Saudi Arabia

Father Kills Saudi Woman for Converting to Christianity

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Father Kills Saudi Woman for Converting to Christianity

Dear Friends and Partners,

We would like to thank you for your terrific response to our China alert and to encourage you to stay committed to boycotting Chinese products particularly as the Olympics end and the world’s attention turns away from China. We know from personal experience what a challenge avoiding products made in China will be, but a great challenge holds an even greater opportunity. This small inconvenience will generate numerous occasions for discussion with friends and family about what is happening to Christians and other minorities in China and, after all, spreading the word is one of our best weapons.

In the meantime, we would like to bring to your attention a recent case from Saudi Arabia. In the beginning of August a young Saudi woman who had apparently learned about Christianity on the internet and secretly converted was killed by her father after a heated debate about religion. The woman had contributed to internet discussions about Christianity under various nicknames including “Rania” and her family had become suspicious when her brother discovered some of her postings and a cross on her computer. A few days before her murder, “Rania” had indicated in one of her internet postings that her life had become unbearable after her brother’s discovery.

“Rania’s” father is a member of Saudi Arabia’s so-called “religious police”, officially known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Against Vice, charged with ensuring compliance with Saudi Arabia’s strict Wahhabi brand of Islam. He had reportedly cut off his daughter’s tongue before burning her to death. News reports indicate that he was later in custody being investigated for “honour killing”, a charge which generally results in a sentence of six months to three years in jail, rather than murder. According to OFWI sources, however, the father has been released and has effectively been assured that he will be cleared of all charges and granted a promotion.

As we have mentioned in an earlier alert, Saudi Arabia is an important western ally in the war on terror. Despite some recent and very public international gestures by the Saudi king in the name of inter-religious dialogue, the kingdom’s Islamic Shari’ah-based legal system is one of the most repressive in the world. All public non-Islamic religious practice is prohibited in the kingdom and even private observance among foreigners is severely restricted. The number of Saudi Christians living in the kingdom is impossible to determine. Any conversions take place in utmost secrecy as apostasy, or the act of leaving Islam, carries the official death penalty. As in “Rania’s” case, however, family members of the apostate will often seek to reclaim the family’s honour by killing the convert themselves.

Also, please PRAY:

• that Saudi officials would see this father’s act for what it was, an act of murder and not one of honour, and that by sentencing him accordingly they would do justice for “Rania”;

• for “Rania’s” family, including her father, that they would see the senselessness of a religion based on hatred and intolerance and that they would come to know and experience true love, mercy, and forgiveness through Jesus Christ; and,

• that news about this incident would spread like wildfire through the Saudi kingdom. Pray that the Saudi people would be inspired by “Rania’s” curiosity and courage to begin questioning a belief system that permits and even encourages such barbaric acts and that they would discover truth, love, and mercy so that “Rania’s” death would not be in vain.

ACTION:

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

• to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia insisting that Saudi authorities investigate this matter fully and ensure that “Rania’s” murder and other so-called “honour killings” are properly dealt with as murder and that those responsible, including “Rania’s” father, are brought to justice and not rewarded. Urge Saudi authorities also to take effective measures to implement international human rights standards regarding freedom of religion and ask them to begin by repealing the death penalty for apostasy; and,

• to Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson or Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, insisting that they take a strong stand with their ally and do not let larger political issues get in the way of truth and justice on behalf of “Rania” and religious freedom and human rights for all other converts in Saudi Arabia.

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:

Mr. Abdullah Saleh A. Al Awwad Counsellor & Chargé d'Affaires, a.i. Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia 201 Sussex Dr. Ottawa, ON K1N 1K6 Tel.: (613) 237-4100; Fax: (613) 237-0567 Email: office@saudibureau.org

The Honourable David Emerson Minister for Foreign Affairs 125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2 Tel.: (613) 943-0267; Fax: (613) 943-0219 Email: emersd@parl.gc.ca

In the United States:

His Excellency Adel A. Al-Jubeir Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia 601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20037 Tel.: (202) 342-3800 Email: info@saudiembassy.net

Secretary Condoleezza Rice 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

2007 Highlights

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2007 Highlights

Dear Friends and Partners,

Saudi Arabia MapAs the year 2007 comes to a close we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the highlights of this eventful year, beginning with wonderful news about the Saudi woman we wrote to you about last month. We have just confirmed that the young woman, who was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison for her own rape, has been pardoned by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Please thank God and continue to pray for the Qatif woman as she will face many challenges in the months and years ahead. While the Saudi kingdom’s treatment of women remains unchanged, this is a small, but exciting victory with which to close the year.

