Police have arrested four men charged with blasphemy in the village of Khodi Khushal Singh after an argument with a religious cleric (Imam), a local police official Faryad reported to Al Jazeera.
The initial police report says that men, who were Muslim, argued with the cleric after he refused to make a funeral announcement for a Christian man from his mosque.
“As soon as they arrived [at the mosque], they started cursing the mosque’s imam, disrespected the mosque, and insulted Islam,” read the report. The four men were charged under sections 295 and 298 of Pakistan’s penal code, which carries penalties of up to two years in prison.
Pakistani human rights activists have condemned the case against these four men.
“If there was a Muslim who in good faith wants to have an announcement such as this made in the community, it’s not an attack on someone’s faith, it’s a good cause,” said human rights activist and lawyer Nadeem Anthony. He raised the question that if someone announces a funeral on a loudspeaker, how is it a religious violation?
Pakistan has never executed a convict under the blasphemy laws, but accusations of the offense have led to murders by individuals who take the law into their own hands. Several months ago, a policeman in Sadiqabad killed a man, who was charged with blasphemy.