Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Friday 23 March 2012
Lent Prayer - Pakistan
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Pakistan
Amber, a 12-year-old Christian girl, was kidnapped by two armed Muslim men in Lahore who held her hostage for eight months. Her captors raped her, tricked her into marriage and tried, without success, to compel her to convert to Islam. In September 2011, Amber was able to escape. When her parents tried to register the crime with the police, they were told that, as Amber had married and converted to Islam, she should go back to her husband. An estimated 700 Pakistani Christian girls are kidnapped annually and forcibly married to their Muslim captors. As with Amber, the government does little to protect them, and few perpetrators are brought to justice.
|Barnabas Fund supports
the Christian school in Pakistan
that this Christian girl attends
This lawlessness is part of a larger picture of social and legal discrimination against the 5 million-strong Christian minority in Pakistan. As a result, most can get only menial and low-paid jobs, living in poverty and despised by their Muslim neighbours. Discrimination also happened during the distribution of aid after the catastrophic floods of 2010 and 2011, when Christians were sometimes left out. Sharia has a significant place in public life.
Those who stand up for the rights of Christians do so at the risk their lives. On 16 November 2011 Jameel Sawan, a preacher and champion of minority rights, was gunned down in Karachi. He had previously received death threats, and the attackers are suspected to be Islamists.
Religious extremism and violence against non-Muslims are growing in Pakistan, often fuelled by the notorious “blasphemy laws”. In September 2011 a Christian girl accidentally misspelled a word in class, which was interpreted by her teacher as a deliberate insult to Muhammad. After hearing about the incident, enraged Muslims demanded her expulsion from school. Her family were forced to move away to another area because of threats.
Barnabas Fund projects include:
- Christian lawyers helping abused Christians (Ref. 41-645)
- Support for Pakistani full-time Christian workers (Ref. 41-432)
- Primary schools for deprived Christian children (Ref. 41-948)
- Sponsorship for Christian flood victims (Ref. 41-919)
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2012” -.