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40 Pakistani Christians freed after almost 5 years in prison on trial for ‘terrorism’

Location near where a mob burnt alive two men in angry reaction to twin church suicide bomb attacks in Youhanabad, March 2015. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

(World Watch Monitor) Forty Pakistani Christians, who’ve been on trial for the murder of two men during a violent protest following Easter suicide attacks on two churches in Youhanabad – a majority-Christian area in Lahore – have been freed by the Lahore Anti-Terrorism Court. Two others, arrested with them, have already died, allegedly due to a lack of access to medical treatment.

The twin suicide bombings, on 15 March 2015, which killed 17 and injured another 80, were claimed by a splinter group of the Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. The death toll would have been much higher if church volunteers on ‘security duty’ had not acted quickly to defend worshippers.

In riots that erupted following the bomb blasts, a mob killed two Muslim men whom they believed had been involved in the attacks. In the end 42 Christians went on trial for their murder, but two died in prison before 2018. The other 40 have been waiting for their appeal to be heard by the Lahore High Court. Meantime, the group have reached a financial settlement with the families of the two men, which under Pakistani law allows for all their acquittal.

The Anti-Terrorism Court announced the verdict on 29 January, acquitting all, including those who had died, after recording the statements of the victims’ families, who told the court that they had arrived at an agreement with the suspects and would have no objections over their acquittal.

A local reacted: “As we give thanks as Christians in Pakistan, one cannot get away from the brutal realities of what this means. The journey of physical, emotional and spiritual healing ahead is a long one. Pray for the right people to be positioned alongside them.

“We also reflect on the lives and deaths of the two [who died in prison]. If they had not, the release of the 40 would not have happened. Their deaths acted as catalysts and became an advocacy bridge for pushing for action and justice”.

Background

In 2015, the Christians of Yohanabad had been angry in the immediate aftermath of the twin suicide attacks on their churches because in 2014, Pakistan’s Supreme Court had ordered the creation of a special police force to protect minority worship places – but this had been later scrapped. Punjab Human Rights and Minority Affairs Minister, Khalil Tahir Sandhu, had said “there was no need of raising another force for this purpose” because the protection of worship places “was quite satisfactory in the Punjab and reasonable security was being provided”.

Napoleon Qayyum, who lived 100 yards from one of the bombed churches, said police were not providing security to the church: “The local police station had been requested to provide a walk-through gate for security, but no such measure was put in place.”

A Catholic nun, Sister Arsene, who had reached one church 30 minutes after it had been bombed, tried to explain to the BBC why the subsequent anger had spilled out of control. “We’re treated as second class citizens. We’d like the government to give Christians our due place and due right. That’s why the angry youths reacted.”

At the time, there were conflicting reports about the two men set upon by the angry mob. Some reports said the two carried weapons, other reports said they had been firing them.

The two, who had been arrested and put into a police vehicle, were apparently forced out of the vehicle, beaten up and eventually burned alive on Ferozepur Road. Some social media reported they were suspects thought to have attacked the churches. Other reports said they were, separately, planning to attack another small church in Khaliqnagar, a Christian settlement next to Yahounabad.

However, some days later, they were finally identified as Muhammad Naeem, a local glasscutter, and Babar Nauman, a hosiery worker from Sargodha; it appeared that they had had nothing to do with the church attacks.

News of their murder filled the Pakistani media, somewhat overshadowing the deaths of the 17 Christians and injury to 80 more. As gory images of their lynching ran on TV and more details emerged, for many Pakistanis earlier sympathy with the Christian community slowly turned into animosity. One young Muslim commented on a Facebook post:

“Christians (Chuhras) have set on fire two Muslims today. I am only sad about their death.” (“Chuhra” is a pejorative term often used to describe Christians).

Easter 2015 suicide attacks repeated Easter 2016, but foiled in 2017

“The Tehrik-e-Taliban Jamaatul Ahrar accepts responsibility for the [2015] attacks on the churches in Lahore,” its spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan later told reporters. “We promise that until an Islamic system is put into place in Pakistan, such attacks will continue. If Pakistan’s rulers think they can stop us, they can try.”

