Pakistani teenage boy cuts off own hand after imam 'accused him of blasphemy'

15-year-old hailed as a hero among locals after presenting the dismembered body part to the cleric on a plate

Emma Henderson
Tuesday 19 January 2016 13:27 GMT
The reports emerged from a village in the Punjab province of Pakistan, 125km south of capital Lahore
The reports emerged from a village in the Punjab province of Pakistan, 125km south of capital Lahore

A teenage boy cut off his own hand after being told he was a blasphemer, police in Pakistan say.

Mohammad Anwar, 15, from a village in the Punjab province of Pakistan, misheard cleric Shabbir Ahmed speaking during a sermon.

The imam asked who did not love the prophet Mohammed and the teenager - who had misheard him - raised his hand.

The imam accused him of blasphemy in front of the whole congregation, to which the boy responded by going home and cutting off his own hand, said local policman Nausher Ali.

He then presented it to the cleric on a plate, according to officers.

Police arrested the cleric on Sunday, before accusing him of using hate speech to incite violence and filing anti-terrorism charges against him.

“Such illiterate imams of mosques should not be allowed to deliver speeches,” the chief police said.

“His arrest is under the National Action Plan that hate speeches inciting violence are no longer allowed in this country,” Mr Ali said.

The teenager was hailed a hero among locals and the boy’s father said he was proud of his actions - adding that he did not want the cleric arrested - according to police.

Blasphemy is a source of major controversy in Pakistan and has led to angry mobs killing people accused of insulting Islam.

Pakistani law does not define blasphemy, but does state its punishment is death, although one has never been carried out.

Activists argue blasphemy laws are frequently misused to settle personal scores and unfairly target minorities.

The Supreme Court in Pakistan suspended the execution of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, convicted of blasphemy in 2015. She was the first woman to be sentenced to death under the law.

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