Posted by: Titus Presler | March 2, 2011

Assassination of minorities minister in Pakistan prompts concern for Christians and others

Today’s assassination of Pakistan’s minister of minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, heightens global concern for the fair treatment of religious minorities in Muslim-majority Pakistan.  Coming so soon after the Jan. 4 assassination of the Punjab governor, Salman Taseer, who, like Bhatti but as a Muslim, spoke against how the nation’s anti-blasphemy law was being implemented, this event is bound to make Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan concerned for their safety and their future.

Several observations around this event:

– Bhatti was a Christian and was highly regarded by Christians and other minorities.  Significantly, he was the only Christian member of Pakistan’s governmental cabinet.  Moreover he was Roman Catholic, prompting a Vatican protest.

– The unmodified term “minority” in Pakistan refers specifically to religious minorities in the Islamic republic, not to ethnic or racial minority status as it tends to in the secular West.  This is a sign of just how central religious identity is regarded in Pakistan.

– The Ministry of Minorities website encourages us in the view that, as many commentators have noted, there is a large middle ground of public opinion in Pakistan that abhors fundamentalism, intolerance and terrorist acts of all kinds.  For instance, an interfaith consultation in Islamabad last July 12 published a declaration that, in addition to issuing all the important and predictable condemnations of extremism, “demands that the subject of Interfaith Harmony be made part of curriculum at appropriate levels.”  Clearly the educational system is crucial to providing the kind of education and personal formation that prevents the growth of religious extremism.

Meanwhile we pray for the religious minorities of Pakistan, with particular concern for the Christians, who are currently in the spotlight.



  1. Taliban killers of Christian Minister Violate Prophet Muhammad’s [pbuh] written Everlasting Promise with Christians: In 628 AD, a delegation from St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai came to Prophet Muhammed [peace be upon him] and requested his protection. Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] responded by granting them a charter of rights. This is everlasting charter, granting unprecedented protection, tolerance and freedom to Christians living among Muslims. The Muslims respect the precedent of their Prophet [peace be upon him], and violation of the written charter/commandment of Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] is blasphemy.

    Mr.Shahbaz Bhatti, the Minister for Minorities, has been gunned down by extremist Taliban, who are killing Muslims worshiping in mosques. They spare no one. Anyone who disagrees with their view they feel free to kill. They follow their own desires. The Muslims of Pakistan and all over the world condemn this heinous crime as they condemn the killing of innocent human beings anywhere in the world.

    Such killing is strictly forbidden by Qur’an: “Therefore We ordained for the Children of Israel that he who slays a soul unless it be (in punishment) for murder or for spreading mischief on earth shall be as if he had slain all mankind; and he who saves a life shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. And indeed again and again did Our Messengers come to them with clear directives; yet many of them continued to commit excesses on earth.” (Qur’an;5:32)

    – Prophet Muhammad’s Everlasting Promise to Christians النبي محمد وعد الآخرة للمسيحيين
    – Tolerance in Islam, by Pickethal
    – Minorities in Islamic State: this handbook highlights the rights of minorities
    – Blasphemy law and conviction in Pakistan: The Facts and Fiction …

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