Date: March 12, 2016
Mumtaz Qadri is regarded by some as a hero in Pakistani culture.
(Picture obtained via Facebook)
To repay last week’s execution of well-known assassin Mumtaz Qadri, a suicide bomber killed more than a dozen people outside of Islamabad. A splinter group belonging to Pakistan’s Taliban soon claimed responsibility for the court bombing.
Reuters credits an e-mailed statement: The court bombing “was especially done as vengeance for the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri.”
In 2011, Punjab governor Salman Taseer called for the reform of Pakistan’s blasphemy law and was subsequently murdered by his then-bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri. Pakistan’s blasphemy law is a source of contention for believers as it’s often used as legal support for persecution.
According to FMI’s Bruce Allen, sectarian tensions have reached a new high in Pakistan.
“There have been demonstrations, riots, fires in the streets, things like that, in major cities across the country,” he says.
How the court bombing impacts Christians
In 2015, residents and re-settled ‘alumni’ of the safe houses had more than 2,000 significant spiritual conversations with people in their communities in which they also distributed Scripture audio CDs (because of low literacy rates, hearing Scripture is in one’s own language is more effective than reading a Bible) and JESUS Film DVDs.
(Photo, caption courtesy FMI)
Christians are caught in the middle of this widespread unrest. An FMI-supported safe house– designed to protect persecuted Christians and Muslim-background believers–was recently raided.
“The persecuted believers that were staying there…were apprehended. They were tortured, including waterboarding of the father of this family,” adds Allen.
Thankfully, *Nehemiah, FMI’s national director, was able to rescue this family of Muslim-background believers (MBBs) and bring them to a safe location unknown to the Pakistani government. However, Nehemiah and his family have become a new target: officials recently brought Nehemiah in for another round of questioning.
“We’re asking Mission Network News listeners to be…praying for our national director and his family. [Nehemiah] now is getting interrogated by authorities.”
- Please pray for Nehemiah’s wisdom in knowing how to best respond to questioning, in order to protect the church planters he leads in the FMI ministry as well as all safe house guests.
- Pray for Nehemiah’s deliverance against the schemes of wicked men (for example, agents from the “Cyber Crime” division will also be on hand during this interrogation, and Nehemiah has been asked to bring his laptop with him).
- Pray for God’s blessing on the family who is now caring for these persecuted and tortured Christians, and for the Lord’s healing of any injuries sustained by the safe house residents during their torture.
- Pray for the funding to establish a new safe house in the Kerith Brook network of safe houses in Pakistan (which FMI supports) to replace the compromised one which police have now sealed off. ($6000 is needed to create a safe house, with monthly costs running about $200 for each safe house.) Cover a share of that expense by contributing to FMI’s Kerith Brook Safe House account.
- Pray that Allen would be an encouragement to FMI-supported church planters as well as the safe house shepherds when he returns to Pakistan in the coming weeks.
Heavy persecution has caused Pakistan to rise a few spots on the Open Doors USA World Watch List. It’s also increased the need for FMI’s safe house ministry.
Members of a family of persecuted Christians watches the JESUS film during their stay at one of the Kerith Brook shelters in Pakistan. This network of safe house is named after the place where the Lord miraculously sheltered and sustained the Old Testament prophet Elijah during a time of crisis.
(Photo, caption courtesy FMI)
“Many of them [persecuted Christians] are fairly new believers. It’s only because they have embraced Christianity…that their families have either poisoned them [or] tried to kill them,” explains Allen.
Along with physical necessities like food, water, and medicine, FMI provides spiritual discipleship for persecuted Christians through their safe house ministry.
“As these ‘victims’ of persecution are getting dimpled, they’re learning about their identity in Christ,” Allen adds.
“They are no longer seeing themselves as victims but as victors, because ‘we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.'”