During the presentation of a report on religious freedom produced by a papal charitable foundation, Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian who spent eight years on death row on blasphemy charges, appealed to her country’s government to put an end to this discriminatory law.
Over the past week, the houses of 450 Catholic families were destroyed in Pakistan, and those of 1,000 Christians will be bulldozed by government officials in upcoming days. The country’s Supreme Court ruled that the homes are on state-owned lands, and their presence makes the cities of Hyderabad and Karachi more flood-prone, since they block the path of rainwater to the sea.
As the United Nations and various international organizations observe Dec. 10 as the annual day to declare the dignity and human rights of all persons, Pakistan’s religious minorities planned demonstrations against increased abductions and forced conversions and marriages of their women and girls by Muslims.
Shakeel Rafael’s brother is currently sitting in a jail cell in Pakistan awaiting trial on blasphemy charges. Nadeem Samson has been behind bars for three years and his family has asked the State Department to put pressure on the government of Pakistan to release him.