LAHORE, Pakistan — A Pakistani judge refused to dismiss an anti-terrorism charge against a Catholic man accused of blasphemy.
A judge on July 6 rejected Imran Rehman’s request to eliminate the terrorism charge, reports Morning Star News. Rehman is accused of sharing on WhatsApp a message deemed blasphemous to Islam.
Rehman was arrested Sept. 14, 2022, and was charged under four of Pakistan’s blasphemy statutes, two sections of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and four sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.
In June, two government officials signed an agreement with leaders of an extremist Islamist party to allow blasphemy cases to fall under Pakistan’s anti-terrorism statutes.
According to Morning Star, “Blasphemy against Muhammad (the prophet of Islam) is punishable by death under Pakistani law, and conviction requires little legal evidence. As a result, the blasphemy laws are often used as a weapon of revenge against both Muslims and non-Muslims.”
Pakistan is No. 7 on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.