Last week while American Christians were heading to the polls to participate in the freedom that we enjoy here in the United States, two of our fellow Christian siblings were dying for their faith in Christ.
It seems that the story of Shahzad Masih and his wife Shama are very similar to the stories of other persecuted Christians in the Muslim world. He couple had run afoul of a local Muslim man to whom they owed money, and when this man saw his chance to for payback he took it.
Shahzad’s father recently died and so his wife collected some of his things and burned them before throwing the ashes in the garbage. Shahzad’s employer to whom they owed money charged that he had seen them burning the Koran and unless they paid him the money they owed – he would not let them go.
The news that a Koran had been desecrated (though seemingly false) traveled quickly to the local mosque and a mob soon arrived at the place where the couple ws being held. The mob forced their way into the room, violently beat the Masihs and then burned them alive in the furnace of a kiln.
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The BBC was told by Pakistani security forces that they tried to save the couple “but they were outnumbered and attacked by the angry crowd.”
The director of the Peace Center Lahore, Fr. James Channan, had much to say about this murder and the general persecuation faced by Christians in Pakistan.
“The burning alive of a Christian couple is a test case for our government. Our government must provide protection to all citizens and especially to the poor and downtrodden Christians. I demand from the government and law enforcing agencies of Pakistan that justice must be done and culprits must be punished.”
Fr. Channan lamented that the couple was burned to death “on mere accusation of burning some pages which contained come verses from the Holy Quran. I am 100 percent sure that it was not a deliberate act, if any from Shama. They would have not dared to do so knowing the consequences. It is a false accusation. To burn alive on mere accusation by a mob of fanatic Pakistani Muslims is a barbaric act in the modern age: I condemn it in the strongest words possible. It is worse when fanatics take these laws in their hands and beat or kill on simple accusations,” Fr. Channan said. “It has become a tool to persecute Christians and other minorities. Very often police does not provide protection to the accused due to the angry mob.”
Fr. Channan added that the blasphemy laws have “made Christians vulnerable and insecure. The misuse of these laws is very common. Once a person is accused he or she cannot live in Pakistan, even if the court will set that person free. Therefore it is very important for the government of Pakistan to prevent the misuse these laws and punish those who falsely accuse.”
The priest said there is “a grave need to educate people to live in harmony, respect and not to take such laws in their own hands. Let the courts decide such cases without any pressure. I will be going to visit (Kot Radha Kishan) tomorrow (Wednesday) and will express solidarity with the grieving family and raise voice for speedy trial of those responsible for this barbaric act of murder.”
For their part it does seem like the Pakistani government is attempting to do something about the vicious killing. They’ve arrest 48 people they believe to be part of the attack and have established a committee to “fast track” the investigation. The local government has also added extra security in Christian neighborhoods throughout the province.
However, many similar cases have been judged before and more often than not the guilty parties go free with hardly more than a slap on the wrist. The problem for the Pakistani government is that punishing Muslims for doing something that their religion allows could create an uproar in the mostly Muslim nation. Also, there is a large and powerful “extremist” element within Pakistan and punishing Muslims for hurting Christians (who they believe to be inferior – or sub-human) could drive these “extremist” elements to riot, commit acts of terrorism or worse.
Basically… don’t expect justice to be done here.
We at Eagle Rising weep with our brothers and sisters living under the torment of Islam. While we may enjoy the blessings of liberty afforded to us in the Unites States, many of our siblings are suffering harsh and terrible pain. We hurt with them, we bleed with them and one day we will rejoice with them… because they suffered well for our Lord and Savior.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com