(International Christian Concern) — International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that six Christians from Elahiabad, a town located near Faisalabad, were charged with committing blasphemy on Friday, February 23. Following the blasphemy accusations, a majority of the Christians from the neighborhood fled, fearing mob violence.
According to First Information Report (FIR) #238/18, Fayaz Masih, Riaz Masih, Imtiaz Masih, Sarfraz Masih, Saqib Masih and Mrs. Riaz were accused of insulting a “Na’at,” a form of Islamic poetry praising the Prophet Muhammad. Munawar Shehzad, the local Muslim who registered the accusation, further accused the six Christians of preventing him from painting a wall with the “Kalma Tayabba,” the Islamic proclamation of Muhammad as the final prophet.
According to Pervaiz Hayat, a local human rights defender, the accusations against the Christians are false and highlight the widespread abuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
“It was actually an issue over kite flying which was purposely turned into a religious dispute,” Hayat told ICC. “Earlier, Christian and Muslim children got into a fight over catching a kite in the street which later involved the elders of the two communities.”