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Pakistan Was Built On Blood: A Generations Lost Dreams Of Freedom (Part 1)



“My Roots Are Strong In Pakistan.  Although they have issued a fatwa against me, I still belong to that family who has only served Lord God from both my Mother and Father’s side.”

(Voice of the Persecuted) As we listened intently to a Pakistani Christian fleeing from extreme persecution, we couldn’t help but hear the pain, sorrow, and longing to return to their roots.  Roots that helped to establish a country.  A generation that not only witnessed but helped to establish a Country.  These are the ones that the UN and the world has labeled ‘economic refugees’ portraying them as only wanting a better economic opportunity.  We’ve heard from many how they come from a high ‘caste’, are well educated, held prominent positions, were financially stable, yet targeted by hatred for death and persecution simply because they refused to denounce their belief in Christ.  They were targeted because the Muslim population thought it unfair that infidels, lowly Christians, should be allowed any kind of prosperity and respect.  Included are Christians bound and lost in the brick kiln labor program. Generations of families trapped in illegal slavery making it impossible to improve their lives. They are so poor, poverty has left their children unable to receive an education, because they must work to help bring food to the table.  The Islamic Government of Pakistan holds them in low esteem, mere slaves unworthy and offer them no protection.

But there is much more, so much more to this story and it begins with the forming of a country.  Beliefs and longing for freedom much like that of our forefathers had when America was formed.

Listening to the description of the rich history of pastors and Christians acquainted with the founders of Pakistan, it will leave you with feelings of pride and of sorrow.  Sorrow for what it has become today. People facing the same persecution that was shown to Hindu’s and Sikh’s in the countries beginnings.

This will be the first in a series of the stories from Christians who witnessed the birth of Pakistan and it’s  cultural/political evolution over time.

An elderly woman recalled as a young girl of about 7 years, she watched Muslims behead Hindu’s and Sikh’s, but spared the lives of Christian.  Her family helped by protecting and hiding them. They put crosses around their necks so they would go undetected and appear as they belonged in the Christian community. While listening to the story unfold, a distinct picture of Corrie Ten Boom came to mind. Transporting them to safety. This Pakistani Christian’s family had formed a underground railway for those at risk as seen in WWII during the Holocaust. She describes the family’s journey in small boats to reach the center of what is now Pakistan.  It took them 5 years to reach their final destination, a community where they would settle, dream of their future and build their lives. She describes the partitioning of a country that took 10 years. To this day, she still suffers anguish as she remembers the scenes of horror so long ago.

The people elected a leader to direct them in the path of freedom.  For a time, Pakistan grew strong, even adopted a Constitution that called for religious freedom for all citizens.  But as time went on, Pakistan took a wicked turn that took control. Pakistan instituted an Islamic law that oppressed minorities. Today, Christians have become targets much like the Hindu’s and Sikh’s who needed protection at the birth of the nation.  The woman lamented, “Pakistan was built on blood, I saw it with her own eyes.”  How horrible these atrocities will once again be seared into the minds of today’s youth, as in this woman’s case.

Mohammed Al Jinnah was Pakistan’s first Governor and founder.

Mohammed Al Jinnah, Pakistan’s first Governor and founder.

Mohammed Al Jinnah, Pakistan’s first Governor and founder.

“Jinnah’s legacy is Pakistan. According to Mohiuddin, “He was and continues to be as highly honored in Pakistan as [first US president] George Washington is in the United States … Pakistan owes its very existence to his drive, tenacity, and judgment …

Jinnah’s importance in the creation of Pakistan was monumental and immeasurable.” Stanley Wolpert, giving a speech in honour of Jinnah in 1998, deemed him Pakistan’s greatest leader.

According to Singh, “With Jinnah’s death Pakistan lost its moorings. In India there will not easily arrive another Gandhi, nor in Pakistan another Jinnah.” Malik writes, “As long as Jinnah was alive, he could persuade and even pressure regional leaders toward greater mutual accommodation, but after his death, the lack of consensus on the distribution of political power and economic resources often turned controversial.” According to Mohiuddin, “Jinnah’s death deprived Pakistan of a leader who could have enhanced stability and democratic governance … The rocky road to democracy in Pakistan and the relatively smooth one in India can in some measure be ascribed to Pakistan’s tragedy of losing an incorruptible and highly revered leader so soon after independence.”

Recorded in history, “the partition of India and the formation of the state of Pakistan on 14 August 1947, occurred against a backdrop of widespread violence between Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, and a vast movement of populations between the new states of Pakistan and India in which hundreds of thousands died.”

