Two separate accusations of “blasphemy” within two weeks of each other have been levelled at Christians in the same district in Pakistan.
A Christian woman and a Muslim man were arrested and charged with “blasphemy” in the Pakpattan District of Punjab, on 19 April. Musarrat Bibi and her colleague, Mohammad Sarmad, were asked to clear a store room at the school where they both worked.
They gathered waste paper that had been discarded in the store room and burnt it. As both Musarrat and Mohammad are illiterate, they did not realise that some of the pages contained Arabic verses from the Quran.
School pupils and residents in the district raised the alarm and informed the police. Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws stipulate life imprisonment for desecration of the Quran.
Less than two weeks later in the same district, a Christian wedding photographer and the Muslim couple who hired him were accused of “blasphemy”.
Khurram Yousaf, 40, was asked to take photos of the newlywed couple at the Shrine of Baba Fariduddin, a Muslim site, on 30 April, but he and the couple were accused of desecrating the site by a member of the shrine’s management who reported the incident to the police. Khurram is now in hiding.
Give thanks that Musarrat and Mohammad did not suffer mob violence, which is often stirred up in such cases. Ask that the Judge of all the earth will effect a just outcome for both workers (Genesis 18:25). Pray for Khurram and the Muslim couple, that they and their families will not face any mob violence and that the authorities will not be persuaded to pursue the accusations against them. Pray especially for our sister Musarrat and brother Khurram, as Christians and other religious minorities are particularly vulnerable to accusations of “blasphemy”.