Casten, Durbin, and Duckworth Ask State Department to Ensure Fair Trial in Killing of Illinoisan Charged with Blasphemy Abroad

December 15, 2020
Press Release

Washington D.C. - Today, Congressman Sean Casten (IL-06), and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo regarding Pakistan’s ongoing trial for the murder of Tahir Ahmad Naseem, an American citizen who had lived in Illinois. Mr. Naseem, a former Ahmadi Muslim, was killed in a Pakistani courtroom in July while facing questionable charges for religious blasphemy. The Congressman and Senators asked the State Department to ensure his alleged killer is brought to trial in a timely fashion and to increase its efforts to bring Pakistan’s religious freedom-crushing blasphemy laws to an end.

The letter stated, in part: “We are concerned by a recent increase in violence against members of the Ahmadi community in Pakistan, and the silence on these killings by Pakistani leaders. According to press reports from November, there were at least five killings of Ahmadis since July. In addition, we remain concerned about the abuse of Pakistan’s colonial-era blasphemy laws to persecute and intimidate religious minorities and others, as well as to settle personal feuds.

“We strongly urge the Department to continue to press Pakistani authorities for an expeditious and transparent trial so that justice can be served in the killing of Mr. Naseem. We also hope the Department will continue to encourage Pakistan to reform or repeal its blasphemy laws.”

The full letter can be read here.