Noor Alam (1998) - Undeterred by Threats
I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny… you cast them down to ruin. Psalm 73:3, 16-18
Noor Alam, the pastor of a church in the village of Sheikhupura, Pakistan, was murdered the month after his church building was burnt to the ground by a mob.
Pastor Noor had received death threats after openly declaring his decision to rebuild the destroyed church; he was warned that he had only a month to change his mind, but he refused to back down. Late at night on 28 January 1998, Pastor Noor was attacked at his home in front of his wife and daughter by three men who stabbed him four times before fleeing the scene. He died shortly afterwards in hospital and was buried the following day.
The congregation had bought the land to build the church nearly three years previously, and had begun building work the following year despite threats. The mob attacked the building just as it was ready to be roofed in December 1997. The assailants reportedly said that they had held off to the last moment to discourage the Christians and cause the greatest waste of their money. Members of 25 Christian families from the village received death threats following the destruction of their church and the murder of their pastor.
O most glorious and exalted Lord,
you are glorified in the heights above by ministers of fire and spirit in most holy fashion,
yet in your love
you wished to be glorified by mankind on earth as well, so that you might exalt our mortal race
and make us like supernal beings and brothers in your dominion.
Free us, Lord, in your compassion
from whatever cares hinder the worship of you,
and teach us to seek the kingdom and its righteousness
in accordance with your holy commandments that bring life;
and may we become worthy of that kingdom
along with all the saints who have done your will,
and may we sing your praises.
Maronite Shehimto, from the Syrian Orthodox Daily Office Book
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
For Other Heroes of Faith articles - Paul the Apostle (C.67)