Pakistan's Blasphemy Law Seen as Tool of Oppression

Source:
Los Angeles Times

Muslim cleric Muhammad Salim isn't worried that a court or Pakistan's president might spare a Christian woman from this village who has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.

After all, if Asia Bibi, a mother of two, escapes the hangman's noose, he's confident someone else will kill her.

"Any Muslim, if given the chance, would kill such a person," Salim said calmly, seated cross-legged on a straw mat at a mosque here. "You would be rewarded in heaven for it."

Salim isn't the only one calling for vigilante justice. A cleric in Peshawar has offered 500,000 rupees, or $6,000, to anyone who kills Asia Bibi, if her execution doesn't take place. Other hard-line clerics have warned they would mobilize nationwide protests against the government if President Asif Ali Zardari pardoned her.

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