Death to non-Muslims Law Passed (Iran)

Iran’s parliament has passed the death penalty for apostasy, which is viewed in that country as converting to any other faith than Islam.

Thousands of Iranians have been converting to Christianity, and the underground church is thriving, according to reports. But other Iranians are returning to Zoroastrianism, which was the dominant religion in Iran at one time. Jonathan Rocho, with International Christian Concern (ICC), explains.

“We, as a Christian organization, are very much concerned about this because this means many Christians who converted from Islam are going to face death, simply because of their decision to follow Jesus Christ,” Rocho laments.

He says Iranians are questioning the Muslim faith after living under the regime, which has been dominated by the religion since the revolution in the 1970s. “They have not seen any change in their lives,” Rocho adds. “There is even more repression, more problems going on in the country, so they are very much confused about the Islamic faith.”

Already, two Christian converts accused of apostasy have been given the death penalty. Since Iran does not easily succumb to international pressure, Rocho urges people to pray.

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Boy Killed By Muslim Cleric for Not Memorising Koran (Pakistan)

A student of a religious seminary in Pakistan’s Punjab province has died after he was punished by his teacher, police say.

Atif, seven, was hung upside down from a ceiling fan by Maulvi Ziauddin for not memorising his Koran lessons, his fellow students told the police.

Atif’s condition deteriorated quickly and he died in the teacher’s room. Maulvi Ziauddin has been arrested.

Human rights organisation say Pakistani children are often exposed to abuse.

Arrested

The students told the police in the town of Vehari that Atif was punished on Wednesday by Maulvi Ziauddin who left him hanging from the fan for some time.

The son of a farm labourer, Atif lived in the seminary with about 20 other students, including a cousin.

“When his cousin did not see Atif on Wednesday night or the next morning, he informed the family,” a Vehari police official, Mohammad Afzal, told the BBC.

“Members of the family found Atif’s body in Maulvi Ziauddin’s room, but the cleric himself was missing,” he said.

He was arrested from a nearby village later on Thursday.

The police said they would file formal charges after an autopsy report is issued by the local hospital.

In a report published in January, Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) – an organisation which monitors and compiles cases of child abuse and kidnapping – said children in Pakistan were increasingly exposed to abuse, kidnapping and violence.

The number of reported cases involving children has more than doubled from 617 in 2006 to 1,595 last year, the report said.

It blamed poor law enforcement and old social attitudes towards children’s rights as some of the reasons for the problem.