Pakistan

Pray For Pakistan

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Innocent Christians Attacked Celebrating Easter in Lahore, Pakistan

Innocent Christians celebrating Easter in a park in Lahore, Pakistan were attacked by the Taliban on Easter Sunday. The gruesome bombing killed 76 people and injured 300 others.

One Free World International calls on the Pakistani government to bring the perpetrators and their accomplices to justice, do more to combat terrorism, and protect the rights and liberties of religious minorities in Pakistan.

Speaking about this gruesome terrorist attack, Rev. El Shafie joined CTV News Channel to discuss the attack and calls for action.

Deadly Attack on Christian Worshippers in Pakistan – Make Your Voice Heard Today

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Warning: This alert contains images that may be disturbing to some readers.  Please ask any young children to leave the room before continuing.  We are not including these images to shock or offend, but simply to convey to you the reality of what is happening in Pakistan – the time has come to wake up to the truth! Dear Friends and Partners, This past Sunday morning (Pakistani time), Islamic extremists carried out a deadly attack on the All Saints church in Peshawar, Pakistan.  As approximately 500 worshippers were leaving the Sunday morning service, two suicide bombers detonated their explosive vests outside the church, leaving at least 85 people dead and over 100 more wounded.  The casualty numbers are likely to rise, as sources in the hospitals report that many of those wounded are in critical condition.

An extremist group connected to the Taliban, TTP Jandullah, has claimed responsibility for the attack.  In a public statement, a Jandullah spokesperson vowed that strikes would continue “whenever we find an opportunity against non-Muslims.”  

Pakistan’s Christian minority make up approximately 1.5% of the population in a predominantly Muslim nation.  As we have reported to you in past alerts and reports, Christians in Pakistan have been routinely targeted using oppressive blasphemy laws.  You will recall the story of Rimsha Masih, the young Christian girl arrested on blasphemy charges, who was only able to find safety by fleeing to Canada.  The Christian minority has also been subjected to repeated deadly attacks.  In 2009, dozens of houses and a church were set on fire by a Muslim mob in Gojra, leaving at least seven Christians dead.  In March of this year, a similar mob attacked a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore, destroying nearly 200 houses, approximately 20 businesses and 2 churches.

  The massacre in Peshawar is a clear and tragic sign that Christians in Pakistan are not free to worship in safety – and that the threat is only increasing.  It is vital that we call on our political leaders to hold the Pakistani government accountable for its failure to protect the Christian community.  We are grateful that both Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, Canadian Ambassador for Religious Freedom Andrew Bennett, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have issued strong statements condemning the attack in Peshawar.  However, it is imperative that our governments’ response not be restricted to isolated statements condemning individual attacks.  Public statements by our governments, while vital, are only the first step.  Statements of condemnation must be backed up by consistent and sustained pressure on the Pakistani government to take action against Islamic extremism through diplomatic efforts and through linking our trade and aid to progress on human rights.

We must not forget that our brothers and sisters in Pakistan are not blessed with the peace and security we enjoy. We cannot afford to stand by as Christians are massacred simply because of their faith and religious practices.  Pakistan’s Christians desperately need our support, so please take a few moments from your day to join us in seeking justice and peace for our brothers and sisters.  We must stand with our brothers and sisters and for their right to live and worship without fear of being killed for their faith.  Please make your voice heard on behalf of the Christians in Pakistan.

 

Please pray:

• for courage, faith, and strength for the Christians in Pakistan during this time of deep trial. Pray that they would be encouraged and strengthened to stay true to their faith, in order that they might be a shining beacon of truth and the love of Christ both in a country desperately looking for light and throughout the whole world;

• for peace and healing in the country of Pakistan. Pray that the violence would be stopped, and that Christians would be able to live and worship in peace and security without fear of attack;

• that those carrying out these attacks would come to realize the wrongfulness of their acts and that they would seek the love and forgiveness of God and in turn apply their energies toward spreading peace rather than violence;

• that the Lord will give Pakistan’s Christians the ability to forgive even when they are under constant attack.  Pray that the Christians would not seek vengeance or return evil for evil, but that they would be filled with God’s love and grace even towards those who seek to kill them;

• for the Pakistan people as a whole, that they would be united and find true peace and meaning 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):

• to the Pakistani high commissioner or ambassador to your country demanding that the Pakistani government take immediate and meaningful action to ensure the security of Christian communities and to control the violent extremist groups responsible for these attacks;

• to your Foreign Minister or Secretary of State, thanking them for their statements on this attack and insisting that they continue, through consistent attention to these issues both on the diplomatic front and through trade and aid policy, to hold the Pakistani government accountable for the protection of its citizens from Islamic extremism;