It has also been said that “It is possible that Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, simply wished to use the demand for a separate state as a bargaining chip to win greater power for Muslims within a loosely federated India. Certainly, the idea of ‘Pakistan’ was not thought of until the late 1930s.”

Pakistani’s are are proud of their country, they are proud of their heritage.  Jinnah’s moderate, secular form of Islam died with him.  There was even an argument heard by the courts in Pakistan after Jinnah’s death that he was Shiite, but the courts ruled he was neither Shiite or Sunni only Muslim.  It seems the dream of a state for Muslims without sectarian divides died with Jinnah. What has evolved over the years is a state governed by Sharia law and greatly influenced by religious leaders. Leaders who’ve endorsed, even instigated unfair treatment, hate crimes and persecution of religious minorities.  At least that’s the opinion many have formed after considering the facts.  It’s sad really, as a whole generation who dreamed of a peaceful existence between neighbors whether they be Hindu, Sikh, or Christian has been lost.  Too many have been forced to flee their beloved Pakistan…never to return again.  The sorrow this thought brings is almost too much for them to bear.  For they know if they returned, they will be killed.

We could fill volumes with their words. So many memories, so many dreams lost.

Our most heartfelt thanks to all to our Pakistani Christians brothers and sisters who’ve shared for this series and for the love of their homeland, their country, Pakistan.

Voice of the Persecuted

Credit also to BBC History, Wikipedia, Miriam Websters Dictionary

PRAISE REPORT: Jihadists Release Syrian Priest, Father Murad!

Father Jacques Mourad with the Syriac Catholic Church abducted

Father Jacques Mourad with the Syriac Catholic Church released

(Agenzia Fides) – “We are grateful to the Lord and give praise to the merciful God for this gift. And we thank all the friends in the world who prayed for Jacques and for our monastic community, Christians, Muslims or others, even those who do not believe or believe otherwise, for their solidarity and sympathy”. This is what Fr. Jihad Youssef, Syrian monk of the monastic community of Deir Mar Musa tells Agenzia Fides who expresses his joy and gratitude and that of other monks and nuns of the community for the return to freedom of Syrian priest Jacques Murad [Mourad], who was also a member of the monastic community and the Prior of the Syrian Catholic monastery in Qaryatayn.
“We ask for the prayers and solidarity of every man and woman of good will for peace in Syria and around the world”, adds Fr. Jihad “and especially for all the people who have been abducted or have disappeared”.
Syrian priest Jacques Murad was released on Sunday 11 October, who since May 21, gunmen had kidnapped him from the Syrian Catholic monastery in Qaryatayn, 60 km south-east of Homs. According to news reported by local sources, the priest is physically well and yesterday celebrated Sunday mass in Zaydal, in the south-east of Homs.
Father Murad is part of the monastic community of Deir Mar Musa, founded by the Roman Jesuit Paolo Dall’Oglio, who disappeared in northern Syria on July 29, 2013 while he was in Raqqa, a stronghold of the .
The monastic settlement of Mar Elian, on the outskirts of Quaryatayn, had represented an oasis of peace and hospitality in the heart of a war zone. It was Father Jacques, along with a Sunni lawyer, who became mediators to ensure that the urban center of 35 thousand inhabitants were spared for long periods by fighting between the army and government anti-Assad militants. In the Monastery hundreds of refugees were welcomed, including more than a hundred children under ten years of age. Father Jacques and his friends had provided to find the necessary for their survival even by seeking the help of Muslim donors. Then, last August, the jihadists of the Islamic State took control of the area and devastated the monastery. During their offensive in the south-east of Homs, the jihadists also took hostage about 270 Christians and Muslims in the area of Qaryatayn. In recent days, a video was released on jihadist websites which shows a group of Christians in Qaryatayn while they participate in the meeting in which they had to sign a “payment contract” to continue living in their homes, in the territory controlled by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh) (See Fides 07/10/2015).
Photographic images of that meeting, which took place in a conference room in Qaryatayn, had been released already at the end of August. Both in the video and [photographic] images, Father Murad appears among the participants. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 12/10/2015)

Keep praying!

Freedom at a Cost but More Pak-Christians in Crisis Need Your Help!


