OFWI

Chatelaine gives voice to Yazidi women

Chatelaine gives voice to Yazidi women

"When Adiba Dasni* arrived at Toronto Pearson Airport last February, after a 15-hour flight from Iraq with two sisters and six children in tow, the Prime Minister was not waiting at the airport to greet them. There were no camera crews, no volunteers waving little Canadian flags. In fact, the Dasni family’s arrival paints a very different picture from the one conveyed by news coverage of Syrian refugees arriving to open arms in 2015."

OFWI delegation returns safely from Afghanistan

posts-header.jpg

OFWI delegation returns safely from Afghanistan

Dear Friends and Partners,

Since visiting Canadian troops in Afghanistan in 2007, Rev. El Shafie has spent three years planning a return mission, assembling a delegation including a Canadian member of parliament, and building a plan of action. We are delighted to announce that, despite many challenges along the way, the mission took place June 25-30 and Rev. El Shafie and our delegation have returned home safely.

Canadian SoldiersThe delegation met with some Canadian soldiers and presented them with the cards of support that you had signed. They had a priceless opportunity to encourage the troops and pray with them, letting them know they are not forgotten and their hard work and sacrifices are appreciated back home. They met with Afghan officials and opposition leaders, including high level officials in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, among others, as well as women’s rights and human rights activists. They also met with victims of human rights abuses and paid a visit to a girls’ school.

Boys VictimsThe meetings with Afghan officials were critical. Rev. El Shafie confronted the government with evidence of its efforts to execute converts from Islam during the last several years. He also raised concerns over the new Shi'a personal status law which, among other things, allows husbands essentially to starve their wives if they refuse to submit to their sexual demands, and the issue of the sexual slavery and abuse of young Afghan boys through a practice known as bacha bazi or "boy play".

Tortured Afghan WomenThe issue of converts was particularly timely. There are very few native Afghan Christians. All are converts from Islam and worship in secret to avoid being killed for apostasy. Rev. El Shafie carried with him evidence provided by Afghan refugees who have fled their homeland because of death sentences for their conversion. As if to prove our case, while we were busy preparing for this mission the Afghan government was busy cracking down on Christians. On May 27, 2010, only a few weeks before our mission was scheduled to take place, a television program claiming to show Afghan converts being baptized and praying triggered demonstrations against converts. In response, pledges were made in the parliament and supported by President Karzai himself that all Afghan Christians would be found and executed and Christian aid organizations involved in converting Afghans would be punished.

In the last few weeks, at least 24 Afghan Christians have been arrested and the operations of over a dozen western aid organizations suspected of converting Afghans have been suspended. Homes and offices have been searched and Muslim family-members of suspected converts have been investigated and some arrested. There are reports of torture and of threats against family-members in an effort to force Christians to renounce their conversion and to betray other converts.

Our delegation has returned but this mission is far from over. The Afghan Christian community is in great turmoil. They need our urgent help. Please write to your Afghan embassy and demand that authorities immediately release all converts and their families, drop all charges, and ensure the religious freedom of all Afghans in accordance with international human rights standards. Demand also that authorities repeal the discriminatory sections of the shi’a personal status law and that they take effective measures to eliminate the practice of bacha bazi. The ultimate success of this mission depends on your willingness to take action and build on the work that we have begun. WE MUST NOT ALLOW OUR SOLDIERS’ SACRIFICES TO BE IN VAIN.

Finally, OFWI has significant expenses related to this mission that we must meet. Please join us and share in helping our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan by shouldering part of the financial burden of this mission and sending your special contribution today.

Please pray:

• for the tiny Afghan Christian community, that they would remain strong, steadfast, and faithful in the midst of this great trial and that they would have courage to stand up for their beliefs regardless of the consequences, in order to bring light and truth to the Afghan people;

• for the families of Afghan converts and the people of Afghanistan, that they would see the injustice in these attacks on their family, friends, and neighbours simply because of their beliefs. Pray that they would be moved in their hearts to seek and pursue truth, justice, and righteousness, and be rewarded with true peace;

• for the women and children of Afghanistan, many of whom suffer terrible abuse at the hands of family members and those whom they trust and depend on, that they would experience healing from the physical and psychological wounds inflicted on them by those who ought to be protecting and nurturing them and that they would be set free from the bondage in which they live; and,

• for Afghan authorities, that they would govern their country with truth, justice, and righteousness, and that they would ensure the Afghan people the freedom to seek and worship God in accordance with their conscience and protect the vulnerable women and children of the country.

