Current News 

Pakistani Christians being raped and killed

A Pakistani believer who is a member of Christians Together website has reported serious trouble in his country, with Christians being accused under the countries blasphemy laws relating to the Islamic faith. Please pray for him (the Lord knows his name) and all the other believers in the country.

See following report and also 'Urgent Prayer Alert' (following report).

report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide
pakistanProtests took place yesterday in Lahore and Karachi in Pakistan in the wake of the shooting of two Christians accused of blasphemy, Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel.

Hundreds of Christians and other minorities and human rights organisations took to the streets to call for justice for Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel, and for Christian nurse Magdaline Ashraf, who was raped by a Muslim doctor and thrown out of a hospital window. They also called for the repeal of the controversial blasphemy law.

The rallies were coordinated by the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA). Father Emmanuel, the National Director of the Justice and Peace Commission was in attendance, along with Father Abid Habib, Chair of the Justice and Peace Commission in Multan. Long-term human rights activist and APMA Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry led the protest in Lahore and spoke out strongly against the the killing of Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel. He also criticized the death threats against the Minister for Minorities Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, whose firm stance against the blasphemy laws led to a direct and public threat against his life being made by an extremist Muslim cleric in Sindh.

Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel were shot while in police custody outside court in Faisalabad on 19 July. A police official was also wounded in the incident. They had been accused of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed but initial investigations had already revealed that the accusations were fabricated. The Minister for Minorities Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, held a press conference on 20 July at which he spoke out strongly against the misuse of the blasphemy laws at the root of the incident.

There has been civil unrest in the affected areas of Faisalabad both in connection with the accusations and the murders. The President of Pakistan and Chief Justice of Lahore have made statements on the case and police officials have been charged with negligence.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide's (CSW's) National Director Stuart Windsor said, "The killing of Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel should not have happened and the scale of the reaction to it reflects this. The blasphemy laws are contributing to a dangerous long-term shift in social norms which makes it acceptable to fabricate blasphemy allegations against another person despite the severe, life threatening implications of such actions. We call upon the government of Pakistan to take action against those misusing the laws as well as those threatening Minister Bhatti."

Urgent prayer alert:
Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities Affairs, receives violent threats

Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, is under violent threats from an extremist Islamic organisation.

In a media statement last week, an extremist organisation issued a direct warning at Mr Bhatti that he will be ‘beheaded’ if he insists on the repeal of the blasphemy laws and demanded that Mr Bhatti be ousted from the Federal Cabinet and National Assembly.

The threats came following a hard-hitting press conference held by Mr Bhatti in response to the murder of two Christian brothers, Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel, falsely accused of blasphemy. Mr Bhatti made strong calls for the repeal of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which are often misused to target Christians and other religious minorities.

As yet, the government hasn’t responded to these threats, but contacts on the ground are adamant that behaviour of this kind should not be tolerated by the state and await a firm response.

Those of you who attended the CSW London Conference in 2009 will remember hearing Mr Bhatti’s moving speech in which he spoke openly about the risks he faces speaking up for religious minorities in Pakistan. You will also remember his passionate plea for us to take one minute every day to pray for him. In light of these latest threats, please uphold him in your individual and church prayers.

Please pray:
For God’s protection, strength and comfort for Mr Bhatti in the face of violent threats.

That the threats made by this organisation will come to nothing and that God will turn the hearts of those involved who seek to do harm.

That the government would intervene to support Mr Bhatti, denouncing the threats made against him and providing greater security measures for Mr Bhatti.

For the family of the two Christian brothers who were murdered and all those who are speaking up on their behalf.

Thank you for all you do to support those persecuted for their faith.


Pakistan Christian government minister is accused of committing blasphemy
Muslim cleric demands removal of Shahbaz Bhatti from the Cabinet
By Dan Wooding

Allama Ahmed Mian Hammadi, a Pakistani Muslim cleric, has claimed that Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities has himself committed blasphemy by branding the recently murdered Christian brothers as victims of Pakistan blasphemy laws.

Bhatti had spoken out about the murder on Monday, June 19, 2010, of Rashid Emmanuel, 30, and his brother Sajid, 27, by unidentified masked gunmen inside a courthouse in Faisalabad. The brothers had been accused of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad earlier this month, a charge they had both denied

According to Mr. Hammadi’s statement, published in Daily Jasarat, a Pakistani Urdu daily newspaper, the Muslim cleric said that Muslims cannot tolerate blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad.

