Standing up to the blasphemy law in Pakistan

God bless Shahbaz Bhatti, “Pakistan’s leading Catholic politician,” who has said he won’t stop speaking out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, even after receiving death threats:

Bhatti, Minister for Minorities and the first Christian to hold a cabinet post in Pakistan, has received multiple death threats. He said during a trip to Canada: “I have been told by pro-Taliban religious extremists that if I will continue to speak against the blasphemy law, I will be beheaded.” But he said his faith gave him strength.

“As a Christian, I believe Jesus is my strength. He has given me a power and wisdom and motivation to serve suffering humanity. I follow the principles of my conscience, and I am ready to die and sacrifice my life for the principles I believe,” he said.

Mr Bhatti spoke in Ottawa while on a trip to raise awareness for his campaign to reform the country’s notoriously strict blasphemy laws, which most recently were used against Asia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced to death for “insulting” Islam.

These aren’t idle threats, either: The governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by one of his bodyguards not long ago for taking up the same fight. His killer was unrepentant and even celebrated as a hero by many in Pakistan. May Bhatti be protected while he fights the good fight, along with all those Christians who suffer for their faith.

Margaret Cabaniss

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Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at SlowMama.com.

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