Unjustly Accused: The Perilous Plight of a Pakistani Christian

In a distressing development from Pakistan, a Catholic man named Dennis Albert, aged 35, has been imprisoned under severe blasphemy charges. This unfortunate incident occurred when he accidentally stepped on pages believed to be from the Quran.

These charges trapped Dennis in April after disembarking his pull car and unintentionally treading on the scattered papers. The scene was reportedly witnessed by a passerby who then accused him of disrespecting the Islamic holy text.

Facing up to 10 years for allegedly “hurting religious sentiments,” Dennis also confronts a graver accusation of “defiling the Quran,” which could imprison him for life. His ordeal hinges on the thin testimony of the passerby, while Dennis maintains his innocence, as his brother Imran Albert relays.

Imran describes the incident as a simple mishap: “My brother says that his shoes were in the rickshaw, and when he stepped out to wait for a new customer, he inadvertently stepped on some pieces of paper on the roadside. Dennis didn’t [know] that the pages were Islamic scripture.”

Despite Dennis’s immediate attempts to clarify the misunderstanding, he was physically assaulted by onlookers. Asad Jamal’s lawyer criticized the charges as “ridiculous, to say the least,” arguing that there is no evidence of intentional disrespect.

As the legal battle drags on, Imran shared that Dennis is “losing hope for his freedom,” a sentiment that underscores the dire situation for Christians in Pakistan.

Instances of misuse of blasphemy laws, particularly against minorities, are alarmingly common.

This is reflected in Pakistan’s ranking as the seventh most dangerous country for Christians, according to Open Doors’ World Watch List. The report indicates that Christians, who comprise just 1.8% of the population, are targeted in about a quarter of all blasphemy cases.

This case adds to a troubling pattern of attacks and legal challenges faced by Christians in Pakistan, including a recent assault on a Catholic family and the ransacking of Christian homes and churches by mobs over similar allegations.

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