Pakistani Christian child happy and relieved she will be released. Photo: BPCA

(Voice of the Persecuted) Praise Report! Yesterday we shared about the collaboration of Christian groups preventing the detention of Christian asylum seekers from the inhumane conditions of the Central Jail/IDC. Today we were notified all 16 have been freed and liberated from this incident. To face charges in court, further cost of approx. $1500USD would’ve been needed for their bail and guarantee certificate protecting them from rearrest for the next two years. Truly a divine intervention, we want to share our joy of this news and thank you again for all the prayers and financial support. Support that made it possible for us to partner for their freedom. We were concerned for the families who are suffering the most, as using the funds might have halted our ability. But God made the way for us to cover families in the greatest need with shelter and food for the next month—we were able to do both. Please praise and thank the Lord with us!

(BPCA) After an unexpected and rare show of unity amongst charities 16 Pak-Christians almost had their court fines paid by a collaborative between Urdu Church in the Hands of God; TROTB Ministries; Voice of the Persecuted; Jubilee Campaign and BPCA.  As we were about to pay the fines brother Farrukh Saif  weighed in with a wonderful offer to pay half the fines, meaning that the collaborative became an unprecedented union of six charities, a matching that many would call a miracle in itself.

The tacit message here is that charities in Thailand who are fed up with the ongoing re-persecution of Pak-Christians are willing to pull out all the stops to help.  God is working in mysterious ways in Thailand for definite, as despite a common belief that Pak-Christians are divided, unity amongst the persecuted asylum seekers is stronger than ever.

Last month after the death of Shafqat Nasir the family wanted to send the body back to Pakistan to be buried – the land of their forefathers and a land that Pak-Christians still adore and have fond memories of despite their predicament. The BPCA had to refuse the cost of the funeral as our priority has to be the living rather than the deceased, especially with our meagre funds. Despite this our young brave and passionate officer Christian Malik, scraped the costs together for the funeral by taking small donations from the entirety of the Pak-Christians in Thailand who were moved by the loss of a brother. Giving up tiny amounts each, Pak-Christians showed the enviable type of unity that few experience in their lifetime and eventually collected the funds for the funeral with a small donation from the BPCA.  Their passion for the country they have been forced to leave is an illustration of the difficult but forced decision they had to make to leave the place of their ancestors.

On Friday all 16 asylum seekers were set free from jail which was an unique and astonishing event, that was met with great joy by all humanitarian groups working with Pakistan and the asylum seeker community.  Papa Thongchai, a Thai citizen and long time supporter and friend of Pakistani Christians, has met with all the victims and informs us that they are well and thankful to God for their freedom.

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:

“Yesterday we received the fantastic news that all 16 victims were set free from prison without having to go to court. I thank God for this and I am a believer that God can use any situation, person or predicament to bring about His purposes or to show His glory.  It has come to my knowledge that a passionate Sikh man paid a bribe to free them because he could not bear to see the families struggle or let their children go through the horrendous conditions in the IDC.  While we are very glad to see the families freed, the BPCA does not condone bribery nor would we enter into it.  Bribes are not accountable and although these victims avoided the awful IDC, by them not entering it and paying subsequent bail fines, they are prevented from obtaining the guaranteed two year protection from re-arrest. Nevertheless the BPCA are grateful for the generosity, and passion this man has shown to Pak-Christians.”

Christian Malik, our officer in Thailand said:

“Living in constant fear of discovery by the authorities takes a great toll on these vulnerable members of our community.  These families are safe for now but without actual asylum status they can never be at peace.  We hope the Thai Government will either decide to accept UNHCR documentation or preferably ratify UN conventions for asylum.”

Note: Voice of the Persecuted never condones bribery. This practice furthers the abuse of these vulnerable Christians and we believe the practice will never stop as long as bribes continue to be paid. Along with the BPCA, we too are working in Thailand for the protection and aid of Christian asylum seekers fleeing persecution in Pakistan. It is heartbreaking the amount of those who have no means to support their survival or that of their families while waiting for asylum status. Please consider contributing to our relief mission to help and show they are not forgotten.

Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.


Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

You may also mail your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

God moves the ‘Body’ and prevents detainment of Christians at a Brutal Jail in Thailand – a miracle!

Pastor Joshua is amongst frightened children detained with their families. Photo: courtesy BPCA

Pastor Joshua is amongst frightened children detained with their families. Photo: courtesy BPCA

(Voice of the Persecuted) Yesterday may have seemed like any other day, but we witnessed God perform a miracle and many of you were used by Him to fulfill it! God doesn’t need us to accomplish miracles. However, it seems He takes great pleasure to perform miracles by means of our prayers, our hands, His Church—to shine His light brightly from us, the Body of Christ!