In March 2016, on Easter Sunday, the Pakistani Christian community experienced the deadliest terror attack in the history of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous, and most Christian, state when the same Jamaat-ul-Ahrar bombed a popular children’s park in Lahore as families thronged to enjoy their holiday. At least 76 died, many of them children, with over 300 injured.

(Christians make up just 2 per cent of overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan. They are somewhat more prevalent in Lahore, which has about 10 million people, about 5 per cent of whom are Christian).

At Easter 2017, Pakistan’s security forces said they prevented a “major” terror attack on Christians in Lahore over the same weekend. The police caught the attackers in time, killing one suspect, Ali Tariq, and making two arrests during a Good Friday raid at the Punjab Housing Society in Lahore. Two suicide vests and four grenades were recovered from the scene.

Earlier, police had released a memo warning the city’s residents: “Reliable sources have informed us that two suicide bombers of an unidentified terrorist organisation have entered Lahore with the intention of carrying out attacks in churches or parks on 16/17 April. They have been equipped with suicide jackets and will target areas where the presence of Christians will be high.”

One of those arrested was a 20 year old woman, Naureen Leghari, who’d been to join Islamic State group in Syria. The medical student confessed to returning to Lahore with the intention of carrying out a suicide bombing against a church during Easter 2017, according to an interview broadcast on local television.

Police later released her, saying that she had undergone rehabilitation and that IS had deceived her.

Prosecutor offered 40 their freedom if they converted to Islam

In May 2017, it came to light that the Lahore deputy district public prosecutor Syed Anees Shah had told the 40 Christians that they would be freed if they converted to Islam. He was later found guilty of proselytism and suspended.

Shah was criticised for his alleged comment by Malik Muhammmad Ahmed Khan, then-special assistant to the chief minister of Punjab, who said the offer “is not just shameful but a heinous crime … We are all set to end the extremist mindset and steer the country to a tolerant and moderate society. Therefore, we cannot tolerate anyone in the government machinery with this mindset”.

Pakistan’s Senate Special Committee on Human Rights said almost two years ago that “terrorism charges against the [Christians] arrested should be dropped and they should be tried in civil courts”, as Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.

At that time (May 2018), then-Senator Farhatullah Babar said: “[Three] years ago, two churches were targeted in Youhanabad, as a result of which [many] Christian citizens died. People in the area conducted protests to condemn the deaths of their fellow citizens – as is their right. These people were charged with terrorism and have been rotting in jail.”

In September, 2013, a suicide bomber had blown himself up outside a 130-year-old church in Peshawar after Sunday Mass, killing around 80.

The group’s acquittal came on the same day that the most well-known Pakistani Christian, Asia Bibi, published her biography (in French only, ‘Enfin Libre’ (Free at Long Last), written with French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet, author of two previous books with the woman who survived 9 years in prison on false charges of blasphemy.

“You know my story from the media, perhaps you have tried to put yourself in my place to understand what I suffered,” Asia Bibi was quoted saying in a press release announcing the new book. “But you are far from understanding my day to day existence in prison, or my new life, and that is why I tell you everything in this book.”

VOP Note: The public launch for the new book will happen on 1 February. Translation into other languages will soon be available as well.

PAKISTAN – Suicide Bombers attack Christian Community in Peshawar: Christian killed

 

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PAKISTAN 9/2/2016 (Voice of the Persecuted): Four suicide bombers were killed when they attacked a Christian neighborhood “Christian colony” in the city of Peshawar around 6am on Friday morning. According to Fides Agency, it began when Samuel Masih, a Christian and security guard at the church, was killed by the terrorists. They also reported two other Christians, employed as civilian security officers, were injured. Unconfirmed reports claim the group intended to attack military and school targets, but chose to attack the Christian Colony instead.

Contacted by Fides, Fr. Riaz,  a Catholic priest and pastor for five years in Peshawar, recounts those moments:

“The four militants were stationed outside the Colony. They waited for the gate to open and allowed Samuel to get out, who had to go to work. Then they started shooting, killing Samuel and entered the colony. In the crossfire, our two civilian security guards were injured. But they gave the alarm and called for reinforcements. soldiers arrived who continued the gunfight with the terrorists. Two of them were killed by the army. Two others blew themselves up, since all four had suicide vests, destroying a house where they had taken shelter. But there were no other victims”.

