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Blasphemy Reform Debate in Pakistan Quashed By 'Innocence Of Muslims' Video

Anti-Islam film that sparked regional violence caused "setback" in post-Rimsha Masih discussions.

Following the exoneration of Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl who made international headlines after she was falsely accusing of blaspheming the Qur'an, Pakistan appeared ready to discuss–and potentially weaken–its anti-blasphemy laws.

But that window of opportunity slammed shut on Sept. 11, when a portion of the Islamic world erupted in outrage over the anti-Islam Internet video "Innocence of Muslims," which portrays Muhammad as a womanizer and false prophet.

"Much progress had been made," attorney Tahir Naveed told Open Doors News, "but this film brushed everything aside."

For a moment, Pakistani Christians may have thought the apparent collapse of the case against Masih had opened a narrow window of opportunity to weaken the country's anti-blasphemy law. Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, used the Rimsha arrest as an opportunity to insist the blasphemy law must not be used as a cover to settle personal scores. Naveed, who is a member of the Punjab state legislature, ...

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