09/14/2022 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Recently, a local court denied bail to a 57-year-old Christian, Anwar Masih, imprisoned in Pakistan on blasphemy charges. Police in Pakistan initially arrested Masih in June 2020 for allegedly blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad. Yet again, however, Masih’s case is an example of Muslims weaponizing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws against Christians.
Masih’s wife and his daughter, who married a Muslim man in 2017, both converted to Islam away from Christianity. This understandably created tension between Masih’s wife and daughter and the rest of Masih’s family, who remained devoutly Christian.
Masih’s wife enlisted local police to mediate between the two religious sides of the family, but when the police became involved, they chose to launch a legal assault against Masih rather than ameliorate the dispute. As one of Masih’s sons reported to AsiaNews, the Christian members of the family have received death threats and have been forced into hiding. The authorities, however, wholly ignored the persecution against them and focused solely on pressing the blasphemy case against Masih.
Despite the injustice of the situation, Masih’s son asserted that he and his Christian family members remain committed to their faith in God, even to death. Human rights advocates and organizations also remain resolute, opposed to the Pakistani authorities’ abuse of the nation’s blasphemy laws. Organizations like Voice for Justice have criticized Pakistan’s justice system numerous times, highlighting the biased treatment of religious minorities by the dominant Muslim majority.
Masih’s case is far from the only instance of Christian persecution via these blasphemy laws. Fortunately, however, there have been some positive developments for these persecuted Christians in 2022. According to the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic bishops of Pakistan, six Christians accused of blasphemy have been granted bail this year. We pray that these small but significant triumphs may herald future systemic change and true justice for Pakistan’s Christians.