For those of you who follow our mission, you know we are greatly concerned for persecuted Christians who go mainly overlooked, such as Christians in North Nigeria and in Pakistan. We believe this is possibly the reason God has called us to be their voice, to encourage and care for them. When it comes to aid and support, many of these Christians are falling through the cracks and rarely, if ever receive any relief. We call them ‘the invisibles’, as we are surprised what little interest is shown even in detailed reports we’ve shared about them, and the amazing testimonies of their incredible faith. Testimonies that would inspire the entire Body of Christ to endure and have hope, even in the most intense trials.

Due to our work with Pakistani Christians, we are very aware of the crisis situation for those seeking asylum with the UNHCR in Thailand. We are in contact with them, everyday. Living conditions for many is horrific to say the least. They are often arrested by the police as illegals. The Thai government does not recognize the asylum seeker certificates given to them by the UNHCR.

A few years ago, I met Wilson Chowdry of the British Pakistani Christian Association(BPCA), who was advocating for Christians in Pakistan. In May, he went to Thailand to see the condition of Pakistani Christians for himself. What he found was heartbreaking and knew he had to start a humanitarian mission to help.  Recently through him, we were able to secure urgent aid for a Pakistani family. By the end of the month, Voice of the Persecuted voted to begin Project 133 Thailand to aid some of the families that have been assessed with the greatest need. Based on the immensity of the crisis and so many asking for help, at times we can feel overwhelmed wondering how to proceed. On Tuesday evening, we prayed for the Lord to guide us to be good stewards in this mission and direct how we should serve. You see, each time we have stood at the foot of the mountain unable to navigate the impossible, we’ve handed it over completely to God and He has never failed to answer!

Yesterday morning, I received a message from Wilson about the Pakistani Christians who were arrested by Thai authorities and taken to the Central Jail. What transpired over the next few hours was nothing short of a miracle. What seemed impossible for one, God quickly brought 5 together united in the Body to fulfill His purposes and work a miracle for those suffering in His name! Read Wilson’s report of this God inspired collaboration below.

(BPCA) On Wednesday 6th October, Royal Thai police arrested 26 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers, including children, from an area called Pracha Songkhro 28 in Bangkok. The terrified families were arrested very late at night from a condo called Phasuk mansion, taken to Huai Khwang police station and from there will eventually be transferred to the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC). Due to an extremely slow processing time none of these suffering families have ever been assessed for asylum determination by the UNHCR, and in fact many of them have assessment interviews scheduled for up to two years from now, a dismaying and unacceptable delay which has left them extremely vulnerable.

Our officer in Thailand, Christian Malik, called Pastor Joshua who was amongst the victims. He described the desperate conditions they are facing inside the IDC:

“We have been in the police station since yesterday evening and we have not yet eaten any food. The younger children have been sobbing for milk and we have no provisions, this is an alarming situation. We are all having to cope with the trauma of being locked up despite not believing we are criminals”.

Pastor Joshua spoke of their hope in God and their undying belief that God will help them. He said :

“We continue worshipping and praying, it gives us confidence and enables us to bear witness among the non-believers. We hope to rescue and baptise the lost souls inside the IDC.”

Christian contacted legal aid representatives at Asylum Access, an NGO working in Thailand, to see how we could help. They explained that the system was slow and and rigid:

“The immigration police undertake sweeps in asylum communities across Bangkok during the first 10 days of every month. There is no mechanism in place to rescue these victims they simply have to go through the legal process”.

Christian Malik described the situation faced by arrested victims. He said:

“Children have been locked up along with their parents and appallingly there is no provision of milk for babies and scarce food provision. It is completely inhumane. Families have been taken from their makeshift homes leaving doors wide open, which inevitably results in the loss of all their savings and belongings. Living in cramped cells is demoralising, and after even a short time of being packed in with so many other detainees contagious disease is rampant”.

We are so thankful to God that working with the Jubilee Campaign; Voice of the Persecuted; TrotB Ministries and the Farrukh Saif Foundation; the BPCA has been able to raise the necessary funds to pay the overstay court fines for 12 of the asylum seekers.

A few of those detained declined help, deciding instead to take a risk and endure Central Jail with the hopes of somehow raising the necessary funds to bribe Thai police into releasing them, thus avoiding detainment in the IDC and needing to raise funds for bail. Paying the overstay fine prevents a person going to Central Jail, but bail still needs to be paid at a later date to avoid further detention in the IDC.

The costs of paying the fines would have been a huge burden on any of our charities individually, but by breaking convention and proving charities can work together, we have successfully helped the traumatised victims.

