for simply not joining in a rally against the USA, what will they do when they get the chance to really hurt Americans?
Pakistan businessman accused by film protesters of blasphemy for not closing shops
By Associated Press, Published: September 19
ISLAMABAD Demonstrators angry over an anti-Islam film accused a local businessman in southern Pakistan of blasphemy, forcing the police to open a case and driving him and his family into hiding, following an argument that broke out when he refused to join their protest, officials said Wednesday.
The incident demonstrates the potential for abuse of the countrys strict blasphemy laws as well as the intense feelings the film, which denigrates Islams Prophet Muhammed, has unleashed in Pakistan.
At least two people have died in protests against the film, which has generated widespread animosity across the Muslim world.
The incident in the city of Hyderabad began when hundreds of protesters rallied Saturday. Some protesters demanded that businessman Haji Nasrullah Khan shut his roughly 120 shops in solidarity, said police officer Munir Abbasi.
When Khan refused, one of his tenants said his decision supported the film, the officer said.
The protesters claimed Khan insulted the Prophet while arguing with them, said city police chief Fareed Jan. But he said there was no evidence to suggest the insults really occurred and that police only opened a blasphemy case because they were pressured by the mob. Opening such a case doesnt mean the person is necessarily charged with the crime but that police are investigating him or her.
Protesters ransacked Khans house, and surrounded a police station, refusing to go away until officials opened a blasphemy case, Abbasi said.
The situation became even more inflamed when religious leaders from one of the biggest mosques in the city issued an edict calling for Khans death and announced from the mosques loudspeakers that he should be killed, Abbasi said.
The police officer said Khan and his family members had gone into hiding in fear for their lives.
Under Pakistans blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of defiling the holy book, or Quran, or insulting Islams Prophet Muhammad can face life in prison or death.
Associated Press Writer Adil Jawad in Karachi contributed to this report.