The Hon. Saxby Chambliss
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Easter Sunday 2003
Dear Senator Chambliss,
I have been in touch with your District Office in Jonesboro, and was referred to you. I am the Grand Prior for all of the Scott
One of our primary goals is to help members of the persecuted church, and it is for this reason that I am contacting you.
I wrote to you on January 25th of this year, but I have not received an answer--I was much disappointed tht I received absolutely no answer at all. I am truly hoping for a positive, compassionate response from you now.
The Rev. Parvez Masih, a Christian pastor, has been imprisoned in the District Jail in Sialkot, Pakistan, for two years without bail or a trial. He was charged with "insulting the Prophet" under Section 295c of Pakistan's "blasphemy laws."
Please understand, Senator Chambliss, that the only penalty for "blasphemy" in Pakistan is death. There are no fines, no prison sentences--just death.
Local Muslim extremist groups have threatened to kill anyone who provides Rev. Masih with legal representation, and they have threatened-and killed-judges who have found in favor of Christians.
I would like for Congressman Scott, who represents me in the 13th District, to contact the Pakistani ambassador to the United States-and President Musharraf himself-and to demand the release of Rev. Masih and the repeal of Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
This is not just a religious issue, it is a human rights issue. Pakistan is in violation of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes freedom of religion as a basic right of all human beings.
The State Department estimates that 55 - 60 Christians a year are hauled into courts in Pakistan because of these blasphemy laws, for which there is no real standard of proof. If a Muslim doesn't like a Christian, all he or she has to do is allege blasphemy on the part of the Christian. In Pakistan's Sharia courts, a Muslim's word carries more weight than a Christian's, or a woman's.
Senator Chambliss, we do not believe that our country should be extending aid to, or forming trade or military partnerships, with countries that persecute Christians-or any other religious or ethnic minority for that matter.
Pakistan is on the verge of war with India and it has many problems with Muslim extremists. Pakistan needs our help more than ever-but we should insist that if we provide Pakistan with help, that it must stop persecuting Christians-especially, it must stop killing Christians in the name of "Allah."
This is a matter of extreme urgency. Rev. Masih has undergone brutal beatings and torture in attempts by his jailers to force his conversion to Islam. Rev. Masih has steadfastly rejected forced conversion attempts and remains faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have heard that Senator Chambliss is a devout Christian. We really need his help now. I hope that he will contact the Pakistani President and Ambassador, and that he will urge his colleagues to do the same. I also pray that he may even sponsor legislation to deny military or economic aid to countries that are killing Christians under the color of "law."
What I am telling you can be verified by Voice of the Martyrs at www.persecution.com, or Christian Solidarity Worldwide at www.csw.com There are other Christian organizations as well that are carrying news of his plight.
I don't know how much longer Rev. Masih can survive under the conditions in which he is being held. We need you to act, and to act quickly. If you will support us, I believe that we can obtain Rev. Masih's freedom. The only thing that works in Pakistan is international pressure, as that country,s blasphemy laws are based on hate and intolerance, not truth and justice.
If you will not support us, then Rev. Masih will undoubtedly die in his squalid cell, or in the prison yard after another beating with rifle butts.
Please contact me immediately and let me know what you are prepared to do.
Please help us to save a life-and a nation.
James R. Reese, KGCTJ
Grand Prior of the United States
Priory of the Holy Angels
Scottish Knights Templar
P.S. I hope that you had a happy Easter. I wish that Rev. Masih could have enjoyed Easter at home with his family!