Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy law invites persecution of Christians


Somewhere on a street in Nishtar Colony, someone dropped a Qur’an. But first, they scribbled the name “Babu Shehbaz” on one of the pages. Writing in a Qur’an is forbidden, as is tossing it out in the street. So, without any evidence other than his name on a page, authorities arrested Pastor Babu Shehbaz for blaspheming Muhammad by desecrating the holy book of Islam. He is now in prison, awaiting trial.

But who found the Qur’an and “reported” Pastor Babu? That would be a Muslim known as Haji Nadeem. A “haji” is a person who has completed the expensive and exacting pilgrimage to Mecca during certain specific holy days. In poor areas, “hajis” are rare, and are usually afforded extra honor.

So in effect, it is the word of a revered Muslim versus the word of an infidel.

Salman Taseer, right, Governor of Pakistani Punjab Province, listens to Asia Bibi, left, at a prison in Sheikhupura near Lahore, Pakistan in 2010. Governor Taseer was shot dead Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 after publicly speaking out against Pakistan’s blasphemy law. [Photo: AP]

Pastor Babu’s situation highlights the way Christians are targeted by Muslims under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Out of 199 million people living in Pakistan, only around 4 million identify as Christian. Their poverty and suffering are intense and they are in need of our persisting prayers.

Also, in the first week of January, a group of 110 imams gathered on a main street in Lahore to celebrate the assassination of Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab murdered six years ago for trying to defend a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, from accusations of blasphemy.

Shaan Taseer, the son of the murdered governor, has just been accused of blasphemy himself for asking people, via a Christmas Facebook post, to pray for Asia Bibi and other victims of the blasphemy law. Christians are not the only target; whoever speaks up for a Christian becomes an enemy as well.

“I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” — Matthew 16:18

Pray —

Pakistani Muslims shout slogans during a protest in Lahore against the execution of the convicted killer Mumtaz Qadri who murdered Governor Taseer. (Photo: Reuters)

2/1 – Pray for Babu Shehbaz to endure faithfully during his time awaiting trial and for him to be cleared of the false charges against him.

2/2 – Pray for Muslims in Pakistan, like Haji Nadeem, to encounter the glorious truth about Jesus and be convicted of sin leading to repentance and saving faith.

2/3 – Pray for the Christian minority living in Pakistan to remain solid in reliance on the Word for daily guidance.

2/4 – Ask God to remind suffering Christians in Pakistan that Christ clothes them in His unmatched righteousness.

2/5 – Pray that Pakistani Christians will cultivate an attentiveness to the spiritual realm, rather than the earthly, and set their minds on their eternal inheritance in Christ.

2/6 – Pray for the Spirit’s filling and guidance of Pakistani believers.

2/7– Pray for God’s merciful reminders to Pakistani Christians that their suffering produces eternal rewards — and that the genuineness of their faith will be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7)

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