• to your Prime Minister or President directly, urging them to intervene in this urgent matter and use the full influence of their office to secure an immediate end to these attacks and to obtain assurances that the Christians will be protected from further attacks. 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 Excellency Mian Gul Akbar Zeb High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan High Commission for Pakistan 10 Range Road Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8J3 Tel: (613) 238-7881; Fax: (613) 238-7296 Email: parepottawa@rogers.com

The Honourable John Baird Minister for Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs Canada 125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2 Tel.: (613) 996-0984; Fax: (613) 996-9880 Email: john.baird@parl.gc.ca

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington St Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A2 Tel.: (613) 992-4211; Fax: (613) 941-6900 Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

In the United States: His Excellency Dr. Asad Majeed Khan Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 3517 International Court NW Washington, DC 20008. Tel.: (202) 243-6500 Fax: (202) 686-1534 EMAIL: info@embassyofpakistanusa.org

Secretary John Kerry 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 Ave NW Washington, DC  20500 Tel.: (202) 456-1414 (Main switchboard) Webform: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

In the United Kingdom: His Excellency Mr Wajid Shamsul Hasan High Commissioner for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan High Commission for Pakistan 34 – 36 Lowndes Square London SW1X 9JN Tel.: 020 7664 9204 (Main switchboard) Email: consularaffairs@mofa.gov.pk

The Right Honourable William Hague Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Foreign & Commonwealth Office King Charles Street London SW1A 2AH Tel.: 020 7008 1500 (Main switchboard) Webform: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/ministerial-feedback-form

The Right Honourable David Cameron Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The Prime Minister’s Office 10 Downing Street London SW1A 2AA Fax: 020 7925 0918 Email: https://email.number10.gov.uk/

Pakistani Christians Fear for Safety

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Dear Friends and Partners, A Christian neighbourhood in Lahore, Pakistan was attacked on Saturday, March 9, 2013 after rumours spread that a local Christian had made derogatory remarks about the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Christian homes were looted in the Joseph Colony neighbourhood of Lahore and some 160 homes and a church were burnt, many completely destroyed, by a mob of over 3000 local and area Muslim extremists. The individual accused of blasphemy was in police custody while many local Christians fled to safer areas and many lost everything.

John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Minister, has issued a statement condemning these attacks as well as calling on the Pakistani government to prosecute those responsible and to “implement safeguards to ensure that their blasphemy laws are no longer abused”. While we are grateful for Minister Baird’s statement and support for the Christians and other minorities in Pakistan, this is simply not enough. The Blasphemy Laws must be repealed urgently.

Sections 295 B-C of the Pakistani Penal Code (along with sections 298 A-C that specifically target Ahmadis) are so broad and vague that almost any comment or gesture can be interpreted as a violation at a complainant’s whim and fancy. The provisions mandate life imprisonment for defiling, damaging, or desecrating a copy of the Koran or an extract from it and life imprisonment or death for derogatory remarks, direct or indirect, against the Islamic prophet Mohammed.

The Blasphemy Laws are primarily used to pursue personal scores and vendettas and to terrorize minorities, and their very existence undermines any effective freedom of religion in Pakistan. Several years ago provisions were implemented requiring authorities to file a so-called First Information Report before they could lay charges. This requirement was specifically intended to safeguard against “abuses”. However, the very existence of these laws provides Muslim extremists with justification for taking matters into their own hands and mere accusations lead to mob attacks against those accused and their families as well as entire communities even before the authorities are brought into the picture, thus circumventing any supposed “safeguards”.

There is no excuse for keeping these laws on the books and the Pakistani government must take stronger action to protect its minorities. Please join us in speaking out on behalf of our Pakistani brothers and sisters who deserve better from their fellow citizens and from their government.

 

Please pray:

• for the Christians of Joseph Colony that they would be comforted and encouraged at this time of fear and loss and that they would have the strength and faith to show the love of Christ to their attackers and persecutors even in the midst of such hatred;

• for the Pakistani people, that they would learn to live in peace and harmony and accept each other’s difference and particularly for the Muslim extremists, that they would see the injustice and wrongfulness of their actions and turn from hatred and destruction to seeking peace and goodwill for their non-Muslim neighbours; and,

• for the Pakistani authorities that they would take the safety of their minorities seriously and repeal these laws that breed nothing but hatred and injustice.

ACTION:

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

• to the Pakistani representative to your country, demanding that Pakistani authorities prosecute and bring to justice those responsible for the destruction of Christian property in these attacks and repeal the Blasphemy Laws without delay; and,

• to Minister Baird or Secretary of State John Kerry, thanking Minister Baird for his comments and urging both leaders to demand that the Pakistani government ensure the protection of Pakistani minorities and repeal the Blasphemy Laws without delay.

