Into the Fiery Furnace: Christian Couple in Pakistan Burned for Blasphemy

by Morgan Lee  |  published on November 7, 2014

In the most provocative incident since Pakistan’s highest court ruled this summer that blasphemy law abuses should be reigned in, a Christian couple were beaten and burned to death on Tuesday following accusations that the wife—five months pregnant—had burned the Qur’an.

Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi were bonded laborers (seen by many as a modern form of slavery) at a brick-making kiln who lived in a small Punjab town named for the first Anglican missionary to Pakistan. After a mob threw them into the same kiln, protests erupted in the provincial capital, Lahore, and the nation’s capital, Islamabad.

Both World Watch Monitor (WWM) and Morning Star News (MSN) report the details of the attack, which drew attention from The New York Times, Reuters, NBC, and other media.

The Muslim nation’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, quickly condemned the mob action as “an unacceptable crime.” He authorized the government of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province and home to most of its blasphemy cases, to prosecute the couple’s killers.

“A responsible state cannot tolerate mob rule and public lynching with impunity,” stated Sharif, according to The Express Tribune. “The Pakistani state has to act proactively to protect its minorities from violence and injustice. We must promote religious and ethnic diversity in our society as a virtue.”