1 Minute Prayer for Justice in Bhatti's Memory
As you have no doubt seen on the news, Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities Affairs, and close friend of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Shahbaz Bhatti was assassinated this morning.
Shahbaz was shot by a group of unknown gunmen as he left for work this morning. He is believed to have been assassinated because of his long-term stand against Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws which are often misused to target religious minorities. Shahbaz had received numerous death threats over recent months, so it is unclear why police and security forces were unable to protect him.
CSW has worked closely with Shahbaz for over twelve years and is grieved by this morning’s news. But, we are determined to continue Shahbaz’s work for religious freedom in Pakistan and to support, pray and advocate for Pakistan’s religious minorities.
Thank you to all of you who responded to Shahbaz’s request at CSW’s Conference in 2009 to dedicate one minute a day to pray for him. He spoke passionately of his fight for religious freedom in Pakistan, saying, “This position [as Minister] cannot change my determination to pursue justice, because I live for religious freedom and I am ready to die for this cause.” We know that he felt the strength of your prayers and encouragement.
Pakistan’s religious minorities are now in an even more difficult and delicate position and need our prayers more than ever. Now, in his memory, we ask you to take one minute every day over the next few weeks to pray for justice, religious freedom and inter-faith harmony in Pakistan.
You can help honor the memory of Shahbaz Bhatti by asking your MP (Member of Parliament) to sign EDM 1518, condemning the assassination and urging the Pakistani Government to reconsider reviewing the blasphemy laws as a matter of urgency.
In Shahbaz’s own words we encourage you to, “…pledge together that we will work together to promote harmony, tolerance and we will bridge the gap among different faiths and we will strengthen this world with the message of peace and tolerance.”