ACTION:

The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):

• to the Afghan embassy in your country, demanding that authorities immediately and unconditionally release all converts and any family members being held, drop any and all charges and cancel any outstanding death sentences against converts, and ensure the right and freedom of all Afghans to worship in freedom and to convert to other religions in accordance with their conscience and international human rights standards. Demand that the authorities repeal the discriminatory sections of the Shi’a personal status law and that they take effective action to eliminate the practice of bacha bazi (“boy play”). Remind them that we have sent our young men and women to Afghanistan to fight for freedom for the Afghan people, not for continued oppression;

• to the authorities in your country, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs or Secretary of State, Minister for Defence, and the Prime Minister or President: our men and women are sacrificing their lives in Afghanistan daily on behalf of freedom and democracy for the Afghan people – our governments must demand that Afghan authorities honour international human rights standards, release converts immediately, ensure the full religious freedom of all Afghans, and protect vulnerable Afghan women and children (girls and boys); and,

• finally, help us cover the costs of the mission by sending your donation today to the address indicated below.

Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at: info@onefreeworldinternational.org

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.

Rev. Majed El Shafie President and Founder One Free World International El Shafie Ministries

CONTACT: In Canada:
His Excllency Jawed Ludin Embassy of Afghanistan 240 Argyle Ave. Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1B9 Tel.: (613) 563-4223; Fax: (613) 563-4962 Email: contact@afghanemb-canada.net

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon Minister for Foreign Affairs 125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, ON   K1A 0G2 Tel.: (613) 992-5516; Fax: (613) 992-6802 Email: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence National Defence Headquarters Major-General George R. Pearkes Building 101 Colonel By Drive, 2 NT Ottawa, ON   K1A 0K2 Tel.: 613-996-3100; Fax: 613-995-8189 Email: MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON   K1A 0A2 Fax: (613) 941-6900 Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

In the United States:

His Excellency Said Jawad Embassy of Afghanistan 2341 Wyoming Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008 Tel.: (202) 483-6410; Fax: (202) 483-6488 Email: press@embassyofafghanistan.org Also, Mr. Ashraf Haidari, Political Counselor Email: Haidari@embassyofafghanistan.org

Secretary Hillary Clinton U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC  20520 Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard) Webform:http://contact-us.state.gov/cgi-bin/state.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php?p_sid=F5OZZa6i&p_lva=&p_sp=&p_li

President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Tel.: 202-456-1111; Fax: (202) 456-2461 Webform: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Maryam and Marzieh are safe and Rev. El Shafie is headed to Afghanistan

posts-header.jpg
Maryam and Marzieh are safe and Rev. El Shafie is headed to Afghanistan
Dear Friends and Partners, 

We would like to take this opportunity to give you some wonderful news: as a result of international pressure, Maryam and Marzieh, the Iranian Christian converts whose story of courage and dignity in the face of their persecutors has been an inspiration to all of us, have been acquitted of all charges and have left Iran.Please continue to pray for these courageous young women as they recover from their ordeal and adapt to a new culture and environment, that they will be able to use their story to glorify God and help improve the lives of their fellow Iranians. Please also continue to pray for the Iranian government and people, and especially for the Christians, converts and other minorities in Iran, that they would be able to freely exercise their faith without having to leave their families, homes, and country to escape persecution.

Update: Operation Horizon of Hope In the meantime, we recently sent an alert highlighting Rev. El Shafie’s upcoming return mission to Afghanistan. Rev. El Shafie will be leaving soon on this mission to encourage our troops, but also to meet with Afghan government officials in order to challenge the government about human rights issues in the country.

