Two Christian nurses in Pakistan have been formally accused of committing blasphemy against Islam. The Christians were accused by a Muslim co-worker of desecrating wall hangings that contained Koranic verses.
On 9 April, Mariyum Lal and Newsh Arooj, two Christian nurses working at Civil Hospital in Faisalabad, were falsely accused of committing blasphemy. Local sources report that Lal and Arooj had been directed by a senior, Rukhsana, to remove old wall hangings and stickers from the psychiatric ward.
Sources: International Christian Concern, Times of India, Morning Star News
Rukhsana, who reportedly holds a grudge against Lal, provoked other Muslim staffers at Civil Hospital by claiming Lal desecrated wall hangings that contained Koranic verses. In response, a Muslim staffer at the hospital’s pharmacy, named Waqas, attacked Lal with a knife as she was attending a patient in the hospital’s medical ward.
Lal received several injuries to her arm but survived the attack.
The false blasphemy allegation against the nurses soon spread to the broader community and a mob of enraged Muslims staged a protest outside of Civil Hospital. Members of the mob demanded Lal be arrested and hanged for committing blasphemy.
Police registered a First Information Report (FIR # 347/21) in connection with the blasphemy allegation. According to the FIR, Mariyum Lal and Newsh Arooj are both accused of violating Pakistan’s blasphemy laws under Section 295-B.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests.
Let us pray.
- Intercede for the protection of these two women. Pray the details of the case will be fairly heard and examined – without prejudice or agenda – and that they will be released.
- Ask the Lord to comfort, strengthen and provide for Lal and Arooj and their loved ones.
- Pray this most recent of many cases will further strengthen the arguments to change these blasphemy laws which are open to misuse.