Four Muslims were accused of blasphemy after refusing to make a Christian proclamation after a discussion with a religious clergyman.
Pakistani police have arrested four men on charges blasphemy After discussing with an “imam” (a religious figure) whether the announcement of the funeral of a Christian neighbor was made from the mosque, officials said.
The case took place in the village of Khodi Khushal Singh, near the eastern city of Lahore, on November 18, when a local Faryad police official with a unique name told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
“The men have been arrested and brought before the court,” he said.
The men, a Muslim, had an argument with a local clergyman after he refused to make a funeral announcement for a Christian man in his mosque, according to an initial police report.
“As soon as he arrived [at the mosque], they started cursing the imam of the mosque, disrespecting the mosque and insulting Islam, ”the report says.
The four men were charged under sections 295 and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code and face up to two years in prison.
Pakistan has never executed a conviction under blasphemy laws, but accusations of the crime have increasingly led to the killing of mafia or individuals. Since 1990, at least 79 people have been killed as a result of the violence, according to Al Jazeera data.
Pakistani human rights activists have accused the case against the four men of being baseless.
“If there was a Muslim who wants to make such an announcement in good faith in the community, it’s not an attack on anyone’s faith, it’s a good cause,” said human rights activist and lawyer Nadeem Anthony.
“So if someone announces it [a funeral] in a loudspeaker, what is a religious violation like? ‘