Christians often get accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, and the story of Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife follows familiar trends.
Bruce Allen of FMI says the couple was accused of, “Sending a text message by phone that insulted the Prophet Muhammad and insulted the Quran. These crimes, if convicted, do demand the death penalty in Pakistan. All that, trial, conviction, and sentencing, has already taken place. The couple’s been in prison now for [almost seven] years. They’ve been appealing, and there’s been delay after delay. The appeal was set to be heard on June 3, Just a few days ago. but again, it got delayed to June 22.”
An imam in Pakistan claims to have gotten this text while in prayers, and an attorney claims to have received similar messages while talking with the imam about the issue. Allen says, “So it really does seem like this whole thing is just a set up against this couple. Whoever was perpetrating it knew who the imam was and who he was talking with, and sent the text messages at the proper time to just inflame and incite people against the couple.”
The police then entered Shafqat’s house, overpowering him quickly (he is paralyzed from the waist down). The family was arrested, and Shafqat was beaten and threatened until he admitted to sending the text messages.
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SOURCE: Mission Network Network, Kevin Zeller
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray that Christians in Pakistan would be spared police brutality and religious persecution.
- Ask God to comfort Shafqat’s children as their parents remain in prison.
- Pray that Shafqat and his wife would be released from prison once their appeal is finally heard.