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 Excellency Mian Gul Akbar Zeb, High Commissioner High Commission of Pakistan 10 Range Road Ottawa, ON   K1N 8J3 Tel: (613) 238-7881; Fax: (613) 238-7296 Email: parepottawa@rogers.com

The Honourable John Baird Minister for Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs Canada 125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, ON   K1A 0G2 Tel.: (613) 996-0984; Fax: (613) 996-9880 Email: john.baird@parl.gc.ca

In the United States: Her Excellency Sherry Rehman, Ambassador Embassy of Pakistan 3517 International Court NW Washington, DC  20008 Tel.: (202) 243-6500; Fax: (202) 686-1534 Email: ambassador@embassyofpakistanusa.org or info@embassyofpakistanusa.org

Secretary John Kerry U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC  20520 Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard) http://contact-us.state.gov/app/ask

Christian Mother of Five Sentenced to Hang for Blasphemy Needs our Support

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"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;We are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Christian Mother Sentenced to Hang for Blasphemy Needs our Support

Dear Friends and Partners,

A Christian mother of five was sentenced on November 8th to death by hanging under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Asia Noreen, also known as Asia (or Aasya) Bibi, was targeted by Muslim women in her village and pressured several times to convert to Islam. When she refused, the village women provoked a confrontation. When she brought water to one of the women at her request, the women made statements accompanied by insults that Muslims could not drink water provided by a non-Muslim. Asia replied by questioning the women whether all people are not human beings and an argument ensued. Not long after, a mob of village Muslims led by a local cleric attacked Asia. She was saved by police who took her to the station and charged her with blasphemy on the basis of a complaint by the cleric.

Asia is the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and her lawyers have launched an appeal. No one is known yet to actually have been executed through the courts, but in many instances where Christians have been accused of blasphemy they have been killed by Muslim mobs either in prison or after they were released. In fact, on November 19th, just days after Asia was sentenced, another Christian charged with blasphemy, 22-year-old Latif Masih, was shot to death by Muslim extremists after he was released on bail. Yet as we have often mentioned before, it has been well established that the blasphemy laws are used mostly, if not exclusively, to settle personal scores or harass and attack religious minorities.

Asia’s case has received international attention and condemnation from numerous sources, from Canadian politicians to the Pope. Canada’s Foreign Minister, for example, has issued a press release and a Member of Parliament made a statement in the House of Commons condemning the sentencing. Statements and condemnations are not enough. Asia must be released, all charges dropped and her safety assured, and the blasphemy laws must be repealed immediately. Our leaders must give this issue priority and put pressure on the Pakistani government until these things are done. The time has come for Pakistan to live up to basic international human rights standards. Nothing less will do. Please pray:

• for Asia, that she would continue to have courage, faith, and dignity in the face of such cruel injustice and that her strength in adversity would bring many to see and experience the Prince of Peace;

• for her family, that they would be safe and continue to be strong and courageous in their faith and support for Asia and in standing up for their beliefs as they come under fire, as well as for the family of Latif Masih, that they would be comforted as they mourn the loss of their loved one;

• for Pakistani Christians who face daily discrimination and threats, that they would remain strong, bold, and courageous in their faith;

• for Asia’s persecutors, that they would see and marvel at Asia’s strength and courage in the face of their attacks and be provoked, not to anger and hatred, but to curiosity and interest in finding and experiencing her source of dignity and strength; and,

• for the Pakistani officials, that they would see the injustice in this situation and move immediately to repeal the blasphemy laws and begin to promote and enforce respect for the human rights of all Pakistani citizens in accordance with international human rights standards.

 
ACTION:

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

• to your Foreign Affairs Minister or Secretary of State, thanking them for any statements they have made condemning this outrage and urging them not to stop with simple statements, but to put pressure on the Pakistani government, including withholding aid and bilateral cooperation, until Asia is released and the blasphemy laws are repealed; and,

• to the Pakistani high commissioner or ambassador to your country, demanding that Asia be released immediately with all charges dropped and her safety ensured, and that the blasphemy laws be repealed immediately. Insist that the Pakistani government meet its obligations under international human rights law and respect the basic rights of all its people.

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 Excellency Mian Gul Akbar Zeb High Commission of Pakistan 10 Range Road Ottawa, ON  K1N 8J3 Tel. (613) 238-7881; Fax: (613) 238-7296 Email: parepottawa@rogers.com

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:

His Excellency Husain Haqqani Embassy of Pakistan 3517 International Court NW Washington, DC  20008 Tel.: (202) 243-6500; Fax: (202) 686-1534 Email: ambassador@embassyofpakistanusa.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

Pakistan Flood Aid Used to Persecute Minorities and Force Conversions

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Pakistan Flood Aid Used to Persecute Minorities and Force Conversions

Dear Friends and Partners,

You have heard much in the news over the last two months about the Pakistani flood and its impact on the people of Pakistan. Millions have seen their homes and livelihoods destroyed and are faced with the threat of infectious diseases in relief camps and affected areas. Our governments have provided official aid and Canadians and Americans have opened their heartsPakistan Map to donate generously through various humanitarian organizations to assist the victims of the flood. What you have not heard about are the silent victims of this disaster – those whose lives were shattered by the natural disaster and who have since been denied assistance in a man-made disaster-in-the-making.

