“Blasphemers should be put to death”
Pakistan religious political party
Dear Friend …
“Blasphemers should be put to death” announced one political party, called the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), as it campaigns to be elected in the upcoming General Election in Pakistan Wednesday, July 25th, 2018.
It’s a new hardline religious political party, one of many, whose message calls for blasphemers to be put to death while celebrating those who murder the alleged perpetrators.
During this month of election fervor it was no surprise to hear its followers walking through the streets of towns and cities shouting “Labbaik, labbaik, labbaik ya Rasool Allah!” chanting, raising their arms. “We stand, we stand, we stand with you, O Allah’s prophet!”
Waving brightly coloured green flags, they continue, in tune with an election song: “Hang them, hang them!”.
POLITICAL CHAOS COULD LEAD TO FRIGHTENING OUTCOMES
With political chaos taking place in Pakistan no one really knows where this will end. However the TLP is confident it can mobilise a religiously-motivated vote on the basis of its anti-blasphemy and anti-corruption agenda.
Earlier this month TLP’s leader held a press conference where he railed against those who have drawn Prophet Muhammad, which many consider a sin in Islam.
“If they give me the atom bomb, I’ll immediately bomb Holland, before they are able to hold any caricature competitions on the prophet,” he told reporters.
A FOUNDATIONAL UNDERSTANDING
It’s very important to understand this as Christians… that the TLP party, like many Muslims, justify a violent response based on an understanding that if the Prophet Muhammad is dishonoured, a Muslim cannot control their emotions and thus what they do.
“For the TLP party, the Prophet Muhammad is an active agent in the world,” says Arsalan Khan, an academic who studies Islamic revivalist movements. “And there is this idea that if you blaspheme you are, in fact, not just destroying your own personal selves, you are actually destroying the possibility of the active participation of the Prophet Muhammad in the world.”
CHRISTIANS ARE ALARMED
This is alarming for all Christians… yet, these are the very people Jesus died and rose again for. Pray for Pakistan’s election… as every democratically elected government has been removed on charges of corruption and incompetence. Pray for our ministry team and partners… pray for those who recently attended our Standing Strong Apologetic Seminar. Pray that Pakistan would experience a spiritual awakening that reveals Jesus Christ!
MONDAY / Pakistan - YOUNG ADULT APOLOGETIC CONFERENCE
Our AsiaLink Standing Strong Young Adult Apologetic Seminar took place earlier this month, July 13-14 in central Pakistan at a secure location.
Originally planned for May, it had to be delayed due to incredibly hot weather with temperatures approaching 50C. Interestingly, the temperature today in the city where our ministry is based is 47C (116.6F.)
Thankfully the police gave their permission for the Seminar to take place and provided security to make sure there were no terrorists attacks. Earlier this year terrorists were planning an attack in the city. Police became aware of their presence and were able to discover their location, arresting them and confiscating all kinds of weaponry that they were planning on using.
Unbeknownst to us there was a terrorist alert in the city during the same weekend as our Seminar. Thankfully, authorities were able to capture 4 terrorists who were planning an attack on the city confiscating all their weaponry!
Police requested that the sound system be kept as low as possible in order not to provoke those living close to our Seminar location.
Our speaker this year is a former Muslim who began to question her Islamic faith as she grew older. Finally after some time of research she finally decided to become a Christian. Since then God has powerfully used her as an evangelist and apologist challenging Muslims to examine their faith.
As a result God used her last fall when she spoke at our AsiaLink Women’s Empowerment Conference. At that time she met privately with a number of Muslims, from the city where our ministry is based, answering their questions and challenging their preconceived ideas… as a result two Muslim Iman’s came to faith and are now followers of Jesus. They will be attending the conference as well as over 250 young adults… some nominal Christians along with Muslims and those searching for answers.
• Thank God for the safety and protection of all those who attend.
• Continue to pray for those who attended that they will faithfully follow the Lord.
• Pray that our ministry to young adults will continue to expand and grow!
TUESDAY / Pakistan - CHRISTIAN GIRL KIDNAPPED AND FORCED TO MARRY A MUSLIM
A teenage Pakistani Christian from Punjab province has been kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to a 25-year-old Muslim man. A local Muslim women known to Ribqa Masih’s family tricked the teenager into accompanying them on a trip to the city of Sahiwal.
Instead of returning within two hours, as they had claimed they would, they took Ribqa to the town of Depalpur, around 30 miles east, where she was forcibly converted to Islam and compelled to marry a 25-year-old Muslim man.
Pakistani Christian women and girls are extremely vulnerable to kidnapping and forced marriage.
