Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Post 54--Victims of Muslim Intolerance


The stories of Zafar Bhatti, Aasia Bibi, Mashal Khan

Zafar Bhatt
Zafar Bhatti, a Pakistanti Christian accused of sending blasphemous text messages about Muhammad 
from a mobile phone, was given a life sentence on May 3. There 
is a mandatory death sentence in Pakistani law for “defiling the name” of Muhammad, but the judge in this case awarded the life-term in prison instead, because there was no concrete evidence against Zafar. For example, the phone used to send the messages was not registered in his name. Pray for Zafar, who has been in prison since 2012, that he will not lose hope. Pray also for the courageous Zafar Bhatti is a Pakistani Christian accused of sending blasphemous text messages about Muhammad from a mobile phone, was given a life sentence on May 3. There Christian legal team representing him, asking the Lord to protect them and grant them favour as they take his case to a higher court.

So, given a life-sentence, even when there was no concrete evidence as admitted by the judge.  What kind of justice is that?  And why should the lawyers need our prayers?  Are they not doing what they are supposed to?  The issue, of course, is that ordinary Pakistani might attack and kill them because they are defending an alleged Christian “blasphemer!” 

And then there is Aasia Bibi. She has been in a Pakistani prison for eight years. She was a Christian fruit picker, who was falsely accused of blasphemy by her Muslim co-workers after a quarrel djuing whey they rebuked her fron drinking water from the same cup that Muslims used and she said, “I believe I n my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?”  She was sentenced to death in 2010 and has been appealing against it ever since. Her case has now reached the Supreme Court, the scheduled hearings keep being postponed. In April 2017 her legal request for an “early hearing” by the Supreme Court was rejected. Pray that God will intervene for her and grant her justice and freedom.

This story has been circulating around the world for years. People have prayed and prayed as well as written numerous letters on her behalf, but nothing is moving. If anything is moving, it is in the wrong direction.

Imran Khan, a prominent Pakistani Muslim politician in Pakistan, pledged he would make sure no one misuses the blasphemy law again. In April 2017, a 23-year-old Ahmadiyya student by the name of Mashal Khan was lynched because he allegedly had committed blasphemy. Imran Khan defended him and said that he was “framed and murdered.”  Like Christians in Pakistan, Ahmadiyyas are persecuted and easily accused of blasphemy. Previous politicians who have taken a stance against the blasphemy law have been threatened or assassinated. Pray that all minorities become safe from malicious false accusations.  

In reaction to Mashal’s murder, a Pakistani Mufti called Haneed Qureshi said that Aasia Bib should be hanged immediately, for that would prevent any further mob violence. He said it was because of the repeated delays in implementing Aasia Bib’s death sentence that “people have lost faith in the state, due to the carelessness of the institutions and their criminal silence.”  In other words, if the state delays executing blasphemners, Muslim mobs can hardly be blamed for taking on the job themselves. 

After such shocking stories, does anything more need to be said?  Where are the Canadian and American Pakistanis to defend these victims of intolerance?  Their silence leads to suspicions of approval. Instead, we find Muslims complain about discrimination and prejudice against them and their pure religion.  Muslims, don’t you get it?  Why do people mistrust you?