This mission is rapidly approaching and so we are re-sending the alert to encourage you that now is the time to send your letters and donations in order to make this mission a success. We must receive your cards and letters of support by June 15th in order to ensure that Rev. El Shafie can deliver them. Please stand with us and with our troops through your notes and letters, as well as your prayers and financial support for this important mission.

May 4, 2010 
Dear Friends and Partners,
You may recall that Rev. El Shafie travelled to Afghanistan almost three years ago to support and encourage our troops who are sacrificing their comfort and risking their lives on our behalf to help bring peace and freedom to the Troops AfghanistanAfghan people. He presented the troops with several cards signed by over 2000 of our friends and partners, including several members of parliament and the prime minister. The visit and your messages of support clearly meant a lot to the troops so before he left, Rev. El Shafie promised to return. He is now preparing to fulfill that promise by travelling back to Afghanistan where he will be visiting Canadian, American, and NATO soldiers.This is a critical time in the mission for Canadian troops. As they prepare to come home next year in accordance with the government’s decision, they will face great dangers. At the same time, questions over Canada’s role in the treatment of detainees by Afghan authorities have grown into a full-blown controversy. OFWI supports any necessary, legitimate, and democratic investigation into the detainee issue in accordance with Canadian law; however, we must not let this controversy overshadow the sacrifices our troops continue to make. After all, those who are demanding information and documents from the government are only able to do so because our soldiers once fought to defend our freedoms here in Canada as they are doing today in Afghanistan. The purpose of OFWI’s mission is not to get involved in the political debate, but to show our troops that we have not forgotten them and that we support and pray for them regardless of what happens on Parliament Hill.

Rev. El Shafie is inviting a delegation of Members of Parliament from both major parties to join him in this mission. In addition to encouraging the troops, Rev. El Shafie and his delegation will meet with Afghan officials to discuss their progress in the area of human rights and to stress the importance of ensuring equality and the human rights of all Afghan people both now and after Canadian troops leave. Support Our Troops Sign OFWI would like to give you the opportunity to participate in this mission. Once again, we are asking our friends and partners across the country to sign one of six cards of support and appreciation for the troops that are currently circulating. Also, some of you may not have the chance to sign the large cards, so we would like to give you the opportunity to send personal cards or letters of support which Rev. El Shafie will deliver to the troops together with the joint cards. Simply prepare your card or letter and send it to One Free World International marked “Operation Horizon of Hope”, making sure we receive it by June 15th.

Finally, as you know, OFWI is fully supported through the voluntary donations of our friends and members without whose support none of our work would be possible. Please join us by participating financially in this important mission so that we can make it a reality. Your donations are important and will have a lasting impact on the Afghan people by encouraging our troops and through the contacts Rev. El Shafie will be able to make. Please note that your donations are not tax deductible because OFWI has chosen not to seek charitable status so that we can pursue our goals freely, without the limits placed by law on charities.

Canadians can disagree about whether we should be in Afghanistan and OFWI does not take a position on this question. However, the reality is that Canadian soldiers are on the ground risking their lives daily on behalf of peace and freedom for the Afghan people and for Canadians. These brave men and women are doing their jobs and need and deserve our support.

Please pray:• for all the details of this mission to come together smoothly and for Rev. El Shafie’s safety throughout the mission;

• for the government and leadership of Afghanistan, that they would commit wholeheartedly to human rights, democracy, and equality and that they would have the strength of will and political leadership to implement these goals effectively for the benefit of all Afghan people;

• that the troops would be encouraged and uplifted by Rev. El Shafie’s visit; and,

• for the continued safety and protection of the troops who will then stay behind on the battlefield while Rev. El Shafie returns home to the safety of Canada. Pray particularly that the troops would have unusual wisdom and compassion in dealing with the Afghan people whom they are trying to help and that they would have supernatural discernment and intuition in order to prevent attacks by the Taliban that could harm them and ordinary Afghan people.

