Thursday, December 2, 2010

VOM speaks with Mission Network News about Christians murdered in Pakistan

VOM’s Greg Musselman recently spoke with Mission Network News about the murders of five Christians in one week because of Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

Here’s the MNN story:

Five Christians murdered in a week under Pakistan's blasphemy law

Pakistan (MNN) ― Muslim extremists are blamed for the murders of five Christians in Pakistan in less than a week.

Greg Musselman, spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says 22-year-old Latif Masih was shot to death shortly after he was granted bail in a "blasphemy" case. He was accused in early November under Law 295c -- the infamous "Blasphemy Law" in which the two militants claimed he burnt pages of the Qur'an.
 
On November 18, Masih's accusers caught up with him and shot him to death near his home in Godhpur,  village 111 kilometers (69 miles) northeast of Lahore. Days earlier, on November 12 in southern Punjab Province, police say Lashkar-e-Taiba militants killed four family members because of their Christian faith.

There are concerns that the violence against Christians will continue. The marked increase in these cases has created a renewed call by human rights watchdog groups for an end to the blasphemy law. The support couldn't come at a better time. Musselman says, "Christians are always under this kind of law. In recent days, it's received international attention because of some of the other cases that are happening. The international community is saying, ‘This is ridiculous. You can't have these kinds of laws.' There's a lot of pressure that I believe will be put on Pakistan."

This part of the criminal code has come under fire for its vague writing and broad interpretation. Under it, Musselman notes, "We've seen many cases where Christians are really under this law in the sense that it can be used against them. These Muslims often use it for convenience to take over businesses or these kinds of things."

It seems this is what actually motivated Latif's murder, rather than fervent faith issues. Musselman says, "It appears that he was actually killed because he had a motorbike shop that these guys wanted to take over."

A Compass Direct News investigation supports this idea, citing an interview with Latif's brother, Junaid Masih, who claimed Latif's killers were associates of a Muslim man who had filed the blasphemy charge.

Human motives aside, Law 295c is a dangerous weapon in Pakistan's criminal code. Musselman explains that "he blasphemy law, for the most part, is used to intimidate Christians from evangelizing. They need to know that we're praying for them [and] encouraging them."

Pray for the families of the murder victims. "The Bible tells us that if one part of the body suffers, we all suffer, so we should be concerned about that," says Musselman.

Pray that Christ's Body in Pakistan will continue to be a bold testimony of His love and grace. Ask God to help Christians in Pakistan to respond in a Christ-like manner to injustice and oppression.

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