STOP anti-Christian blasphemy laws in Pakistan
Friends, we must not rest until there is peace and security for persecuted Christians in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, anti-blasphemy laws put Christians and other religious minorities at risk. Hundreds of individuals have been falsely accused because of property disputes or personal vengeance.
The following activities are just a few of the “crimes” that Pakistani citizens can be punished for under the umbrella of “blasphemy” laws: touching a Quran or something that has touched the Quran, damaging a Quran or another holy book of Islam, finding fault in the life of Muhammad, drawing a picture to represent Muhammad, expressing or publishing atheistic opinions, praying for Muslims to convert to another religion, reciting Muslim prayers in a language other than Arabic, or being alone with people of the opposite sex who do not belong to their family.
Christians are often falsely accused of participating in these activities, but in and of themselves these laws are unjust constraints on religious freedom.
Pakistan is not the only country with laws against blasphemy, but according to the 2016 Report on Religious Freedom in the World, which was prepared by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), their laws are among the most restrictive in the world.
This has to end. Pakistan's blasphemy laws are incompatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Christians in Pakistan should be free to exercise their religion without fear of unjust persecution.
One prominent blasphemy case in Pakistan is that of Asia Bibi. Bibi has been behind bars in Pakistan since 2010, when she was falsely accused of blasphemy. CitizenGO, and many other Christian organizations, have worked tirelessly to ensure that Bibi does not receive the death penalty. We pray that she will eventually be released.
One of Bibi’s defenders-and a strong public critic of the blasphemy laws-Salmaan Taseer, was already killed for his beliefs and for his defense of Asia Bibi. According to the man who shot him (his own bodyguard), he had to die because he was a blasphemer.
Unfortunately, Asia Bibi and Salmaan Taseer’s stories are two of many.
Anjum Mukhtar, another Christian in Pakistan, proclaims: “There is never peace for Christians in Pakistan.” Mukhtar’s father, 70-year-old Mukhtar Masih, was accused of blasphemy on the 28th of January. The Pakistani police later broke into their house and took his father and the entire family captive. All of them! Even his three children. Now, Anjum calls on the President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, to repeal the blasphemy law.
It is not enough to fight Pakistani authorities on individual cases of blasphemy. Instead, we must fight to have the entire law abolished. The blasphemy law creates a stigma which condems Christians and other religious minorities to live under the permanent threat of death.
By signing this petition, you will be joining us in asking the President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, to repeal this inhumane law.
Amnesty International recently announced that there is overwhelming evidence that Pakistan's blasphemy law is used to attack religious minorities, that the law violates human rights, and that it encourages people to violent revenge against defendants, their families, or their lawyers .
It is urgent that we eradicate these laws to prevent further abuses and deaths.
Since the enactment of these laws in 1987, about 1,450 people have been charged with blasphemy in Pakistan. Since 1990, 60 people have lost their lives outside the courts in connection with blasphemy charges.
We must do something for Asia Bibi... for Salmaan Taseer… for Anjum Mukhtar… and for all the victims of blasphemy laws who have suffered unimaginable horror for years.
The lives of Christians in Pakistan hang on a very thin thread. We must encourage the Government of Pakistan to resist the internal pressures of violence and stand for the human rights of all Pakistani citizens.
There will be no peace for Christians in Pakistan until the law against blasphemy is abolished.