Updates on the persecuted Church – 3 January 2024

3 January 2024

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Christians in Mauritania arrested for apostasy from Islam are released by authorities; Pakistani Christian widow acquitted of “blasphemy”

  • Christians in Mauritania are thankful for answered prayer after believers arrested for apostasy from Islam and proselytism were released by 18 December 2023. At least 15 believers were arrested after a video of a baptism ceremony held in November was posted on social media and led to protests calling for their killings. Mauritania is almost 100% Muslim and is one of the few countries in the world where apostasy is punishable by death in line with sharia, although no known executions for leaving Islam have occurred in recent years. Praise God for the Christians’ release. Ask for protection for the small but growing number of Christian converts in Mauritania and pray for the repeal of laws that make both blasphemy and apostasy from Islam mandatory capital offences.
  • Musarrat Bibi, a Christian widow, along with Mohammad Sarmad, a Muslim man, have been acquitted of “blasphemy” charges relating to their work at the Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School in the Pakpattan District of Punjab, Pakistan. They were asked to clear a storeroom and discarded and burnt some wastepaper. As both employees are illiterate, they did not know what was written on the papers. On 19 April 2023 they were arrested and charged with “blasphemy” for desecrating the Quran, which their accusers said they had been burning pages from. On 8 December the judge at the district Court of Additional Sessions dismissed the charges. Give thanks for this significant ruling proving the innocence of Musarrat and her colleague. Pray that they will be protected from any backlash from extremists and will be able to resume their employment unhindered.

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