Steadfast Global, 22nd December 2023
Please pray for a group of Christians in this region who have been detained along with many of their family members after a sensitive video was shared on social media. In protests that followed, furious Muslims called for the death of Christians and the burning of their homes. For security reasons, we have been asked not to share details of the location of this incident.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has published an update: Assessing Blasphemy in Pakistan. The report notes that according to “advocacy groups, more than 2,100 people have been accused of blasphemy in Pakistan since 1987, with 40 currently on death row and at least 89 killed by mobs for blasphemy accusations”. We welcome this continued focus on the misuse of blasphemy laws and echo the USCIRF call for the Government of Pakistan to repeal the legislation.
We have yet to hear if the hearing scheduled for last Tuesday, 19 December, in the case against Christian healthcare worker Rhoda Jatau, went ahead as scheduled. We understand there may have been a delay that will now push the hearing into 2024.
Rhoda, from northern Nigeria, is approaching her 500th day in prison where she awaits the continuation of her trial for alleged blasphemy. She was arrested on May 20, 2022, after allegedly forwarding a video condemning the mob lynching of Deborah Samuel, a Christian student from Sokoto, a few days earlier. Court hearings in her case are repeatedly postponed.