Another Christian Couple Martyred in Pakistan

Pakistan (MNN) — Regional police in Pakistan have
arrested at least 44 people in connection with a
pair of brutal vigilante killings on Monday.
Authorities also beefed up security in Christian
neighborhoods in Clarkabad, not far from Lahore,
the capital of Punjab in the central region.
Greg Musselman, a spokesman for the Voice of the
Martyrs Canada, says a young Christian couple fell
afoul of the infamous blasphemy law. “It’s a
draconian law, and it is used against the Christians
often.” He goes on to explain, “They [the couple]
were completely innocent; it was not a case of
blasphemy. It was actually over money. The
Islamic clerics got people all excited and worked
up, and they attacked this couple.”
26-year-old Shahzad Masih and his five months-
pregnant wife, 24-year-old Shama Bibi, were
accused of burning the pages of a Qur’an. Before
long, the couple was surrounded by a mob that
beat them with shovels and tortured the husband
before incinerating their bodies in a kiln at the brick
factory where they worked.

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Pakistan’s constitution guarantees religious
freedom, but part of the penal code stipulates that
any person who defiles the name of the prophet
Muhammad or the Quran may be punished by life
in prison or death. In practice, “This law continues
to be used to attack the Christians. Often, it’s
nothing to do with somebody saying anything
against Mohammed or against the Qu’ran.”
Monday’s murders were so brutal, they got global
attention. Musselman wants to mobilize that
awareness into something more. “The international
community has got to put more pressure on the
Pakistan government…actually coming out and
saying, ‘This is absolutely horrible what’s
happened!’ But this goes on and on and on.”
Islamic cultural pressure is what protects them, he
admits. “We pray that this blasphemy law would be
struck down, but boy, that’s going to be a big
task.”
Churches in Pakistan are frequently vandalized,
and Christians are beaten, raped, abducted, and
murdered with impunity. Christians also face
discrimination in employment and education,
keeping them entrenched in the lower classes,
doing menial labor or working off debt.
VOMC notes that the trouble has been intensifying
over the last five years. In 2009, more than 100
houses of Christians were looted and set on fire in
the city of Gojra. In 2013, thousands of Muslim
fundamentalists attacked Joseph Colony, a
Christian locality in the heart of Lahore. One of the
most infamous cases connected to the blasphemy
law is Asia Bibi, who faces the death sentence for
her conviction on the charges.
Still, Musselman says, there remains a Church
body. “That’s why organizations like Voice of the
Martyrs and Open Doors and others that are
working in the country are committed to giving
them the tools that they need so that they can be
effective in evangelism.” He urges believers to
pray for those who are determined to share the
hope of Christ. “We really need to see the Church
continue to evangelize and not be intimidated by
these kinds of laws, and then also, that they would
have incredible wisdom in how they go about
spreading the Gospel.”
Please also remember to pray for the rest of the
family. World Watch Monitor reports that Masih and
his wife are survived by four children: Solomon (8),
Zeeshan (5), Sonia (4), and Poonam (18 months)

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