Pakistan (MNN) – Pakistan, it’s listed as the fourth country where Christians face the worst persecution according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List* (WWL). And one reason why is its blasphemy law which is frequently used to attack Christians.
Blasphemy Law Abuse
“The blasphemy law in Pakistan [makes] sure that nobody defames the prophet Muhammad, or speaks [derogatorily] of the Quran, or treats a Quran in an irreverent way. So, they’re just protecting the Islamic faith,” FMI’s Bruce Allen shares.
“The abuse comes when people will say, ‘I charged XYZ person with blasphemy,’ simply in order to defame them, derail them, ruin their lives. Because– here’s the kicker — it’s a mandatory death sentence if you’re convicted of blasphemy.”
Allen says that often, the people being accused of blasphemy have not done anything to be considered truly blasphemous by the blasphemy law. Once accused, though, they are imprisoned and then sent to trial. But, it’s not uncommon for the individuals accused of blasphemy to not even make it to prison. That is because individuals in their community often take it upon themselves to right the supposed wrong of blasphemy.
“Once people in society know that someone has been accused of blasphemy, it just turns into mob violence and people in the street attack that person who’s being accused. They don’t care about looking for evidence, they just want to protect the honor of their Prophet or their book,” Allen explains.
“And so they will kill that person in the streets. They will burn down that person’s home. Family members are impacted. It really has gotten out of hand over the last few years in Pakistan.”
And now, the misuse of this blasphemy law is hitting close to home.
Pakistani Christian Falsely Accused
“I received some distressing news over the weekend regarding someone involved in Christian ministry. A very strategically placed and highly influential co-laborer for the Gospel of Jesus Christ inside Pakistan. And, he was just served with a warrant for his arrest on charges of blasphemy,” Allen says.
If convicted, this man, who we’ll call Ahmed for security reasons, would face a death sentence and a fine. And oftentimes, individuals are charged with blasphemy without substantial evidence.
Allen, who has seen the police report for the blasphemy charge, says that there’s no information listed regarding the location of the incident or even what Ahmed did that was blasphemous.
“It was simply just ‘we’re charging this person with blasphemy,’” Allen says.
To throw in a plot twist, when Ahmed received the blasphemy charges, he discovered he didn’t even know his accuser. In fact, other information listed, such as an incorrect address for the accused, further revealed that the person accusing Ahmed doesn’t have his facts straight and is more than likely making up information.
Sadly, in Pakistan, there isn’t much more needed than false information before people assume the accused is guilty of blasphemy.
God at Work
“We have a dear brother in Christ who’s highly affected, who the enemy is focusing his fiery darts upon,” Allen shares.
“So one of the prayer requests I have is that Satan’s darts will fail in their effectiveness. Not just regarding the charges, but even at this point while this individual who is awaiting his court hearing, which happens later this week. We pray that Satan’s darts would seek to cause him to doubt God’s goodness or God’s faithfulness…that those darts get extinguished.”
God is already at work in Ahmed’s case in the event that Ahmed is currently safe and he has secured a lawyer for his defense. Furthermore, Ahmed has a pledge from the judge presiding over his case to hear his case in the judge’s private chamber.
If Ahmed’s case is heard in an open court, then all facts of the trial would be available to the public and journalists attending the trial. His identity, where he lives, etc. would be revealed and put him in danger of being attacked by mobs. But, since the case will be privately held, Ahmed’s case will not be witnessed by the public.
“That’s a great blessing and we’re excited to see what else God is going to be doing this week on behalf of this individual, especially as people around the world are praying for him,” Allen shares.
How to Pray
So please, pray also for Ahmed’s encouragement, his and his family’s safety, and for his acquittal. Pray for his wife’s steadfastness as she cares for their children and faces the unknown of her husband’s trial.
Also, pray for the wisdom, insight, and courage of the lawyer representing Ahmed. Pray for the Pakistani government to reform this blasphemy law to either completely get rid of it, or to at least minimize the gross abuse of this law.
And finally, continue to pray for Pakistanis in church leadership, for them to continue to be fortified, minister boldly, and for the fruitfulness of the Gospel’s work in Pakistan.
More Ways to Help
Another way to help is to send messages of encouragement and prays to Ahmed by leaving a post on Mission Network News’ Facebook page. These messages will be securely sent to Ahmed for his encouragement.
To leave a post, click here!
Costs for Ahmed’s trial will range from $5,000-8,000 USD. FMI, who has experience with providing aid overseas, has agreed to work as a funnel for funds for Ahmed. Will you help tangibly support Ahmed during this time of persecution?
To donate, click here!
* The WWL lists the top 50 countries where Christian persecution is most severe.