“I went to the spot where the attack took place, people are afraid, we are mourning Samuel’s death. About thirty Christian families live in the colony, and among these ten are Catholic. They are simple people, most of them work as cleaners in public offices. They are people with a strong faith: we will overcome this”.

“The Taliban indiscriminately hit civilian and military targets, schools and families: they want to destroy peace and have visibility, threatening institutions. We will remain united in protecting social and religious peace. As Christians, we will do our part, praying and working peacefully, building peace in our daily lives every day”concludes Fr. Riaz.

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2013 All Saints Church bombing victims

The attack comes three weeks short of the third anniversary, September 22, of an attack by twin suicide bombers on the Christian community at the All Saints Church in Peshawar. 600 parishioners were having lunch on the front lawn of the church when two explosions occurred, leaving the church scattered with body parts. TTP Jundullah, linked to the Taliban, said it had carried out the attack on the Christian congregation, saying, “We will continue our attacks on non-Muslims on Pakistani land.” More than 100 people were killed and over 150 injured. Outside the church,  one of the suicide bombers was stopped by the police and detonated his explosives there. The other detonated the bomb inside the church.

Earlier in March 2013 an entire Christian community in Lahore was burned to the ground after one of the residents was accused of blasphemy.

On March 15 2015, two blasts took place at 2 churches during Sunday service in Youhanabad, a town of Lahore, Pakistan. At least 15 people were killed and seventy were wounded in the attacks. The bombers tried to enter the churches but were stopped by the guards at the gate and blew themselves up.

This year on Easter Sunday, suicide bombers attacked a park in Lahore as Christian families gathered after church services. At least 74 died, including 29 children: the group said it had “targeted Christians celebrating Easter”.

The above accounts are only a portion of attacks against Pakistani Christians.

Please pray for the injured and the grieving family of Samuel Masih. Please remember Pakistani Christians in your prayers and pray changes will come for their security and protection. Pray for peace and their persecutors.

 

 

AFGHANISTAN – The closure of schools increases the recruitment of children on behalf of the Taliban

Child soldier Afghanistan Photo: Robin Kirk www.flickr.com

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Photo: Robin Kirk http://www.flickr.com

(Agenzia Fides) – The escalation of conflicts in the Afghan province of Helmand has forced the closure of more than 150 schools, leaving about 100,000 students exposed to the recruitment by the Taliban. For about two months a constant battle raged between government forces and the Taliban for the control of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, which the insurgent group almost took over in October 2015. Since then thousands of troops have been deployed, but only with the result of bringing the Taliban to a distance of 17 km from the city center. The rebels now control parts of Babaji, an area on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, and have consolidated their positions in the neighboring districts of Nad-e-Ali and Marjah.

The education system is paying a high price due to the conflicts. More than 50 schools in the districts around Lashkar Gah were closed for nine weeks because of the continuous fighting, leaving almost 30,000 students without classes, according to a statement from sources of the provincial Ministry for education. 104 other institutions in other districts, bringing together 70,000 students, were closed last year. The lack of opportunities for education and work have left few options for young people, and the Taliban are exploiting the situation by distributing pamphlets and audio cassettes, encouraging young people to join them, giving them money and weapons. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 18/12/2015)

  • Pray for Christians, many who worship in secret, in Afghanistan.
  • Pray for their families members who are often their greatest threat.
  • Pray the young will see the darkness of joining the Taliban and turn away.
  • Pray for those who are taken by force.
  • Pray for the God’s presence to awaken many.

Pakistan’s Future Generation Learning How To Combat Terror?

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(I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel Of Christ) It’s been 2 months since the world cried with the Mothers and people of Pakistan.  Two months since the vicious, ruthless attack on precious children.  The world’s next generation.  The generation that the world held high hopes for to combat inequality and evil.  The attack saw 145 killed, 132 of which were students, ranging from 8-18 years of age.  The School is one of the 146 school campuses established and managed by the Pakistani Army’s Army Public Schools & Colleges System.  

