|According to the Straits Times:
LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) – A Pakistani Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy after he sent a Muslim friend a poem on WhatsApp that insulted Islam, a lawyer said on Friday (Sept 15). Nadeem James was charged in July last year after his Muslim friend Yasir Bashir complained to police that he received a poem on the messaging app that was derogatory towards the Prophet Mohammed and other holy figures. “James was handed a death sentence by the court on Thursday on blasphemy charges,” defence lawyer Anjum Wakeel said.”My client will appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend, who was annoyed over James’ affair with a Muslim girl,” Mr Wakeel said. He said the trial was held inside a prison due to security reasons after local Muslim clerics had threatened James and his family. Court officials confirmed the sentence.
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in conservative Muslim Pakistan, where even unproven allegations can stir beatings and mob violence. In 2014, a Christian couple were lynched then burnt in a kiln in Punjab province after being falsely accused of desecrating the Quran. Rights groups have said the laws are routinely abused to seek vengeance.
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa has denounced the Arab boycott of Israel and said his subjects are free to visit the Jewish state. The statement by the head of the Persian Gulf country, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, was revealed at a multi-national event last week in Los Angeles, hosted by the city’s Simon Wiesenthal Center.
At the event, Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, who head the Wiesenthal Center, revealed the king’s pronouncements made to them during their visit to Manama, Bahrain’s capital city, in early 2017.
A walk through the city, at that time was an eye-opener, Cooper said. There was a church, with a huge cross, next to a Hindu temple, and 90 meters on an impressive mosque. Even a small synagogue, the only one in the Persian Gulf region, still stands in an older part of the city.