Pakistan (MNN) — Radical Muslim groups are threatening Pakistan's government against amending or repealing the country's blasphemy law. The laws are often used to falsely charge people practicing minority religions, including Christians. The attacks against Christians in Gojra in August illustrate how those laws can be used to harm believers.
President of International Christian Concern Jeff King: "It all started when there was a Christian wedding party and they were throwing confetti. Someone started the rumor that the party had torn up the Quran and were using it as confetti. The local Imam and the mosque started broadcasting that rumor and encouraging them to attack."
That's when a mob of Islamic radicals attacked Christians, killing innocent men, women and children. King says, "Almost 100 homes were burned down. A family was burned alive. [There was] just tremendous, tremendous pressure that these guys live under."
Many were outraged by the violence, says King. So the government began talking about repealing the country's blasphemy laws. King says the signs had been positive. "Possibly this latest outrage might have been enough to tip the scale to get the blasphemy laws repealed. But recently, some individuals from the two large radical Islamic parties warned the state: 'There's going to be trouble if you repeal these things.'"
ICC is reaching out to some of the victims of the atrocities. "We're helping about 40 different families," says King. "We're going to give them $500 each, which is not going to fix their lives, but it's going to help them. These are people who have lost everything. We're also helping the church of Pakistan to put a school into one of the areas which was hardest hit."
King says they're also putting together Christmas boxes for the victims. If you would like information about the boxes, please call ICC.
Christians are being asked to pray for Christians living in Pakistan. Pray that these attacks won't cause them to stop sharing the Gospel. Pray that this latest violence would give them even more boldness to share their faith.
King is also asking Christians to pray that the blasphemy laws would be repealed, even though it may not help Christians. "There are all kinds of persecution that will remain, but that's one legal tool that will be thrown out."