Christian nurses falsely accused of disrespecting the Koran
Two Christian nurses from Faisalabad, a city in the Pakistani state of Punjab, were accused of disrespecting the Koran under Pakistani Penal Code 295B, one of the articles of the infamous "blasphemy law" that punishes for slandering the holy book of Islam, mission agency Fides reported.
The First Investigative Report was filed last Friday. The case was registered on the basis of an application filed by the medical probation officer Dr Mirza Mohammad Ali from Faisalabad Public Hospital. According to the applicant, on the 8th of April, two Christian nurses, Mariam Lal and Navish Arooj, removed and tore a sticker containing verses from the Koran from a locker.
The doctor claims that Navish Arooj removed the sticker and handed it to Maryam, who put it in her hands when she saw the head nurse, Rukhsana, approaching them.
The next day, a Muslim woman reported the case to the hospital administrator and health inspector Faisal Yaqoobam. The latter found both Christian nurses guilty of insulting verses in the Koran and charged them with blasphemy.
In the commotion that broke out in the hospital, one of the young people working in the ward, Muhammad Waqas, tried to kill the Christian nurse Maryam with a knife, but she was only wounded in the arm. Currently, both nurses are in police custody.
Kashif Aslam, the programme coordinator of the National Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani Episcopate, told Fides that this was another false accusation against Christian women.
“There are personal conflicts among the hospital staff that should be exposed during the investigation. Christians have a deep sensitivity in these matters and are also taught to respect other religions. I do not believe that young Christian nurses desecrated the sticker with the verses of the Koran,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Christian human rights activist Saleem Iqbal spoke to the Fides agency about the growing number of people wrongly accused of blasphemy and forced conversion of girls belonging to religious minorities.
“This is the second case recorded this year: a Christian nurse, Tabitha Gill, has previously been accused in a Karachi hospital. It has now happened in Faisalabad,” he recalled. At the same time, he appealed to Christian politicians to speed up actions in defence of their countrymen. He also urged the faithful always to be vigilant towards those who can trap them in such matters, or use blasphemy to settle personal accounts.