 
ACTION: 

The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and:

• send your card or letter of support to the Canadian troops by June 15th to:

    One Free World International     c/o Operation Horizon of Hope     20 Bloor Street East, Box 75129     Toronto, ON     M4W 3T3

• send your financial contribution by cheque to the above address or deposit it directly to:

    Bank: Royal Bank of Canada     Institution Code: 003     Transit Number: 5452     Account Number: 1008507 (Canadian deposits); 4003232 (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

2009 Highlights

posts-header.jpg

2009 Highlights

Dear Friends and Partners,
We at One Free World International would like to wish you a very happy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year! As we look forward to our continued cooperation in 2010, we would also like to reflect on 2009 and share with you some of the things we have been able to accomplish thanks to your prayers and support through this eventful year.Rev. El Shafie and Neeha arriving in CanadaAs we mentioned in our Christmas greeting, Rev. El Shafie made several trips to Pakistan this year and was successful in rescuing little Neeha and her family. We rejoice with Neeha and take this opportunity to review some of the other highlights of 2009.

First International Conference in Israel

Instead of our usual annual conferences in Toronto and other Canadian cities, we were delighted to be able to organize our first international conference which took place in Jerusalem, December 14-15. We planned our first conference outside Canada to be held in Israel in order to acknowledge the role that Israel has played in Rev. El Shafie’s life and, as a result, the founding of OFWI. We alsoOWFI Conference Jerusalem

wanted to take the opportunity to draw attention to the role that Israel plays on the front lines of the worldwide fight against religious extremism and the related twin evils of religious persecution and antisemitism.

The conference included a special address by Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, as well as remarks by Canadian Members of Parliament Scott Reid and Mario Silva and, of course, comments by our very own Rev. El Shafie. An OFWI delegation from North America including Mr. Reid and Mr. Silva and Wreath Ceremony at Yad Vashem with Canadian MPsothers, including pastors, human rights advocates and other concerned individuals, also held meetings with Israeli officials and visited various sites of significance in the fight for religious freedom and against religious persecution and antisemitism, including Yad Vashem (the Holocaust memorial).

We were thrilled with the abundant positive media attention the conference received from Israeli and foreign press and would like to especially thank Tim King, our Jerusalem Director, for his long hours, commitment, and hard work in order to make this conference a success.

Alerts, Cases and Missions

During 2009 we also sent numerous alerts about cases in which your prayers and action were Rev Majed with Ami and his parentsinvaluable. Your letters on behalf of Wadie and Fifi were vital in ensuring that their deportation to the Sudan was stayed. In March you marked the anniversary of the attack against Ami by signing Ami’s petition and we were thrilled to report in November that Israeli authorities had finally arrested the attacker. We alerted you to threats against Christians and other religious minorities from Hindu extremists in Nepal and informed you about attacks against Christian villages in Egypt. Not long after we sent an alert about Maryam and Marzieh in Iran, we were able to report that these tremendously courageous Christian women had finally been released after almost 9 months in prison.

Ruined House in Korian Christian VillagesFinally, we informed you about attacks against Korian and Gojra, two Christian villages in Pakistan which Rev. El Shafie visited on one of his missions to the country, returning with eyewitness testimony, pictures, and physical evidence of the attacks. He also continued his work about which we have shared with you in the past on behalf of impoverished Christian and Hindu workers in Pakistan in what are effectively modern-day slave camps.Other Events

OFWI presented submissions to the Inquiry into Antisemitism in Canada initiated by the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism and Rev. El Shafie appeared before the inquiry when he was invited to provide oral testimony. To round off our review, we also held a series of multi-faith panel discussions about religious persecution in four cities across Canada, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Special Thanks

We would like to give special thanks to our OFWI team, those partners and volunteers who work anonymously behind the scenes, sacrificing their time, sleep, effort, finances, and even lives, to ensure that the work moves forward. We would also like to thank Bnai Brith for partnering with us on the Israel conference and cross-Canada panels.

Finally, the OFWI family would like to thank all of you for being partners in our work in 2009. Without your active participation, prayers, and support none of this would have been possible. We undertake our work by faith, knowing that it is the call of the Lord and that it must be done, making great sacrifices and trusting that He will provide. Our conferences, travels, advocacy, and rescue missions require tremendous resources and are only possible because of your generous support. Please prayerfully consider making a special year-end donation to OFWI or committing to support our work on a monthly basis in the coming year (OFWI’s address and banking information are included below).

