01/06/2022 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – In an online discussion, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed corruption and sex crimes as the key contributors to the decline of the Muslim world. While this may very well be the case, the reality remains that much of the Muslim world is significantly less free than the rest of the world. Religious freedom, among many other human rights, is significantly under threat in the Muslim world, particularly in Prime Minister Khan’s Pakistan that hosts one the world’s most notorious blasphemy laws targeting religious minorities.
Punishments for breaking the nation’s blasphemy laws can go as far as life in prison or the death penalty. Thankfully, no one has been executed under the law, but many victims of this law are currently serving long sentences, many of which are sitting on death row.
The blasphemy law is by-and-large abused by the Muslim majority community to suppress religious minorities and silence non-Muslims from speaking out against them. Christians are afraid to speak about their faith for fear of being falsely accused of blasphemy due to the severe misuse of the law.
While corruption, sex crimes, and other issues are plaguing Muslim majority countries like Pakistan, the lack of general protections for human rights and religious freedom are the most pressing. The shrinking of religious freedom has had adverse effects throughout society for religious minorities. Religious minorities face limitations in political, economic, and professional lives. Pakistan goes as far as reserving the country’s least desirable jobs for non-Muslims – a policy which shows the countries discriminatory nature of “only dirty jobs for dirty people.”
“The feeling of being a second-class citizen is prevalent for Pakistan’s Christians,” said Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy for International Christian Concern. “It is extremely demoralizing for Christians in the workplace when your advancement is not celebrated by many Muslim colleagues, and instead you are likely to be threatened with blasphemy if you dare to take a promotion overseeing Muslims. The fear is real, and the Pakistani government is failing its people every single day. It is a society that holds the blessings of life to Muslims and does not support Christian or other religious minority advancement. Even top levels of political leadership are reserved for Muslims only – it is blatant bigotry and hatred.”
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