Lois Kanalos of Voice of the Persecuted said:
“Praise God! He achieved the impossible again, leaving no doubt who is behind us.”

Paying this fine prevents these families from being moved for 35 days to the horrific Central Jail where they would be placed in the general prison population amongst rapists and murderers. The men are restrained naked in shackles, their heads shaved, and women are made to remove their underwear and jump up and down to show they have nothing concealed while men ogle. Mothers are separated from their children, and incredulously even from their babies who are then neglected and not provided any milk or nappies.  From Central Jail the detainees would again be moved to the deplorable IDC where ‘food’ consists of cucumber in hot water.

We know that our supporters will agree that this would be a horrendous fate to befall anyone, and being able to prevent it for these families is exhilarating for us at the BPCA, and we would love to be able to do much more. To free each individual from IDC we need to raise a further £1000 (approx. $1568USD) for each of them for their bail fees, which will entitle them to a two year protection from re-arrest.

Wilson also asked if you can help towards this payment for their freedom. Voice of the Persecuted would like to partner with BPCA to obtain protection for these Christians and keep them out of the inhumane conditions of the IDC. You can donate to either one of our missions for this cause. When using PayPal, please include Bail for Thailand in the note portion on the donation page. When mailing your gift, include the same in a note.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 

To all our supporters, Thank you for allowing God’s light to shine on those coming out of the jail, today. We were also able to cover 2 more families who’ve been suffering greatly with shelter and food for a month. May they give God all praise and know His hand is on them. May it not be us, His vessels, but God who is glorified in all we do.

Voice of the Persecuted uses your donation for those God has burdened on your heart. Whether it be Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand or another VOP aid project, you can be sure it will be used exactly where you want it to go. Be a part and come along on the mission! You go with us to these nations through your gifts.

Lois Kanalos, Founder/Advocate

UPDATE Oct. 10, 2015

Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.


Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

You may also mail your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183


SYRIA – Jihadists release video of the execution of three Assyrian hostages


(Agenzia Fides) – Three of the Assyrian Christians in the valley of Khabur held hostage by jihadists of the Islamic State (Daesh) were subjected to capital punishment by their kidnappers. The video of the execution was released on the jihadi website. In the video, the three Assyrian Christians appear on their knees, dressed in the “usual” orange jumpsuits in a desert area, and are killed with gunshot wounds to the neck from three hooded executioners. Each of the three Assyrian, before being killed, identified themselves by repeating their names and village of origin: Audisho Enwiya and Assur Abraham – from the village of Tel Jazeera – and Basam Michael, from the village of Tel Shamiram.

After their execution, the video ends with three other Assyrians on their knees and in orange jumpsuits in front of the bodies of the three executed. They also reveal their names and village of origin, and one of them added in Arabic, pointing to the bodies of the three Assyrian already killed, “our fate will be the same as these, if you do not follow the correct procedures for our release”.

The execution – warn the creators of the macabre video – took place on the morning of 23 September, the day when Muslims commemorate the “Feast of Sacrifice” (Eid al-Adha).

The three murdered men were part of the group of about 230 Assyrian Christians that the jihadists of Daesh have held hostage since the end of February, when the jihad offensive reached the Christian villages in the valley of the river Khabur. The place of their detention in all probability is still in the al-Shaddadi area, stronghold of Daesh, 60 kilometers from Hassaké. The message conveyed in the video is clear and fierce: the ransom demanded for the release of Christian prisoners still has not been paid, and the executions will continue until the sum requested is paid.

In the following stages of the collective kidnapping, jihadists demanded 100 thousand dollars in exchange for the release of each hostage. Before the answers of those who declared the impossibility of collecting such exorbitant amount of money, negotiations were interrupted. The video with the execution of the three poor Assyrians increases the concern about the fate of Christians in Khabur – including women and children still in the hands of jihadists. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 08/10/2015)

VOP Note:

  • Pray for those who remain hostage to be freed.
  • Pray for their courage and that they will endure.
  • Pray for their families who are losing hope.
  • Pray all may be comforted.
  • Pray for strengthening of faith
  • Pray for the lost


Egypt to construct “Church of the Martyrs” to honor 20 slain Christians


Work will begin in the coming days in Minya on a church that was planned to honor the deaths of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians who died in a brutal sectarian attack by militants in Libya earlier this year.

Plans and licences for the ‘Church of the Martyrs’ have been finalised to begin the work, head of the Samalout municipality in Minya said, as reported by MENA state news. Major General Gamal Mubaral Qinawy confirmed that the church will be built in the village of Al-Awar, in the district of Samalout.

