating him and his wife to powder.
“According to the police, they were unable to recover the bodies of the persecuted couple except their ashes,” one Pakistani man stated.
Fifty people believed to have participated in the deaths of Bibi and Masih were later taken into custody, and the local government has offered to pay the family the equivalent of $49,000 U.S. dollars, as well as 10 acres of land, for compensation.
As previously reported, a similar situation occurred in 2012 when a mob of approximately 200 Muslims stormed the police station in Karachi, dragged a man outside who had been accused of burning the Koran, and then set him on fire. Hundreds of Muslims also trashed and torched a predominantly Christian neighborhood last year in outrage over a man that had been accused of speaking against Mohammed.
At least fifty people have faced capital punishment for violating Pakistan’s blasphemy law since 1990. Normally, government officials carry out any retribution against violators, but sometimes local Muslims decide to take vengeance themselves. The country, located in South Asia, is officially called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It is the sixth most populated nation in the world.