by Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (Worthy News) – An Islamic cleric has been beaten to death by a Muslim mob in northwestern Pakistan after comparing a political candidate to Islam’s prophet Muhammed, Worthy News learned Tuesday.
Maulana Nigar Alam, 40, was lynched Saturday in Sawaldher village in Mardan district, part of Peshawar city in Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, well-informed sources said.
The violence reportedly began when the cleric stated that politician Saeed Khan was “as pious as Muhammed” during a political rally.
He was punched on stage and fell, at which point a mob began to attack him, according to video footage obtained by Worthy News.
The horrific footage showed men beating him with a stick and their hands as well as kicking and trembling the bloodied man with their feet on his half-naked body and face.
It wasn’t clear whether the man had already died or was unconscious when the charged-up crowd was beating and stamping on him.
The attack was the latest in a series of deadly incidents over alleged blasphemy to hit this Islamic nation.
Juliet Chowdhry, the trustee for the British Asian Christian Association (BACA), an advocacy group investigating the case, told Worthy News that the “increasing violence associated with Islamic extremism in Pakistan is frightening.”
He noticed it “takes so little to ignite a passion for killing, and mobs precipitate in seconds. This recent extrajudicial killing shows the speed in which a mob can form.”
Chowdhry stressed that the cleric “had just uttered the offensive words” and was killed within minutes.
The troubles reportedly began after Alam had been asked to pray at a political rally in support of a Supreme Court ruling to hold provincial elections on May 14 rather than the government’s decision to have them in October.
In the prayer at the end of the rally, “Alam’s comparison of a local politician with Muhammed enraged the attendees of the rally,” the BACA said.
“He had just finished his prayer when one of the protestors lunged onto the stage and brutally punched” the cleric “in the face, throwing him off the stage. The enraged mob did not wait for the police and lynched the man on the spot,” the BACA added in a statement shared with Worthy News.
“There is no way to police such instantaneous hatred. Many innocent people will be killed unless Islamic hate speech is removed from mosques across the country,” noted BACA’s Trustee Chowdhry
He stressed that Pakistan’s government “must now remove all hate elements from their national curriculum. Failure to do so makes them complicit with every crime of hate.”
This isn’t an isolated incident. Last year a Sri Lankan manager in the city of Sialkot, Priyantha Kumara, was lynched by an angry mob over blasphemy allegations.
In April this year, a Chinese supervisor of heavy transportation at the Dasu hydropower plant in Kheber Pakhtunkhwa province “was booked under blasphemy charges,” the BACA said.
The BACA said it is so also supporting several blasphemy law victims, including several Christians, who have been accused of blasphemy against Islam.
Several of them were nearly lynched after being detained by police, Christians told Worthy News. “We are supporting Nabeel Masih, the youngest ever blasphemy prisoner in Pakistan, and Zafar Masih, who has been incarcerated for over 10 years and is Pakistan’s longest-serving blasphemy convict,” the BACA said.
The BACA said it is raising funds to help them and their families.
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