Dr. Younus Shaikh, rationalist and founder-President of the Pakistan based organization Enlightenment, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Dr. Shaikh was arrested on 4 October 2000 and has been in Adyala Jail, Rawalpindi since then. In the court room, an aggressive group of about 20 clerics of the Islamic fundamentalist organization Majlis-I-Khatam-I-Nabuwat were present and tried to exert pressure. Blasphemy in Pakistan is punishable with a mandatory death sentence. Cases of acquittal are extremely rare, because the law demands only very vague evidence as a basis for a verdict. It is sufficient that two adult male Muslims witness that the accused is guilty of offending Islam or the Prophet. The courts normally give in to the pressure of the fundamentalists, especially since a High Court judge was assassinated for acquitting a Christian of the charge. Many accused are killed earlier in police custody or in the court room itself by fanatics. 

Dr. Shaikh is a 45 years old medical doctor and teacher in a medical college in Islamabad. Through his organization Enlightenment he tries to promote Human Rights. The blasphemy accusation against him is based on his statement that the Prophet Mohammed did not become a Muslim till the age of 40 (i.e. until he received the first message from God) and the Prophet’s parents were non-Muslims because they died before Islam existed. However, Adam is said to have been a Muslim as are the prophets Moses, Abraham, Jesus, …

What can we do to rescue Dr. Shaikh?

Please write letters to General Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan asking for his intervention to release Dr Shaikh. While writing, please remember not to provoke the military ruler, but to use persuasive language, keeping in mind his position.

The e-mail address of General Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan is: