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Five Christian families in rural Pakistan have gone into hiding after death threats were made against an 18-year-old because of his alleged blasphemy against Islam.

Sonu Arshad, who lives in the remote village of Sukheki, 200km north of Lahore, belongs to one of the families ─ the only Christians in the village.

The families fled on 3 November, after a Facebook page purporting to be that of a local TV channel posted a photograph of the teenager and asked locals to “burn his church and give him the death penalty.”

There were rumours that a mob formed following the local Muslim community’s Friday prayers, but the chief of police in the nearby city of Daska said the situation was now “under control” and that a police case had been filed against the unidentified people who created the fake Facebook page.

“There is no evidence that Arshad committed any crime,” Tahir Hussain said. “This is a fake campaign and the case has been forwarded to the Federal Investigation Agency to identify those who made this fake Facebook page.”

Local Christian councillor Naseer Ghulam said he had “no knowledge where the family has gone.”

“No-one knows the reason for accusing [Arshad] through this smear campaign,” he added.

Pakistan has the most stringent blasphemy laws in the world, which have been used disproportionately against religious minorities — Pakistani Christians make up only 1.5% of the total population, but over a quarter (187) of the 702 blasphemy cases registered between 1990 and 2014 were against Christians.

Pakistan’s Federal Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony said last week the country’s controversial blasphemy law “cannot be revoked,” while the government has set up a regulatory body to monitor “blasphemous” content online.

Source: World Watch Monitor

  • Pray to the Lord on behalf of Sonu Arshad and his family. Ask for protection, wisdom, direction and provision.
  • Pray this case will be taken seriously by the Federal Investigation Agency. Pray more will be done
    to protect religious minorities against false accusations.
  • Pray this case will once again highlight the need to change the blasphemy laws in Pakistan

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