Later, Ribqa’s father spotted his daughter being driven away in a car and tried to stop the vehicle. Two men travelling in the car got out and threatened him with guns. Ribqa’s abduction has been reported to police, but no arrests have been made.
• Pray for Ribqa’s release.
• Ask God to give her courage as she faces an uncertain future.
• Pray for her family that they will be comforted and that the Muslim family who she was forced to marry into will be convicted by God to return her safely to her family!
WEDNESDAY / China - TORTURED CHINESE CHURCH PASTOR FINALLY RELEASED FROM PRISON
The house church pastor and father of two was arrested in 2015 when he attempted to prevent authorities from raiding the church he pastored in Guizhou province, south-west China.
He was initially falsely charged with “obstructing justice”, but was later falsely accused of “divulging state secrets” and forced under torture to agree to an untrue confession.
His interrogators also threatened that his wife and children would “face problems”.
They also said they would make Yang “disappear” and feed his body to pigs. As he was released on June 19th, Yang Hua began singing worship songs.
His wife, Wang, said, “Even though my husband experienced misfortune, his belief remains resolute.”
• Thank God for Yang’s release and pray He will help him adjust to life outside of prison.
• Ask God to guide Yang and his family as to their future.
• Ask the Lord to heal Yang and restore him to full health.
THURSDAY / China - UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP SOUTHERN DALI LOLO
The 21,000 Southern Dali Lolo of Yunnan Province have never heard about God’s great love for them. A part of the Yi minority group, they are called “Enipu,” a derogatory term meaning “water buffalo person,” by outsiders.
The Southern Dali Lolo share an affinity with other Lolo groups in the area, but maintain their separate cultural identity. In order to maintain their cultural distinctiveness, many Southern Dali Lolo have moved further and further into the mountains, removing themselves from Han Chinese influence.
They maintain a strong oral culture, passing on their history by telling stories and their family genealogy by reciting long lists of names.
Superstition plays a major role in the lives of the Southern Dali Lolo. They believe that after a person dies, the soul of that person roams the earth for three years. Magic formulas are used to keep the soul fixed within an effigy that the family creates of wood, hemp or orchid root. The effigy is placed in a box or under the roof of the house. When three years have passed, the family destroys the effigy, exhumes and cremates the body, and places the ashes in an urn.
• Pray that the Southern Dali Lolo people will look past their superstition and seek out the living God who loves them and sent His Son to save them.
• Pray that Christian brothers and sisters within China will reach out to the Southern Dali Lolo with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
• Pray that effective Bible teaching resources will be created in their language so that they can come to know the love of Christ.
FRIDAY / China - GROWING PRESSURE ON CHRISTIANS
Teachers in the east coast city of Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province, recently sent messages to the parents of infants and primary school students, demanding that the parents disclose their religious beliefs.
One Christian said school officials have even come to Christian parents’ homes and workplaces, asking them to renounce their faith and in some cases, employers are pressured into reducing the pay of Christian employees in an effort to dissuade them from attending church.
In one part of China, an online publication warned, “Schools should make clear to students that they should not have any religious beliefs, propagandise religions, or enter churches.” The publication also stated that schools whose students attend church will face hard punishment, because religion is a “foreign invasion.”
• Ask the Lord to give believers in China the faith and courage they need to withstand the pressure from the government.
• Pray the Lord will give believers wise words when they are confronted and questioned by authorities. have changed.
SATURDAY / Myanmar - THOUSANDS FLEE FRESH FIGHTING AGAINST CHRISTIANS
Myanmar’s military has renewed its offensive against the mainly Christian Kachin people in Myanmar (Burma).
The military stepped up its campaign against the Kachin people in April, pounding them with airstrikes and artillery. Troops have displaced thousands and occupied churches, interrogating entire congregations. As well as the thousands displaced, there are fears that many people remain trapped in conflict-stricken areas, near the border with China.
There are reports that soldiers are using rape as a weapon of war and are deliberately targeting camps for the displaced, which is a war crime. They are also said to be planting landmines to make villages uninhabitable.
Christians make up around 9% of the population in Myanmar and have long been targets for religious persecution. Buddhist monks have led violent attacks against churches and church leaders, house churches have been banned and there have been attempts to outlaw religious conversion.
There have also been legal moves to severely restrict Christian activity. The authorities have outlawed Bibles translated into the languages of the indigenous tribes. The military control Myanmar with an iron grip, and there are some who won’t rest until all of Myanmar is Buddhist – at any price.
• Pray for our Kachin brothers and sisters.
• Pray also for the state of Kachin and for Myanmar.