A Pakistani lower court acquitted a Christian of blasphemy after a three-year trial – for lack of evidence against him.
Normally blasphemy cases are passed along to higher courts. However, on 19 January, a lower court judge accepted the application for acquittal, though allowing the complainants to re-open the case in the future.
While rejoicing over this ruling, Pervaiz Masih is still considered a blasphemer, leaving his life at risk from vigilantes.
Masih was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad during a dispute with a Muslim businessman. Since then, he and his family have suffered greatly. The accused man’s wife Zareena was severely beaten under interrogation by police, leaving her unable to walk or stand properly. Since she was physically unable to properly watch their young daughter, the couple’s three-year-old child wandered away and was later found drowned. The exact cause of the tragic drowning remains a mystery.
Sources: World Watch Monitor, The Voice Society
- Commit to the Lord Masih and his wife. Pray God’s healing and protection may be upon them as they consider their future.
- May God’s comforting presence sustain the couple as they come to terms with this difficult trial and continue to grieve over the loss of their daughter.
- Intercede on behalf of the Pakistani government, that they will abandon their blasphemy laws, allowing freedom of religion for all their citizens.
If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate
A pastor was one of at least 27 people who lost their lives following fresh attacks carried out by Fulani militants on five predominantly Christian communities in north-east Nigeria. Many of them drowned as they attempted to escape via the local river.
Various sources confirmed that the attacks took place between 13 to 16 September, and affected the villages of Gon, Bolki, Ndumusu, Yotti and Yanga, in Numan local government area (LGA), Adamawa state.
This is the same area where 3,000 homes were destroyed in December 2017, after fighter jets sent by the Nigerian Air Force were alleged to have fired rockets at villages where Fulani herdsmen were attacking Christian residents, according to a February report by Amnesty International.
A local pastor, who wanted to remain anonymous for security reasons, said 27 people had been buried following the latest attacks, which targeted communities along the Benue River. He added that, on hearing sounds of guns, many were scared and fled into the bush, or drowned attempting to escape via the river as they could not swim. He said that ten people are still missing, four from Yanga and six from Bolki.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Pray for the community as they come to terms with this great loss. Pray they will not give in to despair but look to the Lord as their comfort and strength.
- Ask the Lord to restore those who are missing and heal those suffering from injury.
- Pray for the perpetrators of violence. Ask God to have mercy on them; remove the hatred from their hearts and place a new Spirit in them (Ezekiel 36:26).