As for Pakistan’s blasphemy law—which calls for the death penalty—here are a few stories from the last few months:
• A Muslim mob doused a man with gasoline and literally burned him alive for “blaspheming” the Koran (graphic picture here).
• A 26-year-old Christian woman was arrested after neighbors accused her of “uttering remarks against Muhammad.” A few days prior, some of her relatives who converted to Islam had pressured her to do likewise: “She refused, telling them that she was satisfied with Christianity and did not want to convert.” She was arrested of blasphemy soon thereafter.
• A female Christian teacher was targeted by Muslims due to allegations that she burned a Koran. A mob stormed her school in an attempt to abduct her, but police took her into custody.
• A Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy” for rescuing his 8-year-old nephew from a beating at the hands of Muslim boys who sought to force the boy to convert to Islam. Later, “a Muslim mob of about 55 led by the village prayer leader besieged the Christian’s house,” and insisted that “the blasphemer” be turned over to them.
• A banned Islamic group attempted to burn down a Christian village after accusing a 25-year-old mentally retarded Christian man of “blasphemy.”
• A 20-year-old Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy” after Muslims accused him of burning a Koran soon after a billiard game. The Muslims kept taunting and threatening him, to which the Christian “dared them to do whatever they wanted and walked away.” Days later came the accusation and arrest, which caused Muslim riots, creating “panic among Christians” who “left their houses anticipating violence.”
In the last two decades, over 50 people have been murdered in Pakistan for blasphemy. Even the recent assassination of the nation’s only cabinet-level Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, was in retaliation for his being an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws.
In light of all the above, why were Pastor Nadarkhani and Masih, the Christian girl—whose fates were sealed—released? Because unlike the many nameless and faceless Christians persecuted for blasphemy and apostasy in Pakistan and Iran, not to mention the rest of the Islamic world, the mainstream media actually reported the stories of these two in the West, prompting much public outrage, international condemnations, and the threat of diplomatic actions and/or sanctions.
For example, Canada just cut relations with Iran, citing, among other reasons the fact that Iran is “one of the world’s worst violators of human rights.” It was the very next day that Pastor Nadarkhani was “coincidentally” released, even as the Iranian regime, playing the victim, accused Canada of being “racist.”
In short, these two particular Christians were simply too much of a liability to punish as Sharia law demands—the same Sharia, incidentally, that teaches Muslims to be lax and tolerant when in their interest. While it is good that Western outrage and condemnation was fundamentally responsible for the release of Nadarkhani and Masih, the West must learn that these two Christians merely represent the tip of the iceberg of Christian persecution in Muslim countries.
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