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ICC Note:

Following the gruesome murder of a Christian couple in Pakistan, Christians in the U.K. are planning to hold a protest outside 10 Downing Street to force the U.K. government to condemn the killing and ask the Pakistani government to take action. The Christian couple was accused of blasphemy before they were murdered earlier this month and many people are now calling on Pakistan to do more to avoid similar events from happening in the future. Please remember to pray for Christians in Pakistan today. 

11/13/2014 Pakistan (Christian Today) – The brutal killing of a Pakistani Christian couple earlier this month has prompted leaders to begin a protest outside 10 Downing Street.

The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) is organizing a rally outside the Prime Minister’s home on 22 November and is urging Christians from across the country to join in.

“We are calling people of good conscience from any faith or no faith to join us and honor the lives of Shahzad and Shama, while calling for Britain to lever change in Pakistan through dialogue and engagement,” Chairman Wilson Chowdhry said.

The protest is being supported by the Evangelical Alliance, which has condemned the killing as “barbaric” and criticized the misuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

“This barbaric act represents the latest in a long line of brutal acts of religious intolerance against Christians in a country which is set to receive more than £400 million in aid from Christian taxpayers in the UK,” said director of advocacy Dr. Dave Landrum in a statement.

“The Evangelical Alliance, which represents two million evangelical Christians in the UK, call on the UK government to unequivocally condemn this execution of an innocent Christian couple and use its influence to persuade Pakistan to bring the full weight of the law against the perpetrators.

“There needs to be an acknowledgement that such barbarous attacks which are no different in seriousness than the barbarous attacks of IS in the name of Islam. The world is watching and waiting for the Pakistani government to act fast and decisively to halt this persecution.”

Christian couple Shama, 24, and her 26-year-old husband Shehzad, were beaten and tortured by a mob for allegedly desecrating the Qur’an on 4 November. They were then burned to death in a brick kiln where they worked while the police stood by and watched.

The couple had three children aged between 18 months and seven years, and Shama is believed to have been pregnant.

In addition to the rally, Manoj Raithatha of the South Asian Forum of the Evangelical Alliance, is encouraging Christians to sign a petition asking the UK government to exert diplomatic pressure on Pakistan.

“We need 100,000 signatures on this petition which calls on the UK and other western governments to condemn and do something tangible to ensure that there can be no business as usual in Pakistan in relation to the murder of Christians under the pretense of its biased blasphemy law,” he said.

“It was shocking and horrifying that policemen stood by and watched the summary execution and did nothing to stop it. Pakistan needs to ensure that the impunity for hate attacks against minorities is stopped! And they can do this by guaranteeing that perpetrators are convicted rather than released after a short period of remand as in previous similar incidents.”

The protest, beginning at 11am on November 22, will begin with a memorial service and will include tributes for Asia Bibi who has been on death row since November 2010. She is charged with making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.

Pakistan is currently eighth on Open Doors’ list of countries in which Christians are most violently persecuted for their faith. According to Open Doors’ World Watch List, “there is a high degree of impunity regarding acts of violence against Christians” in Pakistan, and forced-conversions are not unusual.”

A release from the Evangelical Alliance last week reported that an average of two to three Christian girls are kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriages every day in Pakistan.

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