One Free World International recently had a historic opportunity to present evidence of religious persecution in Iraq, Egypt, and Pakistan to the Canadian Parliament and to encourage the Canadian government to give religious persecution a more important place in Canadian foreign policy. Rev. El Shafie’s tireless work with parliamentarians paid off when OFWI and several of our partners were invited to appear before the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on June 16th, 2008.
Rev. El Shafie warned the Subcommittee that Christians in Iraq are facing a potential genocide. Half ofg face threats and forced conversion, kidnappings, targeted bombings, and death. Rev. El Shafie also shared about persecution and rising anti-semitism in Egypt and provided evidence from his recent mission to Pakistan where Christians face the death penalty under draconian blasphemy laws, rape of their young girls, and forced labour in slave labour camps. The parliamentarians were gripped by an emotional, video-taped interview with the father of Neeha, a four-year-old girl who was raped at the age of two-and-a-half by the son of her father’s employer because her father refused to convert to Islam.
OFWI partner and immigration lawyer Chantal Desloges highlighted the problems faced by Christians attempting to claim refugee status in Canada and recommended ways to improve the refugee process. Firidon Zia, an Iraqi refugee who arrived in Canada weeks before the hearing, testified about his and his family’s experiences. Zia lost his leg and parts of his arm protecting Christian worshippers from a church-bombing in 2006. Only three months later his son was kidnapped and when the family could not pay the ransom, the young man was shot in the back and left for dead. After a police guard in the hospital threatened to kill him and two Muslim doctors refused to treat him, a Christian doctor discovered him and operated in secret. He is now safe in Canada but remains paralyzed. For more about these cases and OFWI’s participation in the hearing, you can read an article published in The Ottawa Citizen on June 17, 2008 by clicking here.
The hearing was recorded on the official parliamentary record and, after two days of testimony, the Subcommittee decided to undertake a study on the treatment of religious minorities in Pakistan and elsewhere and to hear further witnesses on this issue. The Subcommittee is expected to report to Parliament through the Standing Committee and will hopefully recommend changes to Canadian policy in matters of foreign and refugee policy.
OFWI is planning to take advantage of the opportunities created by the attention that this issue has generated in order to travel to the region and confront some of these governments with their violations of human rights and international law. We cannot do this without your help. Join us by praying for fruit from the hearings and for the success of the upcoming mission. At the same time, please prayerfully consider participating in this project by contributing financially to its success.
We have succeeded in gaining the ear of our decision-makers and may never have another such opportunity. Please join us as we speak out on behalf of Neeha and Firidon Zia and his son, as well as thousands of brothers and sisters like them whose voices will not be heard without our help. We must act now.
• that the members of the Subcommittee will recognize the importance of this matter and that they and their colleagues in Parliament, regardless of political viewpoint, would come together to stand behind a Canadian foreign policy that recognizes the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities and actively promotes respect for religious freedom in the international community;
• for Rev. El Shafie and the OFWI team as we make preparations for the upcoming mission and continue to speak out on behalf of the persecuted in these and other countries; and,
• for the persecuted Christians in Iraq, Egypt, and Pakistan, as well as elsewhere, that they would have courage to stand true to the Lord in the midst of attacks and persecution, and that they would find comfort in Him in the face of humiliation and fear.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take a step of faith and join us as financial partners in the upcoming mission by giving sacrificially to ensure its success. The cost of this mission alone will run approximately $20,000 and we cannot do it without your help. You can send your contribution to:
One Free World International 20 Bloor Street East, Box 75129 Toronto, ON M4W 3T3
Or Direct Deposit to:
Bank: Royal Bank of Canada Institution Code: 003 Transit Number: 5452 Account Number: 1008507 (Canadian deposits); 4003190 (U.S. dollar deposits) Swift: ROYCCAT2
Remember, that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling. They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.
"They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream" in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.
One Free World International El Shafie Ministries