Action

The Saudi woman was just one of many individuals on behalf of whom we intervened in 2007, including our continued advocacy on behalf of Egyptian Coptic Christians seeking refuge in Canada. Magdi Youssef, one of the refugees, was deported by Canadian authorities in 2006 to Egypt where he was tortured on several occasions, but One Free World International was able to bring him back to Canada in 2007 along with his family. Many others still face deportation and fear they will share the same fate or worse. The Ottawa Citizen carried an article about Coptic Christians in May in response to which the Ambassador of Egypt launched a fierce and unjustified attack against Rev. El Shafie. A lengthy exchange followed on the editorial pages of The Citizen, with Rev. El Shafie successfully challenging the Ambassador with the facts about the situation facing Christians and other religious minorities in Egypt.

Neeha Victim of Christian PersecutionWe also showed our solidarity with Montreal’s Jewish community after a small bomb exploded outside a community centre during Passover and asked you to intervene on behalf of human rights in Nigeria after a Christian teacher was killed by a mob for allegedly desecrating a Koran. These are just some of the cases that we have monitored or intervened in during the past year. Some of those on behalf of whom we will continue to advocate into 2008 are a Nigerian woman seeking refuge from deportation and separation from her Canadian-born daughter and a 4-year-old Pakistani girl who was raped at age 2 because of her family’s Christian faith and who is forced to live in hiding with her family.

Behind Enemy Lines

Troops AfghanistanA major focus for One Free World International this year was Rev. El Shafie’s mission to Afghanistan. In order to show his support for Canadian troops risking their lives daily and to express his thanks to Canada, Rev. El Shafie travelled to Afghanistan where he met with and encouraged the soldiers and presented five giant greeting cards signed by our members and partners, as well as several Canadian political leaders including Prime Minister Harper. Rev. El Shafie was interviewed about his mission by CTV’s Canada AM and a link to the interview, which also featured video footage of the mission provided by One Free World International, is available on our website.

The mission to Afghanistan was also part of a larger project One Free World International is pursuing to produce a full-length one-hour documentary about persecution of Christians. The video, titled Behind Enemy Lines, is being prepared in cooperation with a professional video production company. It will include footage from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and Iraq and will continue to be a significant part of our work in 2008.

Conferences

Price of Freedom ConferenceOur annual conferences took place in Winnipeg and Toronto this year with the theme The Price of Freedom. We paid tribute once again to Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and showed footage from Rev. El Shafie’s mission. Our speakers included television hosts Bill Prankard and Willard Thiessen; His Excellency Alan Baker, Israel’s ambassador to Canada; the Honourable Jason Kenney, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity; Sister Gwen Shaw, President and Founder of End-time Handmaidens and Servants International; and our very own Rev. El Shafie.

OFWI TACFWe would like to thank everyone who participated in our conferences, from the worship leaders with their teams to all of our speakers and contributors. We would also like to extend our special thanks to our partners, Willard Thiessen and New Day Ministries in Winnipeg and Pastor Steve Long and Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship in Toronto, for their generous support and cooperation in making this year’s conferences a great success.

Special Thanks

Finally, the One Free World International family would like to thank you for being partners in our work in 2007. Without your active participation, prayers, and support none of what we have accomplished would have been possible. As we enter the year 2008 we have many important projects some of which, like Behind Enemy Lines, require significant resources in order for us to accomplish our purposes. Our work is only possible because of your generous support. Please prayerfully consider making your year-end donation to One Free World International or committing to support our work on a monthly basis in the coming year (the address for your donation is included below).

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and richest blessings in 2008, and as we look forward to the New Year we trust that you will continue to support our work and take action 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 International El Shafie Ministries