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Christian group to hold conference on Pakistan blasphemy law

GENEVA: An influential Christian Church organisation will hold an international conference in Geneva next month on Pakistan’s blasphemy law, after an 11-year-old Pakistani Christian girl was detained on accusations of defaming Islam.

Religious and secular groups worldwide have protested over the arrest last week of Rifta Masih, accused by Muslim neighbours of burning verses from the Quran, Islam’s holy book.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) said the conference was intended to give a global platform to religious minorities in Pakistan “who are victimised in the name of its controversial blasphemy law” in cases which had brought death penalties and “mob-instigated violence.”

It will be addressed by representatives of the minorities: Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, dissenting Islamic sects – including Ahmadis and Shias, and by civil society groups defending them. The WCC said officials from the United Nations, where special human rights investigators on religious freedom have often criticised Pakistan’s blasphemy law, would also attend.

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