Pakistan’s blasphemy law is used to harass believers.

By April 28, 2004

Pakistan (MNN)–It’s being wielded with the effectiveness of a club.

Pakistan’s ‘Blasphemy Law’ means the merest threat of accusation can put the alleged blasphemer into jail, from which he must defend himself against the charges.

Documented frequency of this state began in 1986, but a more recent case renewed fervor. Four years ago, a vendor accused two Christians of blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed. The brothers were sentenced to 35 years in jail, but their verdict was overturned last April. Today, although they are free, they remain in hiding.

They are among a growing number of Pakistanis, both Christian and Muslim, whose lives have been thrown into turmoil because of false allegations of blasphemy.

According to news reports, before 1986, there were only 14 blasphemy cases registered. Since then, over 100 stand accused.

For the Christian community, that’s had a ‘chilling effect’ on public expressions of faith. However, Evangelist Sammy Tippit says people are starving for the truth, pointing to the launch of a Gospel program in the area. “Our broadcast has had tremendous response. We’ve had literally thousands of phone calls, emails, letters, faxes, that have come in from Pakistan and the rest of the region.”
Pakistan’s Christian community claims to be some four million strong in a country of 150 million. Tippit says the church continues to grow, despite obvious persecution. “My initial response to what is happening is that no matter how hard any group would try to stop people from coming to Christ, they can’t do it because God’s spirit is at work, and the church is standing strong.”

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