Police Arrest Imam Who Encouraged 15-Year Old Boy To Cut Off His Hand Over Prophet Mohammed

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Police in Pakistan have arrested an imam for inciting
violence after a 15-year-old boy who was reported to have been mistakenly
accused of blasphemy cut off his own hand.
The cleric, Shabbir Ahmed, last Monday told worshippers at a
village mosque that those who love the Prophet Mohammad always say their
prayers, before asking who among the crowd had stopped praying.
Mohammad Anwar, 15, raised his hand by mistake after
apparently mishearing the question. Ahmed then accused the boy of blasphemy; a
serious allegation in Muslim-majority Pakistan.
Anwar fled home, where he cut off the hand he had raised and
placed it on a plate before presenting it to the imam, according to police
chief Ahmed. The imam was arrested late Saturday and would appear in court on
Monday “for further legal proceedings”, Ahmed added.

“Shabbir Ahmed, the cleric, has been arrested and
booked under anti-terror law for inciting the boy to take such an extreme step.”
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, an
Islamic republic of some 200 million, where even unproven allegations
frequently stir mob violence and lynchings.

Critics including European governments say the country’s
blasphemy laws are often misused to settle personal scores.

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