September 1, 2009

It is abhorrent and it is happening with regularity. Christians being murdered in Pakistan simply because of their religious beliefs. As you know, the violence against Christians continues to grow with the latest attacks occuring just weeks ago when at least seven Christians were burned to death in the town of Gojra.

I want to report to you that our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice, (ECLJ) has filed an important petition with the United Nations urging that Pakistan prosecute acts of violence against Christians.

We have expressed in the strongest terms possible that the Pakistani government must prosecute acts of violence based upon religion. The fact is that Christians are being singled out and murdered because of their faith. Only when the Pakistani government effectively prosecutes those responsible for the acts of violence will attacks against Christians end. The 'blasphemy laws' that encourage the Muslim-on-Christian violence violate the principle of the universality of religious freedom, which is proclaimed to be an international human rights standard by Pakistan itself.

The ECLJ filed its petition with the United Nations calling on Pakistan to prosecute deadly attacks on Christians, which have claimed the lives of at least 60 Christians in the past decade in at least 27 separate incidents of Muslim-on-Christian violence.

The ECLJ petition argues that "the Pakistani government must prosecute acts of violence based upon religion. Only when the government effectively prosecutes the perpetrators will such acts of violence against minorities stop."

The ECLJ filing states: "More than two decades of blasphemy laws have taught Pakistani Muslims that the punishment for allegedly insulting Islam is death. The Pakistani government must repeal or procedurally change blasphemy laws."

The petition also asserts: "Because Pakistan has explicitly proclaimed the terms of the (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) UDHR and (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) ICCPR in a resolution to the U.N. that it presented on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, it should, by reciprocity, abide by those terms with respect to its own religious minorities and be required to afford the Christians of Pakistan the same rights it expects the international community to give to Muslims."

You can read the ECLJ petition filed at the U.N. here. You can read a summary of the filing here.

You can view pictures of the deadly violence against Christians in the Pakistani town of Gojra here.

This is an important issue regarding the international rights of Christians to express their faith. It is also an issue that's being tracked by the news media. You can read this comprehensive story on the case from WorldNetDaily. The story is posted here.

We will continue to keep you posted on this and other issues involving Christian persecution abroad.