Thursday's tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan who returned to her country two months ago, is a staggering loss. Worldwide, Christians who are passionate about reaching Muslims should mourn her murder.
My own heart is heavy, as a great woman and honest friend has been taken away. I knew Benazir personally, having debated her at the Oxford Union a few years ago. The day after the debate, she invited me to a private tea in her London home, where we talked about our similar backgrounds. We were both the same age and had grown up in Christian boarding schools: she in Pakistan, and I across the border in India.
Though a secular Muslim, she praised her Christian schooling, saying it had made her into the woman she was. She saw the advantages that good Christian schooling could bring to her country and so was eager to create an environment in Pakistan where Jews, Christians, and Muslims could worship and thrive together without fear.
I remember her as a humble and winsome spirit. In fact, I found it hard to accept her as a heavyweight in Pakistani politics. She seemed to be an open and positive individual who so wanted the freedoms she saw and enjoyed in the West for her own country.
In our debate at the Union, which questioned whether Islam was relevant for the 21st century, she presented herself as an example of modern-day Islam, stipulating that if she was relevant to the West, then so was Islam. Little did she realize that her lifestyle had less to do with Islam than with the freedoms she had so easily adopted while living in the West, brought about by a Judeo-Christian environment.
Perhaps that was her undoing. Having spent so much time enjoying the freedoms and liberties of London life, ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more