It has come to OFWI’s attention through our sources in Pakistan that in some hard-hit areas, including parts of the Swat Valley and Sindh province, minorities such as Christians, Hindus, and Ahmadiyya Muslims have been refused aid because of their religion. Rescuers passed over minorities leaving them to fend for themselves, while local workers and government officials distributing international aid have denied aid to religious minorities or turned them away at some relief camps. Some have been told to convert to Islam to access aid while others have chosen to lie and claim they are Muslim.

The experience of one Hindu community of 19 families in a village near Taunsa Barrage illustrates what has been taking place among Christians, Hindus, and other minorities in some of the affected areas. The community was forced to rescue their livestock and families themselves when rescue teams did not help after their mud homes were flattened by floodwaters. They were not allowed in the relief camp because they were not Muslim but when they sought to have food aid delivered to them at their location outside the camp they were told they had to come to the camp to receive their aid. Yet due to their distance from the camp and prevailing flood-related conditions they were unable to make the necessary several daily treks to the camp.

This is a terrible abuse of vulnerable victims and a gross violation of their dignity and human rights. Moreover, it sets the stage for future abuses when individuals who have given in to pressure to convert or pass themselves off as Muslim seek to reclaim their former lives and religious identities. In a country where apostasy from and claims of blasphemy against Islam can lead to death these unfortunate people who only wanted food for their families on an equal basis with other victims face an uncertain and dangerous future and an added threat that their Muslim neighbours will never face.

As the world moves its attention to other issues and as Pakistan begins to move from relief to rebuilding, we must not leave behind those who have no voice. Our governments must demand that our aid be distributed to those who need it, without regard to religious or other criteria. If these basic requirements are not met, we must stop all aid immediately. There is no excuse to justify giving aid only to a certain segment of the population whether it is on religious or any other grounds. Under no circumstances should our governments condone such action by continuing to give aid that may be used to force people to convert to Islam. This is particularly important in the rebuilding stage as the decisions made today will have far-reaching and even permanent effects. We must not allow this tragedy to be used to further oppress and devastate the downtrodden minorities of Pakistan.

Please pray:

• for the religious minorities in Pakistan, that they would have courage and strength in the face of this tragedy and persecution and that their needs would be met both as they face their immediate needs and as they start to rebuild their lives and homes;

• for those who are distributing aid, that they would conduct their responsibilities with justice and righteousness and share the aid fairly and equally to all, regardless of their religious beliefs; and,

• for the Pakistani people, that this tragedy would bring them together and help them to see the strength that they can gain from their differences, rather than from seeking to impose one set of beliefs on all, and that this event would bring peace and equality to all Pakistanis, regardless of their religious beliefs.

ACTION:

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

• to your minister or secretary responsible for international aid and development issues and your foreign minister or secretary of state, demanding that they ensure proper oversight of aid to Pakistan to ensure that aid is distributed fairly and evenly to all Pakistani victims of all religious identities and that all aid is stopped immediately if Pakistani authorities are not able to ensure that aid will be distributed without discrimination against religious minorities. Ask them to advise you of the steps they have taken to ensure that aid reaches all victims; and,

• to the embassy or high commission of Pakistan to your country, explaining that any kind of discrimination on religious or other grounds in the distribution of aid is unacceptable and demanding that they set up appropriate measures to ensure that aid reaches all flood victims on an equal and unconditional, universal basis.

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:

The Honourable Beverly Oda Minister for International Cooperation 200 Promenade du Portage Gatineau, QC  K1A 0G4 Tel: 819-997-5456; Fax: 819-953-6088 Email: Oda.B@parl.gc.ca

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

His Excellency Mian Gul Akbar Zeb High Commission of Pakistan 10 Range Road Ottawa, ON  K1N 8J3 Tel. (613) 238-7881; Fax: (613) 238-7296 Email: parepottawa@rogers.com

In the United States:

Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator U.S. Agency for International Development 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC  20523 Tel.: (202) 712-4040 Email: pinquiries@usaid.gov

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

His Excellency Husain Haqqani Embassy of Pakistan 3517 International Court NW Washington, DC  20008 Tel.: (202) 243-6500; Fax: (202) 686-1534 Email: ambassador@embassyofpakistanusa.org