Pakistani Christians had to flee their homes when a local pastor in Lahore, Pakistan made a Christian Facebook post that was considered blasphemous to local Muslims. It is unknown what the contents of the post actually were, but what is known is it sparked national outrage and was deemed "blasphemous" by the Pakistani government before being censored and taken down.
According to International Christian Concern's Will Spark, "[The post] could say something as benign as ‘Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior; He is the final prophet.’ Even if he said something like ‘Jesus is God,’ it could be considered blasphemous. The whiff of him being a blasphemer is enough to be a black mark on his life for the rest of his life."
The Pakistani Christian community there had to flee due to death threats over the Christmas period, but they returned this week and the Pakistani government is looking into the charges, according to The Christian Post.
Stark, however, is worried the Pakistani government will label the Facebook post blasphemy, which will help strengthen Islamic fringe groups and further threaten the lives of the Christians in the region.
As Spark notes, "It would probably turn up the heat again on the situation. If the government or the police force says ‘Yes, this is blasphemy,' it’s going to give credibility to the fringe voices. Blasphemy accusations in Pakistan have a tendency to ignite very emotional outrage."
But even if most Islamists do not outrightly support attacking those who break the "blasphemy" laws, they do support the laws in general. This causes repression on religious expression and ensures a culture of Islam no matter the actual population's demographic. Christians particularly have been hurt most by "blasphemy.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Muhammad Owais Khan
John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.