Two Christians murdered after accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan
August 11, 2010
(christiansunite.com) - Rev. Rashid Emmanuel (32) and his younger brother, Sajid Emmanuel (30), were shot and killed on July 19 after they were accused of blaspheming the prophet Muhammad. The two men, leaders of United Ministries Pakistan, were being returned to jail under police custody when they were attacked and shot by several masked men. Sajid was instantly killed, while Rashid later died from his injuries. The bodies of the two reportedly bore cuts and other signs of being tortured while in police custody.
Rashid was arrested for blasphemy on July 1 at a train station, where he went to meet with a stranger who had requested to see him. When Rashid arrived he was surrounded by police, who showed him copies of a three-page document that insulted Muhammad and was supposedly signed by Rashid and Sajid. Police arrested Sajid three days later. On July 14, handwriting experts notified police that the signatures on the blasphemous document did not match the brothers' writing. Sources believe the brothers were likely to be exonerated of the charges.
When news of the murder reached the brothers' neighbourhood of Dawood Nagar, Faisalabad, Christians gathered to protest. Police fired teargas cannons at the protestors, who in turn threw stones. The situation quickly became volatile, with indiscriminate shooting occurring between Christians and Muslims. At last report, a curfew had been initiated in the area.
In the days before the murder, Muslims organized large demonstrations calling for the death penalty for the brothers. Islamic extremists reportedly led the protests, which were attended by hundreds of Muslims. A church building was damaged and believers hid in their homes or fled the area. Announcements were also broadcasted from mosque loudspeakers, calling on Muslims to "burn the houses of Christians." (Source: Compass Direct)
Pray for all those mourning the loss of Rashid and Sajid. Pray that those who perpetrated this attack will repent and come to know the Lord. Pray that, even in the midst of such injustice, Christians will respond with grace and love. Pray for lasting peace between Muslims and Christians in Pakistan. Post a prayer for those who are grieving for Rashid and Sajid; visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at www.persecution.net/prayerwall.
To learn more about persecution in Pakistan, please visit www.persecution.net/pakistan.htm.