Qinawy said that work on the construction of the church will begin in the coming days, with the project having secured EGP 5m so far, out of a total required cost of EGP 10m. The rest of the money will be collected while construction is underway. He noted that the work was initially stalled due to a required licence from the Ministry of Agriculture.

In February, a video was published online by a Libyan militant group affiliated with the so-called “Islamic State” which showed the beheading of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians, and another African Christian.

The Coptic Egyptians were captured on two separate occasions from the Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte between December and January. Read more

SYRIA – Archbishop Hindo ” McCain’s disturbing words on anti-Assad rebels armed by the CIA”


Mideast Syria

(Agenzia Fides) – “US Senator John McCain protested saying that the Russians are not bombing the positions of the Islamic State, but rather the anti-Assad rebels trained by the CIA. I find these words are disturbing. They represent a blatant admission that behind the war against Assad there is also the CIA”. This is what Syrian Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo says to Agenzia Fides with regards to recent developments in the Syrian conflict, marked by the direct intervention of Russian military forces against the positions of the jihadi militias.

“Western propaganda”, said Archbishop Hindo “keeps talking about moderate rebels, who do not exist”. According to Syrian Catholic Archbishop, “there is something very disturbing about all this: there is a superpower that since September 11 protests because the Russians hit the militias of al-Qaeda in Syria. What does it mean? Al-Qaeda is now a US ally, just because in Syria it has a different name? But do they really despise our intelligence and our memory?”

In the interview with Fides, Archbishop Hindo repeats that “the Syrians will decide if and when Assad has to go away, and not the Daesh or the West. And it is certain that if Assad goes away now, Syria will become like Libya”. Syrian Archbishop launches a warning: “We have received terrible news from the city of Deir al Zor, which has been besieged by Daesh for a long time. There is no more food in town, and the population is literally starving. We need to do something immediately, before it is too late”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 02/10/2015)

PAKISTAN: Christian girls kidnapped and raped by Muslims – Human Rights of Minorities Still Unprotected

pakistan christian prays

Pakistani christian girl praying

(Voice of the Persecuted) Two Christian girls were kidnapped and raped by a group of Muslim men. Two of the criminals were arrested, three are still at large in the city of Jaranwala in Punjab.

The victims are defended by Christian lawyers, who reported these incidents to Agenzia Fides. Another case regards a 13-year-old Christian girl, who was kidnapped and raped. The third case reported to Fides concerns two girls abducted and abused by a group of human traffickers who forced them into prostitution, always in Punjab.

The phenomenon of girls of religious minorities kidnapped, raped and in some cases, forced to Islamic marriage, is endemic in Pakistan and, according to Fides sources, affects about one thousand girls every year. It is part of the condition of subordination of women in Pakistani society, especially in rural areas, but women belonging to religious minorities are doubly vulnerable. Notes a source of Fides, given that Muslim men feel they are guaranteed impunity in committing such abuse and are often backed by the police and the judiciary. We too have heard this by our contacts as a sure cause of the ongoing rise of abuse.

Pakistan grossly lacks protection of human rights for women, children and religious minorities, which subjects them to outrageous cruelty.Horrific violence is perpetrated against women, teens and young girls (including kidnapping, torture, rape, forced marriages), discrimination against religious minorities, force conversions, the misuse of blasphemy law, modern-day slavery through the illegal practice of bonded labor, sectarian violence—targeted mob killings and deadly attacks on Christians and other religious minorities.

Last November, in response to the barbaric murder of a Christian couple thrown into a burning furnace by an enraged Muslim mob, VOP wrote a letter to the U.S. government and the United Nations to pressure the Pakistani government to take action. Globally, many have condemned the heinous acts of violence against Christians and religious minorities in Pakistan.  We’ve yet to see an improvement by the Pakistani government for their protection, nor firm punishments put in place to deter perpetrators from violence. The abusers are often released and never face any type of criminal charges.

Christians continue to languish in prisons on controversial charges of blasphemy against Islam, which potentially carries the death penalty. Such is the internationally known case of Asia Bibi, a mother of 5 sentenced to death for charges of blasphemy she maintains are false. Obvious discrimination has been shown in her case.

Religious political parties have been known to squash the government’s intentions to amend or repeal discriminatory laws, with threats of boycotts and countrywide violent protests. These religious parties are mainly silent of persecution against minorities, or the severe humiliation and abuse of Pakistani women and children. Religious political parties are equally responsible for the plight of human rights, as part of the democratic system and having more influence in the country. Plain and simple, they must be held accountable for their role in advancing and securing human rights for all Pakistani citizens.

