Pakistan: why blasphemy charges are often rooted in ignorance

By March 26, 2024

Pakistan (MNN) — At least 600 prisoners are facing capital punishment in Pakistan right now because they’ve been accused of blasphemy.

“You can blame anybody and accuse anybody in Pakistan of blasphemy. It has become a norm, not only with Christians but Muslims as well,” FMI’s Nehemiah says.

“It’s very easy because you don’t need any evidence.”

(Photo courtesy of FMI)

You don’t even have to be accurate in your accusation to level blasphemy charges at someone. For example, a mob called for a woman’s life a few weeks ago because they thought her clothing was blasphemous.

“The word in Arabic on her shirt was ‘halwa.’ This Arabic word means ‘sweet’ or ‘nice,’” Nehemiah explains.

A 30-second conversation could have clarified the crowd’s confusion. Instead, the mob called for her death. “Muslim people in Pakistan do not understand the difference between Arabic and Urdu because the script is the same, but the dialogue is different,” Nehemiah says.

“Because they do not understand, they think everything written in Arabic is [from the] Quran, which is untrue.”

The Quran is written and read in Arabic, but Urdu is the heart language of most Pakistanis.

“The irony in Pakistan is that the literacy rate is very minimal. Fanatic people [will] attack anybody, but they don’t have the basic understanding even of their own religion,” Nehemiah says.

For example, “a few months ago, more than 30 churches were burned down in one day based on blasphemy. There was no proof that any Christian committed blasphemy.”

Pray the Church in Pakistan will continue to flourish and grow despite persecution. Support church planters in Pakistan through FMI here.



Header and story images courtesy of FMI.

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