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15-Year-Old Pakistani Boy Chops Off His Own Hand After Cleric Falsely Accuses Him of Blasphemy

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A Pakistani teenager chopped off his right hand last week after a Muslim religious leader falsely accused him of blasphemy, CNN reported.

Fifteen-year-old Mohammad Anwar attended evening prayer at a mosque in Khanqah village Wednesday where imam Shabbir Ahmed was addressing the congregation.

Station House Officer Nausher Ali told CNN that the incident occurred after Anwar misheard the mullah’s words.

Ahmed had prompted those present to raise their hands if they did not love the Prophet Mohammed. Anwar, who had thought the Ahmed had asked those who loved the prophet to raise their hands, raised his own hand.

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“Blasphemer!” Ahmed yelled, even after Anwar noticed his mistake and lowered his hand.

The New York Times reported that others joined the imam, shouting, “Don’t you love your prophet?” after the boy as fled in shame.

What Anwar did next led to locals to hail him as a hero and an exemplar of the Muslim faith.

After being accused of blasphemy, an act punishable by death in Pakistan, the teen ran home, found a sharp blade and chopped off his right hand.

He then returned to the mosque and presented his severed hand to Ahmed on a platter, the Times reported. The offering was meant to be a sign of repentance for the perceived sin.

Police quickly arrested the imam on accusations of hate speech inciting violence, an offense punishable under Pakistan's anti-terror National Action Plan, CNN reported.

Local religious leaders protested Ahmed’s arrest, and authorities released the cleric. But after international news outlets began covering the incident over the weekend, officials rearrested him on charges that included terrorism, according to the Times.

Station House Officer Nausher Ali told CNN that Anwar’s father was proud of his son’s actions, but he doesn’t believe that the religious teacher should be punished.

“We are lucky that we have this son who loves Prophet Muhammad that much,” Muhammad Ghafoor, Anwar’s father told the Times. “We will be rewarded by God for this in the eternal world.”

Anwar also refused to press any charges against the mullah.

“What I did was for love of the Prophet Muhammad,” he said. According to the Times, the teen did not even go to the hospital after amputating his hand. Anwar’s family members buried his hand in the village graveyard.

“We have become a society so intoxicated by negative things in the name of religion that parents feel proud of sending their children to jihad and to die in the name of such activities,” I.A. Rehman, the secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan told the Times. “The government needs to do more to educate people and to speak out against extremism.”

(H/T: CNN, New York Times)

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