Mr. Masih, a Pakistani Christian living in a predominately Christian colony, known as Joseph Colony, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani court. The court convicted Mr. Masih of blasphemy due to the fact that he criticized the Prophet Muhammad during an argument with a coworker. News of what he said quickly spread from his Muslim coworker, resulting in a large mob storming the Christian colony, and setting fire to about 170 houses and two churches. Mr. Masih was later arrested by the local police. Mr. Masih claims that he has been falsely accused due to a plot by a local businessman to oust the small community of Christians from their colony. He believes that the local businessman wants the land that the Christians currently occupy in order to build several large businesses. In addition, although Mr. Masih has been sentenced to death, his lawyer has declared that they will appeal the ruling to Pakistan’s highest court.
It is hard to know what, if anything, Mr. Masih said to his coworker that led to his coworker’s accusation that he criticized the Prophet Muhammad. Obviously it would not be appropriate if Mr. Masih said something offensive concerning the Prophet Muhammad, or the religion of Islam. Criticizing or making fun of another religion is simply inappropriate and offensive. The Pakistani government needs to introduce laws that will promote greater religious tolerance and acceptance within the country. Pakistan will not develop as a truly democratic country until the laws that govern the country promote greater religious tolerance. Hopefully Pakistani Muslims and Christians can continue to coexist in peace in the future.