Blasphemy trial nearing end in Pakistan.

By December 5, 2013

Pakistan (MNN/VOM) – The Pakistani case that sparked a
Muslim rampage against the Christian Joseph colony in Lahore wraps up in two

The last prosecution witness is expected to testify on
December 7.   Meanwhile, the Christians who were forced to
flee from their homes during the Rimsha Masih blasphemy row are still homeless.

It's part of a bigger picture revealing
that the desperate conditions facing believers are worsening.  In the days since the All Saints Church
attack in Peshawar, a rash of blasphemy accusations have stoked tensions in
Pakistan. Four blasphemy cases against Christians were registered in less than
a month, four times higher than the monthly average recorded over the last two

Christians claim that, as a recognized
minority, the government fails to protect them. In all these blasphemy charge
cases, no direct evidence was available against those accused, and yet the
accused pay the penalties.

Todd Nettleton is a spokesman with the Voice of the Martyrs
He explains, "The blasphemy law is basically used as a stick to beat
Christians over the head, and really, not only Christians, but also Muslims as
well. It's often used as a way to settle a score, as a way to take over someone's

The wording of the law is loose and open to
interpretation.  That's where trouble starts
for Christians.  A conversation about
Christ could turn into a blasphemy complaint, he says.  "Oftentimes that is really the line; someone
was offended. It's not a defense to say ‘what I said was true' because the
accusation was  based on someone taking
offense to what you said, not on the truth of what you said."

He adds that risk increases during this time of year. "We do
see an increase on attacks on churches during the Christmas holiday season,
during the Easter season, those very significant Christian events.  I think where blasphemy can come into it is in
the area of evangelism."

Despite international criticism, it appears unlikely that
Pakistan will amend or repeal its controversial blasphemy laws. The laws impose
severe penalties, including the possibility of a death sentence, on those found
guilty of insulting Islam. Nettleton says, "When blasphemy cases come about, we
are involved in the area of advocacy, in the area of helping people find legal representation
and we're also involved in really trying to influence the Pakistani government."

He goes on to explain that in 2010, Christian Asia Bibi
became the first person to receive a death sentence under these laws, for her
alleged blasphemy of the prophet Muhammad. Asia Bibi remains in prison while
her sentence is under appeal.  "One
of the main ways we've done that is through the ‘Call for Mercy' petition campaign
on behalf of Asia Bibi, who is a Christian woman who was found guilty of blasphemy
, is currently in prison in Pakistan waiting for her appeal to be ruled on by
the high court."

Pray God supernaturally moves and the blasphemy laws are
repealed. Ask God to encourage, protect and continue to give believers in
Pakistan courage and strength to stand for Him.

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