Naimat Ahmer (1992) - A Fanatic Strikes
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. Philippians 1:27-28 (NRSV)
Naimat was a Christian teacher in Pakistan whose Muslim colleagues wanted him dismissed. They asked him what he thought of Muhammad, and he replied that as a Christian he believed that Jesus was the only way to God and to salvation. The teachers then claimed that he had insulted Muhammad, an offence that carried a mandatory death sentence under an amendment to Pakistan’s controversial “blasphemy laws” in 1991. Naimat left the school temporarily, but a relative of one of his former colleagues, Farooq Ahmed, sought him out and murdered him with a butcher’s knife. Ahmed said he took the law into his own hands since he considered the authorities did not respond to the claims of blasphemy against Naimat.
Many Christians accused of blasphemy in Pakistan have been killed by Muslim vigilantes intent on defending the honour of their prophet. The blasphemy laws are often used to settle personal scores, with Christians and other non-Muslims particularly vulnerable to malicious, false accusations. Naimat was 45 when he was martyred, leaving a wife and five children.
Eternal Light, shine into our hearts,
Eternal Goodness, deliver us from evil,
Eternal Power, be our support,
Eternal Wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance,
Eternal Pity, have mercy on us;
That with all our heart and mind and strength
We may seek thy face and be brought by
Your infinite mercy to your holy presence;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life
Originally appeared on Isaac Publishing