The Catholic Herald carries a story about the increasingly perilous position of Christians in Pakistan, where Christians and the Church are coming under increasing attack by people describing themselves as Moslems.
The situation is not helped by Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which impose a death sentence on offences against Islam and are being exploited by zealots as part of a widespread attempt to eradicate Christianity in the country (the leftists in the media often point out that these are a product of the colonial era, but fail to point out that blasphemy only became a capital offence under the Zia regime).
Cases are rarely conducted to standards that would be seen as reasonable or fair in other legal systems (for example, a court at first instance convicted a youth of scrawling anti-moslem graffiti despite the fact that the youth was acknowledged to be unable to read or write) and convictions are very rarely upheld on appeal. However, individuals in custody and appearing in court have proven to be sitting targets for the zealots and, as with today’s incident, Christians accused of blasphemy are routinely murdered long before the law can take its course.
As happened during the Danish cartoon saga, and the furore following the Holy Father’s Regensburg address, many of the allegations against Catholics are either outright fabrications or cruel distortions disseminated by extremists with an Islamist agenda.
Pakistan just happens to be today’s news: throughout the Moslem world Catholics are under intense pressure, with the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East facing extinction in this generation.
What can we, as individuals, do about this terrible situation?
Our first action should be prayer, please remember the Catholics in Pakistan and the Middle East in your prayers, especially your prayers before the Our Lord in the sacrament; our second should be to contribute to organisations like Aid to the Church in Need or Iraqi Christians In Need.
And a final thought. Perhaps we as laity should be encouraging the leaders of the Church in our lands to give up on pointless “dialogue” with Islam and get on with the essential work of bringing the Faith to the non-Christian migrants that live among us.