“It is not a cruelty to kill blasphemers, rather blasphemy itself is such an enormous brutality that the one who commits it neither has got a right to live in this world nor is there any pardon for the blasphemer,” Daily Jasarat quoted Mr. Hammadi as saying.

“Muslims won’t tolerate even a slightest blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad. If Shahbaz Bhatti committed blasphemy he would be beheaded.”

He maintained: “A Muslim loves [the] Prophet Muhammad more than anyone else.”

The newspaper quoted Mr. Hammadi as saying that the incident of killing of the Christian brothers due to non implementation of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

According to the newspaper, the Muslim cleric criticized Mr. Bhatti for stating that the law had been abused vis-à-vis the case of the Christian brothers.

“No law has been implemented in this case. Court implements the law not people,” Daily Jasarat quoted Mr. Hammadi as saying. “Christian brothers were killed after Muslims became angry.”

Mr. Hammadi, according to Jasarat, also demanded the arrest of Christian rioters who he said threw stones at the houses of Muslims after the murder of the Christian brothers in Faisalabad on Monday, July 19, 2010.

Khuram/Christian Solidarity Worldwide, 27/07/2010

Editor 28/07/2010 10:10
The signs are not good for Pakistani Christians. The Western forces (mainly US/UK) are fighting an unwinnable war (just as the Russians did in the 1980s).
Pakistan is maintaining a bi-partite policy - ostensibly fighting against the Taliban but supporting them behind the scenes; knowing that they will have to work with them when the allied forces withdraw.

In the context of recently-leaked documents concerning the war in Afghanistan - dubbed 'Wikileaks', a report from Stratfor observes:

"The United States is fighting to deny al Qaeda a base in Afghanistan while Pakistan is fighting to secure its western frontier and its internal stability. These are very different ends that have very different levels of urgency.

The WikiLeaks portray a war in which the United States has a vastly insufficient force on the ground that is fighting a capable and dedicated enemy who isn’t going anywhere. The Taliban know that they win just by not being defeated, and they know that they won’t be defeated. The Americans are leaving, meaning the Taliban need only wait and prepare.

The Pakistanis also know that the Americans are leaving and that the Taliban or a coalition including the Taliban will be in charge of Afghanistan when the Americans leave. They will make certain that they maintain good relations with the Taliban."

When the Western forces withdraw, Pakistan will be able to overtly and formally establish a (presently covert) working relationship with the Taliban.

In this context, the future for non-Islamic faiths in Pakistan does not look promising.

Leo Rose (Guest) 12/08/2010 17:29
Our hearts are breaking for these who are suffering so greatly for Jesus' namesake. I'm certain the Lord is even more heartbroken. We continue to pray for all those in Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, North Korea, Sudan, Nigeria, the Middle East, and many other places around the world where saints of God are being persecuted for the Gospel's sake.
Editor 13/08/2010 16:29

As President Asif Ali Zardari faces criticism for visiting Britain while a natural disaster ravages Pakistan, a hundred protestors have been demonstrating serious concerns over increasing pressure on minorities in Pakistan by staging a London rally.

Multi-faith campaigners led by the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) and supported by the South Asian Forum of the Evangelical Alliance paraded London’s streets on Saturday calling for the repeal of Pakistan’s Blasphemy laws. Petitions were submitted at the Pakistan High Commission and Downing Street, while representatives from Hindu, Sikh and Christian human rights groups joined former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir Ali, the former Christian Peoples Alliance Councillor Alan Craig and MEP Jean Lambert, in speaking out against injustices in Pakistan.

The multi-faith peace rally follows recent threats of violence towards Christians in Pakistan and the tragic anniversary of a massacre in Pakistani's Punjab province.

Press Release from the Evangelical Alliance: 05/08/10

Robin Thomson from South Asian Forum said: “The peace march was a clear statement of our concern for the peace and security of all the people of Pakistan, as we joined with others of different faiths. At the same time it was clearly in the name of Jesus, as we knelt on the pavement to pray the Lord’s Prayer in Piccadilly and Whitehall.”

Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association said: “Following the protest we continue to raise a voice for religious minorities in Pakistan. A group of Pakistani Christians, protested outside the hotel where Pakistan’s President has been staying on Tuesday. We urged the Government for the repeal of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law, allowing for the protection of individuals of all faiths.”

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