Date: September 21, 2023
International (MNN) — A new report says more and more countries are adopting blasphemy laws and damaging international human rights.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) updated its Blasphemy Legislation Factsheet last week. It shows 95 countries now impose fines, imprisonment, or even the death sentence to punish religious blasphemy – up from 84 in 2020. That’s a 13% increase in three years.
Bruce Allen with FMI says their ministry often sees how blasphemy laws are used to promote state-sanctioned targeting of minority Christians.
“Christians are targeted for blasphemy accusations even when they have not perpetrated any blasphemy. But because these laws exist in the book, they’ll use it indiscriminately even when there’s no evidence of blasphemy.”
Allen adds, “Another point that the fact sheet makes is that blasphemy laws encourage individuals and non-state actors to seek retribution against alleged blasphemers.
“Many times, the person who is accused of blasphemy doesn’t even stand a chance to have their day in court. They’re killed in the street outside their home the day [or] the day after the blasphemy charge is even leveled. It’s a vigilante mob violence mentality.”
FMI saw this most recently in the case of a 6-year-old Christian boy in Pakistan who was violently attacked by his Muslim teacher and hospitalized for alleged blasphemy.
Please pray for blasphemy laws to be repealed and for oppressors to have their eyes opened to Jesus Christ.
Allen says, “We want to keep this beleaguered, oppressed Christian community in prayer. Lift them up and say, ‘Lord, may they be walking in the power of your Spirit to follow your instructions because we can’t do that left to our own devices.’”
Learn more at FMI’s website about how the ministry is supporting persecuted minority Christians.
Header photo of architecture in Turkiye, one of the 95 countries with blasphemy laws on the books. (Photo courtesy of Ali Arif Soydas/Unsplash