Muslim cleric accuses Pakistani Christian minister of committing blasphemy

Allama Ahmed Mian Hammadi, a Pakistani Muslim cleric, has claimed that Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Federal Minister for Minorities has himself committed blasphemy by branding the recently murdered Christian brothers as victims of Pakistan blasphemy laws.

Bhatti had spoken out about the murder last week of Rashid Emmanuel, 30, and his brother Sajid, 27, by unidentified masked gunmen inside a courthouse in Faisalabad. The brothers had been accused of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad earlier this month, a charge they had both denied.

According to Mr Hammadi's statement, published in Daily Jasarat, a Pakistani Urdu daily newspaper, the Muslim cleric said that Muslims cannot tolerate blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad.

"It is not a cruelty to kill blasphemers, rather blasphemy itself is such an enormous brutality that the one who commits it neither has got a right to live in this world nor is there any pardon for the blasphemer," Daily Jasarat quoted Mr Hammadi as saying.

"Muslims won't tolerate even a slightest blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad. If Shahbaz Bhatti committed blasphemy he would be beheaded."

He maintained: "A Muslim loves [the] Prophet Muhammad more than anyone else."
The newspaper quoted Mr Hammadi as saying that the incident of killing of the Christian brothers due to non implementation of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

According to the newspaper, the Muslim cleric criticized Mr. Bhatti for stating that the law had been abused vis-à-vis the case of the Christian brothers.

"No law has been implemented in this case. Court implements the law not people," Daily Jasarat quoted Mr. Hammadi as saying. "Christian brothers were killed after Muslims became angry."

Mr Hammadi, according to Jasarat, also demanded the arrest of Christian rioters who he said threw stones at the houses of Muslims after the murder of the Christian brothers.

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