by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Two hundred Christian families were recently driven out of their homes in Karachi, Pakistan, after a Muslim couple instigated a mob against four women whom they claimed had desecrated a Koran.
International Christian Concern noted that the couple had previously been asked to leave their apartment by their Christian landlord after stirring up strife against believers in the community.
"Samina Riaz borrowed a copy of the Qu'ran from Khalid Khan, a nearby shopkeeper," and descrated it herself, according to Aslam Masih, a local witness. Riaz subsequently used the tampered evidence to rile the mob against local Christians.
Pakistan's famous "blasphemy law" received international attention recently with the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman who was held in solitary confinement for almost a decade after allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
Prohibiting both defilement of the Qu'ran and insult to the Prophet's honor under penalty of death or life imprisonment, the law is often used as a "means for personal revenge," according to Cecil Shane Chaudhry, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakistan.
"When charges are brought against Christians, the entire community suffers the consequences," said Chaudhry.
Though Pakistan's constitution nominally respects the right to religious freedom in the spirit of its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, a 2018 U.S. State Department analysis ranked the predominantly Muslim country with China and Saudi Arabia in the top three of its list for worst religious persecutors.
It is estimated that Pakistan's "blasphemy law" has resulted in the extrajudicial murders of over 60 people and that 200 other Pakistani Christians besides Asia Bibi have suffered under blasphemy charges, which often destroy the lives of the accused even when they do not result in capital punishment.
Pakistan ranks number 5 in Open Doors U.S.A.'s 2019 World Watch List and has the highest possible rating for violence against believers.