Contending for the Faith

Pakistan Christian’s death ‘not due to natural causes’

BBC News reports: “A Christian convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan has died in mysterious circumstances in a jail in the southern city of Karachi.

Qamar David was serving a life sentence in Karachi’s central jail for insulting the Koran and the Prophet Muhammad.

Officials say he died of a heart attack but his family say that as a fit and healthy man, this is unlikely be true.

Pakistan’s penal code prescribes punishments up to death for blasphemy against Islam and the Prophet.

The law has elicited strong criticism – although recently liberals are more nervous about speaking out against it.

That appears to be especially the case since the murder of Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti – a Christian – earlier this month, an event preceded by the murder of another liberal, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in January.

David was convicted of making blasphemous comments against the Koran and the Prophet in a text message to a business rival.

‘My client was in perfect condition the last time I met him,’ Qamar David’s lawyer Pervez Chaudhry told the BBC.

‘I have spoken to the family and we don’t believe he died a natural death.

‘He had been receiving threats against his life.

‘I had submitted an application in this regard in court – my client had also mentioned that prison officials were involved.’…” (The ‘Blasphemy Law’ practiced in Pakistan is being promoted for the world at the UN. Our President backs it and Hillary Clinton opposes it. If it’s passed, anyone who speaks a word against Mohammed of the Koran could be imprisoned or executed. This is what happened to the Christian in this story – Jude 1:3; I Timothy 6:12. Christians are hated and killed in many Muslim nations. See also the next two reports.)

10 Christians Killed in Clashes with Muslims in Cairo

Israel National News reports: “Ten people were killed Tuesday in a clashes between Muslims and Christian Copts in Cairo and at least 110 others were wounded, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry.

The two groups clashed in the areas of Moqattam, the Citadel and Sayeda Aisha, according to Sherif Zamel, head of emergency services.

Coptic spokesmen told news media at least six Christians were shot dead and 45 others were wounded. They placed the cause of the clash on a feud between two families, Muslim and Coptic, that resulted last week in the burning of a Coptic church in Helwan province.

The feud started when a Christian man fell in love with a Muslim woman in the town of Sol.

The Coptic Shahedain (Two Martyrs) church in the town was burned down on Friday, the Muslim Sabbath, after clashes that left two people dead.

‘Problems escalated in the village when a group of Muslims headed to the burned-out church and conducted a mass Islamic prayer there,’ Maged Ibrahim, a local Christian, explained in an interview broadcast on Egyptian state television.

The destruction was followed by a mass demonstration in Moqattam as at least 1,000 Coptic Christians this week took to the streets in protest.

Muslims opened fire on the demonstrators, according to Samann Ibrahim, a priest quoted by AFP. He also said that Muslims firebombed local houses and workplaces and hurled rocks at the protesters from both sides of the street. Soldiers at the scene just added to the chaos, firing into the air to try and bring the crowd under control…”

Pakistan Christians bury murdered leader Shahbaz Bhatti

BBC News reports: “Thousands of Pakistani mourners have attended the funeral of murdered minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti.

Mr Bhatti, a Christian, was shot dead on Wednesday by the Taliban after he urged reform to blasphemy laws.

There were emotional scenes as several thousand Christians buried their leader in his home village near Faisalabad.

Earlier, hundreds turned out for a church service in the capital. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told them his colleague had been ‘very rare’.

Wednesday’s assassination in Islamabad was the second this year of a Pakistani politician who wanted to reform the controversial blasphemy laws.

In January, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who had also opposed the law, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards in the capital.

The blasphemy law carries a death sentence for anyone who insults Islam. Critics say it has been used to persecute minority faiths.

Observers say Mr Bhatti’s killing leaves Pakistan’s Christians without their most prominent voice and threatens to silence debate on the blasphemy law. The government is accused of giving in to religious hardliners…”