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Asma Yaqoob - UCA news
Photo: UCA News

A 25-year-old Christian woman has died after a Muslim suitor set her on fire for refusing his marriage proposal. On April 17th, Asma Yaqoob was working as a maid at a home in Sialkot when she heard someone at the front gate. When she went to see who it was, Asma was met by Rizwan Gujjar who doused her in flammable liquid and lit her on fire, resulting in third-degree burns over 90 percent of her body.

The young woman was rushed to a hospital in Lahore, more than 100 kilometres away, but succumbed to her injuries on April 22nd. According to her grief-stricken father, Rizwan had been repeatedly pressuring Asma to marry him. However, to do so would have meant renouncing her faith in Christ and converting to Islam, which she refused to do.

Incidents like this are not uncommon in Pakistan. Often legal proceedings end when poor families are pressured to drop all charges in exchange for money. In this case, however, police have arrested Rizwan and he has confessed to the crime.

Remember Asma's distraught family, as they are now forced to face the grief and pain of what seems an untimely loss of a lovely young woman. Pray that justice will be served and that her attacker, Rizwan Gujjar, will come to realize the enormity of his crime. May this realization bring him to a turning point in his own life, leading to a transformative encounter with the one true Living God who extends forgiveness and salvation to all who surrender to Him.