Countries most frequently cited for the most aggressive laws banning free expression are Saudi Arabia, China and Pakistan.

Freedom of religion is a cornerstone right for all other fundamental human rights. It must be advanced, and vigorously guarded everywhere in the world. Fierce protection of the rights of women and children must also be implemented in all nations. Until then, the violent rape of these two Christian girls will continue to be reported again and again against others. We will also continue to see more minorities leaving to seek safety in other nations further burdening immigration departments. Many of these asylum seekers never wanted to leave their families and homeland, they were forced. Special exceptions should be made for Christian asylum seekers in Western nations…they’re running out of safe places where their human rights will be protected.

Let us pray for those without human rights, rights that we in the West often take for granted. And please, don’t remain silent. Let us speak out to encourage others to pray. Let us be their VOICE and wake up the world to this abuse.

Voice of the Persecuted

Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.


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Christians in Syria Struggle to Survive amid Terrors


Many Syrian refugees have opted for life on the streets of foreign countries, such as this family in Istanbul, Turkey, rather than the horrors of war. (Morning Star News)

Pastor caught between obligations to ministry and to family.

(Morning Star News) – His 6-year-old daughter still wakes up screaming, more than three years after the sounds and sights of war first gave her night terrors.

At least a few times each week, she wakes up with her muscles clenched, her head thrown back and her mouth open, screaming. Her father, a pastor in western Syria, had already taken his family and fled to another city in Syria after her terrors began, only to find that the war followed them there. Now they live in the quiet – for now – city of Sweida, but the night terrors still come.

“Doctors told us this is just from the fear,” he said. “We rely on the Lord.”

The pastor, whose name is withheld for security reasons, and his family typify the many Christians scrambling to survive in Syria. With an estimated 700,000 of Syria’s pre-war population of 1.4 million Christians having already fled, he too harbors the question, “Should I flee my country, and if so, when and where should I go?”

In a country where the Islamic State (IS) is carving out a caliphate with atrocities committed against those who don’t swear allegiance to it, it is a high-stakes question. In an unnamed village outside Aleppo, according to Christian Aid Mission, which assists indigenous Christian workers in their native countries, Islamic State militants on Aug. 28 crucified four Christians, including a 12-year-old boy, and beheaded eight others in separate executions. The boy was the son of a Syrian ministry team leader who had planted nine churches.

“In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam,” Christian Aid reported. “When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion.”

They were killed for refusing to return to Islam after embracing Christianity, as were the other eight aid workers, including two women, according to Christian Aid. The eight were taken to a separate site in the village and asked if they would return to Islam. After refusing to renounce Christ, the women, ages 29 and 33, were raped before the crowd summoned to watch, and then all eight were beheaded.

They prayed as they knelt before the Islamic State militants, according to the ministry leader Christian Aid assists, who spoke with relatives and villagers while visiting the site.

“Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord’s Prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus,” the ministry director told Christian Aid. “One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!’”

Their bodies were hung on crosses for display after they were killed, he added.

All Syrians are suffering in the war, but Christians are exposed to greater risks because of their outsider status within Syria, according to human rights activists. Even before war broke in 2011, the country was divided into numerous ethno-religious factions. Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Kurds all vied with each other and with the Alawites, a sect of Shia Islam of which President Bashar al-Assad is a member.

Almost all the sects have long-standing hostilities toward the Christians, but that aggression was held at bay in the name of public order for decades by the ruling Assad family. When myriad armed factions rose up against Assad, the Christians lost their protector and had to navigate old prejudices alone.

Ever-shifting alliances among groups intent on securing a beneficial position added to Christians’ problems. Militia groups, including the nascent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now known as the Islamic State, attacked church buildings and Christians along with their property.

This new reality became evident soon after the pastor in Sweida moved back to his hometown of Kharaba; an Islamic militia group attacked Christians, threw them out of their homes and replaced them with 500 Muslim families.

“My family in Kharaba faced some attacks, and my house in Kharaba was taken by Jabhat al-Nusra,” he said. “They took the keys from me. All of us, my uncles’ families, my family, my sister’s family and my brother’s family faced attacks in our home village, Kharaba, which was at one time 100 percent Christian.”

After the attacks, 85 percent of the Christians fled Kharaba. Only 70 Christian families remained, and they are dominated by the militia and the Muslims they brought into the village. Even now, the pastor said, no one is allowed to open the church building in the town, ring its bell or hold worship services there.

