FAISALABAD, Pakistan — Two Christian nurses have been charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy statutes after they followed a supervisor’s orders April 9 to remove old wall hangings and stickers inside Civil Hospital.
Some of the items nurse Mariam Lal and student nurse Navish Arooj, who are both Catholic, were told to remove bore inscriptions from the Koran.
A Muslim employee physically attacked Lal to defend Islam. Further unrest arose the next day, and a mob converged on the hospital. Police charged Lal and Arooj with “defiling the Koran.” The women’s families went into hiding.
On Jan. 28, Tabeeta Gill, a Christian nurse in a Karachi hospital, was accosted by a violent mob; she has been charged with insulting Muhammad, punishable with death.
As of April 11, at least 24 Christians were in prison on blasphemy charges in the predominantly Muslim nation.
Pakistan is on the U.S. State Department’s list of “Countries of Particular Concern” for serious religious freedom violations. Pakistan is No. 5 on Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of places where it is most difficult to be a Christian.