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Muslim Teen Amputates Own Hand Following Blasphemy Allegation


Mohammad Anwar, a 15 year old Muslim teenager from Hujra Shah Muqeem district, Okara 125 kilometres away from Lahore, chopped off his own hand believing he had mistakenly committed a blasphemy. The incident took place on 11th January 2015 after the teenager raised his hand by mistake after apparently mishearing a question raised by his chief cleric during a meeting at his local mosque.

At the mosque gathering the imam (religious leader equivalent to pastor) told attendees that people who love the prophet Muhammad will recite their daily prayers without fail. He then asked the crowd if there was anyone who does not love the prophet and who had failed on their regular prayers. Anwar raised his hand in error after having misheard the question believing raising his hand was an acknowledgement of his love for the prophet.

The raising of his hand caused an immediate negative reaction and the assembled crowd became extremely hysterical. The imam himself reacted immediately by declaring Mohammad Anwar a blasphemer.  In a panic Mohammad picked himself up and ran out of the mosque whilst shoes were being thrown at him, men were baying for his blood as he left the mosque and some even laid chase. He somehow escaped into the safety of his home and went straight to the barn inside their residential compound, where he knew a threshing saw was available to him.  In a fit of blind panic and religious zeal he placed his hand on the threshing plate and turned the blade cutting off his 'offending' hand in one swift move.  He then placed the haram (sinful) hand on a plate and delivered it personally to the imam, who then absolved him of his sins. 

Shamim Masih by the blade that was used to sever the hand of Anwar

Mohammad Anwar was met yesterday by BPCA officer, Shamim Masih as we were very moved by this and wanted to express our sorrow for the loss of his right hand.  Mohammad spoke candidly with him and said:

"When I realised I had blasphemed, I started to hate my hand, it had caused me to lose face publicly and had demeaned me before Allah.  I rushed home to remove the evil hand and gave it to my imam to show I am a true Muslim and will do anything it takes to make Allah happy.  My father was pleased with my actions and told me I will have a special place in heaven for this action that glorifies Allah. 

Shamim Masih visited the local police station and spoke to police officer Nosher Ahmad, he said:

"No FIR has been raised for this incident.  Mr Mohammad Anwar and his family have issued no complaint, in fact Mr Anwar has informed both local police and the court that the action of removing his hand was of his own volition under no duress. In no way has the local cleric been implicated in this incident."

Apparently Muslim believers from the other villages have been visiting Anwar and his family on a daily basis.  They have been greeting the family heartily and have proclaimed the act of servitude to Allah as a matter of local pride.

Bravely, Shamim Masih also visited the imam concerned, Mohammed Bashir, and he said:

"Mr Mohammad Anwar had committed a blasphemy and deserved punishment for his reckless actions.  However in severing his hand that had sinned he had made himself pure again.  I hope now he will continue to pray to Allah regularly to continue to receive Allah's love.

The BPCA offered medical support and help to the family explaining that we are a Christian group moved by the story.  Shamim was not permitted to pray with them but did share a small time of fellowship and explained that our Christian God is one of love that would not require such sacrifice of us, but in fact died on a cross himself, fulfilling prophecy and paving a way to eternal life based on faith and not ritual.

Shamim Masih said:

"The family were reasonably amicable with me.  They shared their great pride in the actions of Mohammed Anwar whose sacrifice they felt brought them closer to God.  I hope this initial zeal for his actions does not become a more disheartening experience as they eventually come to terms with t he permanent disability of a very young man.  BPCA will help with some of the medical costs for the young man that we might share the love of Christ and expel the myth that Christians are evil a very common portrayal especially in rural regions."

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:

"We sent our officer to console and assist the family but were extremely surprised by the reaction of the family and local residents. The fact that this poor boy has become a local hero for such a brutal act of self mutilation beggars belief.  Moreover, it reminds us of the pervading extremist Islam taught in Pakistan that only serves as a seed bed for hatred towards minorities.  We have done what little we can to portray Christians in a good light and have offered assistance, but it will take a lot more than this to create a more egalitarian society in a country rooted in fundamentalism."

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The mosque at which the gathering was held.

Shamim meets Mohammad and his family.

Mohammad Anwar's father Mr Abdul Ghafoor

The threshing blade is back in use.

Abdul Ghafoor 

The family are proud of Anwar's sacrifice.

Father Abdul Ghafoor expresses great pride in his son's sacrifice.

Anwar's family believe he is a hero.

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