Monday, January 3, 2011

Pakistan's blasphemy law will change 'over our dead bodies,' say Muslim cleric

Protesters held a 24-hour strike in Pakistan on Friday against amendments to the country's blasphemy law, reports Mission Network News and BBC News.

The strike resulted in the transportation shut down of two cities, Karachi and Quetta, and a partial shutdown of Islamabad. Demonstrators blocked traffic, and bus owners were reportedly nervous that their vehicles would be set on fire if they tried to drive them.

Currently, the blasphemy law mandates that any person to insult Islam must be put to death. Although no one has ever been executed under the law, over 30 people convicted have been murdered by mobs. Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, was sentenced to death on November 8, 2010, under the blasphemy law and is currently awaiting an appeals court hearing, which the High Court has yet to set.

Muslim clerics went ahead with the strike despite the claim of the religious affairs minister on Thursday that Pakistan "has no intention to repeal the blasphemy law."

You can read the full report here.

Pray that believers would be kept safe amidst the conflict. Pray that the blasphemy law would indeed be repealed, and that if it is, Christians would be protected, as one Sunni cleric warned that any changes to the blasphemy law would happen "over our dead bodies."

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