The pastor, who continued leading a church group in Daraa, was also leading another church group in Kharaba. After eight months in Kharaba, he was asked to temporarily lead an additional church in Sweida. The pastor of that church told him he would return in five months.

“I kept doing that for a month, but the situation in Kharaba got worse, and I had to take my family and move to Sweida,” the pastor said. “The five months are finished, and now two and half years later, the pastor still hasn’t returned. He is not coming back and told me that later.”

The pastor moved to Sweida with his wife and three children, the youngest a toddler and the oldest in ninth grade. His traumatized middle daughter improved after they moved, but then he was faced with the hardships of living in a city isolated by war. The city is over-crowded. There are shortages of basic supplies, especially medical supplies, food and water. When staple items are available, they are extremely expensive. Finding a place to live is a problem. There are rolling blackouts, little gas for cars and scarce heating oil for homes.

In Sweida, about 25 miles north of Syria’s border with Jordan, most residents are Druze, who believe in a gnostic blend of several philosophies and religions. There is a small minority of Christians, mostly Greek Orthodox and Muslim Bedouins.

The Druze initially thought the Assad regime would protect them, but among them are elements both for and against Assad, and most recently they have formed armed groups under government eye to protect their land. They are willing to defend against attack from any party, but they don’t have sufficient weaponry.

Most of the militia groups around Sweida are from Jabhat al-Nusra, the Free Syrian Army or individual gangs from Bedouin tribes. IS hasn’t come to Sweida yet, but there have been reports of IS troops fighting in the province of Sweida, further filling the city with refugees. The pastor said that Sweida will be a target of the Islamic State: The militants consider the Druze loyal to the government, so IS will target them, especially as they are non-Muslims. Also, Druze women wear modern fashions, and the Druze generally are well educated and open to ideas that are anathema to Muslim extremists.

“We have some displaced people who fled from ISIS,” he said. “There are a lot of examples, but I can’t give names. We have some that were kidnapped, and others whose homes were taken from them. We have a family from Damascus who have no idea what happened to their home and farm and are living in a difficult situation.”

The pastor said that he doesn’t think there will be an attack to overrun the city anytime soon, but there have been car bombings.

“The general situation in Sweida is safe and OK, though there have been some individual cases such as kidnapping or individual crimes, but they have to do with the overall situation of the country,” he said. “For example, the last incident was a month and half ago, when a Catholic priest and a friend of mine named Tony al-Botros, was kidnapped and released about 10 or 15 days ago. He was kidnapped for about a month, and then a ransom was paid and that’s why he was released.”

When the civil war originated in 2011 out of a series of protests, Syrians waited, assuming that the conflict would be over in months. But as it became evident that the parties were in a stalemate and the brutality of the fighting increased exponentially, people started fleeing. When IS took over wide swaths of territory, a wave of refugees fled the country. More than 4 million of Syria’s pre-war population of 22.5 million people are estimated to have left.

First the rich left, and then the middle class. Now the people fleeing Syria are the most desperate, the destitute and the chronically ill. Faced with all the hardships, the pastor also has considered leaving. Because he carries the burden of ministering to three church groups in three different cities, though, he feels the weight of responsibility and won’t leave them.

But if God opened a door to leave and arrangements were made to keep the ministries running, he would likely leave, he said.

“In the past two months, because of all the difficulties we were going through, we have been thinking if there is a chance to leave Syria, we will,” he said. “The situation now doesn’t show any hope but hints to getting worse in the future in Sweida.”

Oregon Massacre: Singling Out Christians for Murder Is Standard Practice among Islamic Jihadis


(Raymond Ibrahim) [Thursday], an Oregon gunman curiously singled out Christians during rampage:


A woman who claimed to have a grandmother inside a writing class in Snyder Hall, where a portion the massacre unfolded, described the scene in a tweet.

“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” she wrote. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs. My grandma just got to my house, and she was in the room. She wasn’t shot, but she is very upset.

For the record, there is a precedent here:  Whenever Islamic terrorists raid large centers where Muslims and Christians are intermingled — especially universities — they routinely separate Muslims from Christians, before massacring the latter.

For example, last April in Kenya, gunmen from the Somali Islamic group, Al Shabaab—“the youth”—stormed Garissa University, singled out Christian students, and murdered them, some beheaded.  Read here for more examples.

VOP Note: It was found that the shooter in Oregon belonged to an online group who shared common interests in “magick and the occult.” Under the category of “Religious Views,” he wrote that he was not religious but “spiritual” and was interested in “pagan” and “wicca.”


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