“In 2010, 29 Christians were killed and 4 were sentenced for blasphemy. At least 58 Christians were kidnapped and at least 100 were physically harmed. During the devastating floods of August 2010, Christians experienced discrimination from local authorities and Muslims in the distribution of aid. In November 2010, a Christian woman was sentenced to death for blasphemy.” —Open Doors Philippines
“Pakistan’s human rights situation deteriorated significantly in 2011 as the military, which operates with impunity, seized near-total control of foreign and security policy as the civilian government looked on helplessly. Religious minorities faced unprecedented insecurity and persecution. Freedom of belief and expression came under severe threat as the government failed to provide protection to those threatened by extremists or hold them accountable. Security deteriorated as militant and sectarian groups carried out suicide bombings and targeted killings across the country. A dramatic increase in killings across the southwestern province of Balochistan was recorded as were at least 800 politically motivated killings in the southern city of Karachi.” —Human Rights Watch
“Sept. 21, a mob of several thousand radical Muslims attacked St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Mardan City, Pakistan. The attackers, armed with rifles and kerosene, overwhelmed security guards and broke into the church. They destroyed Bibles and prayer books, desecrated the altar and set fire to the church building and several surrounding homes and buildings….The attack on the 82-year-old church lasted for five hours. The church staff was able to flee, but those who lived on the campus lost everything. An adjoining high school, a Christian library, a computer laboratory, the bishop’s house, the bishop’s office, a pastor’s house and the school principal’s house were all burned. The mob also burned a car, three motorcycles and three bicycles. More than 2,000 Bibles, 100 New Testaments and several hundred Christian books and DVDs were destroyed.” —Voice of the Martyrs Newsroom
Although Pakistan is not an Islamic theocracy, but an Islamic republic, violence against religious minorities has persisted and even increased in recent years. Over the past decade, many Christians have been killed for their faith. But they are not the only ones suffering.
Today, I want to add to our prayer list other religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus and Shi’ite Muslims (the majority is Sunni Muslims), who are persecuted for their faith. We need to stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, but we should also pray for the love of Christ to be revealed to other peoples of faith who are suffering for their beliefs. No one has the right to tell another what they are allowed to think and believe.
Today, please pray for all martyrs of all faiths. Pray that the Christian martyrs response to their persecution would be a light to those of other beliefs who are suffering, that the Christians would react with joy in Christ and love for their persecutors so that the hearts of their observers would be changed by a desire for the same peace.