A Christian man was beaten and charged with blasphemy on 5 August, following comments made on his Facebook account about the Islamic celebration of Lailat al Miraj.
The celebration involves eating sacrificial meat. In response, Sohail Masih allegedly posted: “It is not possible that the blood of goats and bulls can wash away sins. The incident of Miraj is based on a lie.” The post came to the attention of a mosque leader, who claimed that “Muslims were extremely hurt” by the comment.
As news of the post spread, a group gathered and began to beat Sohail. Police intervened, taking him to the police station. When the crowds heard that charges had not yet been laid against him, they began to attack the station until the accused was charged with blasphemy.
With the help of police, Sohail’s wife Shunila, and their two young daughters, escaped to another city where they are being protected, since mobs threatened to burn down their house.
Investigations into the incident raise disturbing questions. Those who know Sohail, a salesman at a small shop, say that he cannot write and does not know how to share a post on his phone. It is believed someone may have maliciously shared the picture using his account while he was helping a customer. His wife acknowledges that he has seen the post but has not shared it, nor would he do such a thing.
Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws have been frequently abused, often to attack Christians and sometimes to obtain personal gain in business disputes.
Sources: VOM Australia, CLAAS, Pakistan Christian Post, UCA News
Please remember Sohail in your prayers, along with his wife, young daughters, parents and others who are facing backlash because of this incident.
Pray that the truth will be revealed and justice will ultimately prevail.
Intercede for Pakistan’s governmental and judicial leaders, that they will be willing to make changes to these laws to prevent abuse.
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