To all of our friends and partners we wish the richest blessings in 2010! As we look forward to the New Year and all the challenges that lie ahead, we trust that you will continue to support our work, both in prayer and financially, and by taking action with us on behalf of the persecuted church.

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 InternationalEl Shafie Ministries

Victory Report – Maryam and Marzieh Freed

Iran-Map.gif

Victory Report – Maryam and Marzieh Freed

Dear Friends and Partners,

Two Iranian women, Maryam and Marzieh, were freed without bail last week from the Iranian prison where they have been held for almost 9 months. You may recall our alert dated September 20, 2009 in which we told you of the amazing courage and fortitude exhibited by these two young converts from Islam during a court hearing in August. When the prosecutor attempted to pressure them into renouncing their Christian faith, they refused steadfastly and boldly testified about their relationship with God.Iran Map

After the hearing Maryam and Marzieh were sent back to Evin prison, an Iranian prison notorious for its abuses, and told to return when they were ready to comply with the court’s demands to renounce their faith. The women suffered numerous health problems without adequate medical treatment and reportedly lost a lot of weight while in prison, but they are grateful to be free.In October, the women were acquitted of the charge of “anti-state activities” but charges of “taking part in illegal gatherings” and apostasy remain outstanding.

While the government recently decided not to pass a threatened apostasy law, torture and extrajudicial killings are common in Iran. Maryam and Marzieh are expected to face further court hearings and, if found guilty, could still face abusive punishments or death. They are also expected to be subject to heavy surveillance which will greatly restrict their freedoms.Maryam and Marzieh are just two of many Christians in Iran who are either in prison or out on bail facing similar charges. Other minorities, such as the Bahá’í’s, also face varying degrees of persecution. In the midst of growing repression, Maryam and Marzieh and the entire Christian community as well as other minority communities in Iran need our continued prayers and support.

Please pray:

• for Maryam and Marzieh’s continued recovery from their ordeal and their safety as well as for victory in the outstanding charges against them. Pray that they would be able to use their experiences to encourage other Christians and to glorify God;

• for the numerous others in prison for their faith in Iran, that they would be protected from harm and be released and able to seek and worship God freely;

• that all charges and laws criminalizing religious beliefs and activity would be dropped or repealed without delay and that Iranian authorities would stop targeting minority religious communities and focus on governing their people with fairness and justice for the benefit of the entire country; and,

• for the Iranian people, that they would be able to live and worship freely and that they would find true peace and freedom in the Prince of Peace.

 ACTION:

The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):

• the representative of Iran in your country, demanding that Iranian authorities respect international human rights standards with respect to religious freedom and their own constitution and that they drop the charges against Maryam and Marzieh as well as all others who are facing charges based on their religious beliefs or activity; assure them that an Iran where all Iranians, regardless of their beliefs, would be able to live, work, and worship in freedom will be a strong and prosperous Iran; and,

• to the Minister for Foreign Affairs or Secretary of State in your country, urging them to continue using every means at their disposal to make treatment of religious minorities in Iran a primary focus of foreign policy in the region.

Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at: info@onefreeworldinternational.org

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.

 

Rev. Majed El Shafie President and Founder One Free World International El Shafie Ministries

Source: Compass Direct

CONTACT: In Canada:

Mr. Bahram Ghasemi, Chargé d'Affaires, a.i. Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran 245 Metcalfe St. Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2K2 Tel.: (613) 235-4726; Fax: (613) 232-5712 Email: executive@salamiran.org

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon Minister for Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs Canada 125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, ON   K1A 0G2 Tel.: (613) 992-5516; Fax: (613) 992-6802 Email: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca

In the United States:

Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran Embassy of Pakistan 2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007 Tel.: (202) 965-4990; Fax: (202) 965-1073 Email: requests@daftar.org

Secretary Hillary Clinton U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC  20520 Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard) Webform:http://contact-us.state.gov/cgi-bin/state.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php?p_sid=F5OZZa6i&p_lva=&p_sp=&p_li