Pakistan (MNN) — Muslim
extremists are blamed for the murders of five Christians in Pakistan in less
than a week.
Greg Musselman, spokesman for
Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says 22-year-old Latif Masih was shot to death
shortly after he was granted bail in a "blasphemy" case. He was accused in early November under Law 295c — the infamous "Blasphemy Law" in which the two
militants claimed he burnt pages of the Qur'an.
On November 18, Masih's accusers
caught up with him and shot him to death near his home in Godhpur, village 111 kilometers (69 miles) northeast
of Lahore. Days earlier, on November
12 in southern Punjab Province, police
say Lashkar-e-Taiba militants killed four family members because of their
There are concerns that the violence
against Christians will continue. The
marked increase in these cases has created a renewed call by human rights
watchdog groups for an end to the blasphemy law. The support couldn't come at a better time. Musselman says, "Christians are always under this kind of law.
In recent days, it's received international attention because of some of the
other cases that are happening. The international community is saying, ‘This is
ridiculous. You can't have these kinds of laws.' There's a lot of pressure that I believe will
be put on Pakistan."
This part of the criminal code
has come under fire for its vague writing and broad interpretation. Under
it, Musselman notes, "We've seen many
cases where Christians are really under this law in the sense that it can be
used against them. These Muslims often
use it for convenience to take over businesses or these kinds of things."
It seems this is what actually
motivated Latif's murder, rather than fervent faith issues. Musselman says, "It appears that he was actually
killed because he had a motorbike shop that these guys wanted to take over."
A Compass Direct News
investigation supports this idea, citing an interview with Latif's brother,
Junaid Masih, who claimed Latif's killers were associates of a Muslim man who had
filed the blasphemy charge.
Human motives aside, Law 295c is a dangerous weapon in Pakistan's criminal
code. Musselman explains that "he
blasphemy law, for the most part, is used to intimidate Christians from
evangelizing. They need to
know that we're praying for them [and] encouraging them."
Pray for the families of the
murder victims. "The Bible tells us that
if one part of the body suffers, we all suffer, so we should be concerned about
Pray that Christ's Body in Pakistan will continue to be a bold
testimony of His love and grace. Ask God to help Christians in Pakistan to
respond in a Christ-like manner to injustice and oppression.