Adil Babar and Simon Nadeem Masih are accused of having called their dog “Muhammad Ali.” Only, they do not have a dog.
by Massimo Introvigne
Adil Babar, the 18-year-old son of Babar Sandhu Masih, a Catholic car painter in an auto workshop of the Qurban Lines neighborhood of Lahore, Pakistan, and his friend Simon Nadeem Masih, 14, have been arrested on charges of blasphemy on May 14, as reported by Christian human rights activists on social media.
Blasphemy is punished in Pakistan with the death penalty. Adil Babar is also training to become a car painter like his father.
The duo was beaten by a policeman, Zahid Sohail, who said he had overheard them making remarks disrespectful to Prophet Muhammad, until the elder Babar intervened. Others gathered, but the policeman was unable to explain clearly what he believed he had overheard, and left.
Later that evening, however, the police came to the neighborhood, which hosts some 500 Christian families, and arrested both Adil and Simon.
It came out that Zahid Sohail had filed a FIR (first information report) claiming that the two teenagers had called a puppy “Muhammad Ali.” According to the policeman, they were playing with the pet and making jokes about its name.
Babar Sandhu Masih and his Catholic neighbors flatly deny that this happened. They claim that, when he was first asked what he had heard, Zahid Sohail did not mention any puppy.
They also insist that the family does not own dogs, and no dog was in the street at the time of the incident.
It seems that this is just another one in a long list of fabricated accusations of blasphemy, terrorizing Christian minorities and at the same time allowing radical Islamic activists to claim that blasphemy is a widespread phenomenon and the laws punishing it should be maintained.