Praise and Prayer

Pray: A Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy against Islam has been sentenced to two life sentences, under a law the United States has unsuccessfully urged the nation's leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to repeal. Aslam Masih was arrested in 1998 and charged in Faisalabad under Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Critics say the law is deplorable and is easily exploited by any Muslim with a grudge against a Christian or member of another religious minority. "Virtually no evidence above the word of a Muslim accuser is needed to bring a guilty verdict against a non-Muslim defendant," the Barnabas Fund in Britain has noted. Aslam Masih almost never made it to trial. Accused of defiling a Koran, he was severely beaten and stabbed by an angry mob before being hauled to a police station where the blasphemy case was opened more than three years ago.