Pakistan (MNN) — Television reports in Pakistan say an arrest has been made in the murder of two Christians, 30-year-old Rashid Emmanuel and his 27-year-old brother, Sajid. The murder took place last week following a court hearing that all but cleared the two men of blaspheming the prophet Mohammad.
Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says that report can't be confirmed. "I saw one report of it, but I don't know if it's true at this point. But it will be interesting to see how seriously the Pakistani authorities pursue justice against this….gunman who took out these Christians."
Rashid and Sajid had been accused of distributing pamphlets containing derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad, with their names and phone numbers handwritten on the bottom. Nettleton says, "From what we are told, handwriting experts had looked at the handwriting of the names and phone numbers at the bottom of these papers, and they said, 'No, that doesn't match the brothers' handwriting.'"
Many believed the charges would be thrown out, but the pair was murdered before that could happen.
Nettleton says Christians didn't sit quietly: they began protesting these blasphemy laws that are used as weapons to take property or settle disputes between Muslims and Christians. "They're saying as long as these blasphemy laws are on the books, we are at risk, because any Muslim can point to us and say, 'Hey, I heard him say something about Mohammad.' [Those accused of blasphemy] are locked up in jail while they wait for the trial to go on, and they lose literally years of their lives."
Nettleton believes this situation is strengthening the faith of believers. However, he's asking Christians to pray. "There's a natural tendency to sort of silence yourself. We need to pray against that. And we need to pray for the Christians there to continue to be bold witnesses for Christ in spite of the fact that they could be put them in the cross-hairs of a blasphemy charge."
That could increase as Ramadan begins August 11. That's a time when Muslims seek god by fasting and praying. Nettleton says, "We need to pray that they will find the true God. That they will have an encounter with Jesus Christ, that they will come to understand the truth of the Gospel, and as they seek–as they fast and pray–that God will approach them and that God will find them during this time of seeking."
VOM is providing Action Paks, Bibles, and theological training for pastors. They also provide vocational training for Christian girls, "so that they don't have to go out and get a job in a Muslim household or a Muslim business where they can be singled out for persecution or harassment."