Pakistani Preacher Jailed for Sermon at Funeral

Religion Today

Pakistani Preacher Jailed for Sermon at Funeral

An evangelist accused of defaming Islam was telling mourners at a funeral about the sacrifice of Christ when Muslims present took offense, ASSIST News Service reports. Karma Patras, 55, has been in jail since Oct. 13 for allegedly "outraging the religious feelings" of Muslims at the funeral of a Christian where most of those present were church members, and he faces a sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine under Section 295-A of Pakistan's widely condemned blasphemy law. Patras' son, Robin Masih, said: "My father addressed the gathering at the bereaved family's house by sharing Jesus Christ's sacrificial death and resurrection. He did not know that there were some Muslims sitting among the mourners. ... They fiercely objected to his sermon and even tried to attack him. He escaped a beating due to timely intervention by the other Christians." Masih said after his father's arrest, area Muslims told him and his four brothers to leave the village or else they would set them on fire. Masih's family and those of his brothers sought refuge with relatives elsewhere; meanwhile, Patras awaits a second hearing on his bail application after the first was denied. Though the blasphemy law requires evidence of intent for conviction, many Pakistani courts tend to decide blasphemy cases based on fear of violence by Islamist groups rather than on merit.


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