Barnabas Fund. A Christian man has been burned to death in front of a police station in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, for refusing to convert to Islam. Rashid Masih received burns to 80% of his body and was hospitalised but tragically lost his fight for life. Hundreds of people attended his funeral on 24 March. Rashid had been employed as a driver for a prominent local businessman since 2005; his wife worked as a maid for the same employer. The couple lived with their children (aged 4 to 12) in the servant quarters where they worked. In January, the businessman and religious leaders requested that Rashid and his family convert to Islam. When Rashid refused and offered to resign from his job, he was reportedly threatened with “dire consequences”. Tensions rose after the employer filed charges for theft of 500,000 Pakistani rupees (£4,000; US$6,000; €4,500) against the couple; sources say that the businessman had offered to drop the case if the family converted to Islam “or else they both would not see their children again”.
Rashid and his wife stood firm in their faith and suffered grievously as a result. On 19 March, they were taken to the police station for questioning; his wife was raped by police officers and he alleged that he was burned by Muslim extremists and members of the police. Their children were forced to watch the attacks. An investigation has been launched into the attack, but the employer denies any wrongdoing, claiming that he never tried to force the couple to convert to Islam. Sources say that he is expected to meet with police to discuss possible compensation for the mother and children who, at the time of writing, are homeless, having been expelled from their quarters. • Pray for the family of Rashid Masih, as they struggle to come to terms with the sudden and appalling death of a husband and father. Pray that they will find strength and comfort in the Lord Jesus at this time. • Pray that Rashid’s wife may be healed from her physical injuries and emotional trauma, that the family will receive compensation from her former employer, and that they will be able to start rebuilding their lives.