It has been reported that a commander of the TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) claimed responsibility for the Taliban.   TTP is an umbrella organization of various Islamist militant groups.  And recently the Taliban in Pakistan has pledged allegiance to ISIS. It’s also known that President Obama and the west are reluctant to call the Taliban a terrorist organization.  Pakistan lifted it’s ban on executions to retaliate against the Taliban.   It’s hard to obtain clear numbers of the Taliban executed by Pakistan.  Some say 1oo have been hanged.  Pakistan media reported that 500 were targeted for their part in the massacre.

And amid all the protests, grief, shock and anger what is Pakistan doing now to protect the Children and the schools.  The Students of Pakistan have vowed that they will not let Terrorism win.  In their quest to prepare, they have hired security guards, people have volunteered to join the security force.  They have new policies that would aide in getting vital information to schools of imminent attacks, and emergency initiatives.  They have been preparing their students both secular and religious in emergency procedures such as protection, evacuation and emergency aide.  In one instance we found that the teachers are holding emergency drills where the students hear the alarm and either evacuate or go under their desks.  And how to handle fire extinguishers and carry others to safety.   They are taught to remain calm even when wounded, and teachers are even arming themselves.  Security guards have been employed by all, and they are preparing.  A stark contrast to the emergency drills here in the US.  We prepare for weather related disasters mostly.  The school attacks like Columbine have brought in new emergency preparedness also such as the new texting system that allows school officials to warn of attacks.  But to prepare for the attack that was witnessed in Peshawar is heartbreaking.

The school that was attacked has since reopened.  Watch here.

Both parents and students are committed to education despite the evil that attempts to destroy not only the hopes and dreams of Pakistan Youth but the country.  I wish I could say that for the Christians of Pakistan as they continue to live in fear for their lives.  It was just a few weeks before this attack when a Christian Couple were brutally tortured and burned alive in a brick kiln where they worked, for their faith in Christ.

Brick Kiln Site where Christian Couple Burned Alive, Christians have turned this into a memorial for them, with frequent visits to pray, and remember.  Photo: VOP

Brick Kiln Site where Christian Couple Burned Alive, Christians have turned this into a memorial for them, with frequent visits to pray, and remember. Photo: VOP

And then remember Asia Bibi a Christian woman still imprisoned in Pakistan awaiting her death sentence for drinking from a Muslim well.  They said this is blasphemy.

During the protests in Pakistan against the Taliban, and the recent protests there also against the Charlie Hebdo cartoon you can see Muslims and Christians alike protesting.

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Muslim and Christians alike mourned the death of the 132 children massacred by the Taliban.  But even in tragedy this fails to strengthen community to band together to fight evil, injustice and inequality.  Christians still run, still flee persecution even death.  Pakistan still has a hatred for America and the west.  I’ve asked the question before in regards to Boko Haram in Nigeria who tortures, kidnaps and rapes children, and it applies here too.  “If not for the children than when?”  If not for the children and future generations of Pakistan when will it be enough?  When will they send a message to the future of Pakistan (the youth) that hatred is wrong.  Hatred of someone just because they believe differently is wrong.  Is that not what this evil is that permeates the veins of the Taliban, and all groups like them?  Muslim or Christian, anyone in fact that believes different than they do is targeted and hated?  When will it stop.  If not for children, when?

Nigerian Christians Cry Out For World Intervention

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(Voice of the Persecuted)As you know we have reported that Boko Haram recently released a new video threatening all of Northeast Africa.  Several threats were made against, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.  Threats made by the leader showcasing their huge array of weapons, and trumpeting their pride in how far they have come “from machetes and sticks”  to now, boasting they would rule. Their recent presence in Niger inciting protests against a cartoon sent significant shock waves through the Christian Communities.  Image after image of Christians continuing to worship in darkness show a contrast to the fear that this murderous group is attempting to instill in the world.  But in reality  while the world remains silent, the Black flag of Islam is controlling large swath’s of land.  Larger than many in the world seem to realize.

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) – “Boko Haram tried to enter Maiduguri twice last weekend: the first time on Friday 23 and the second, Sunday 25 January”, reports Agenzia Fides. His Exc. Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme, Bishop Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, in northern Nigeria where the Boko Haram fighters tried to enter after having taken possession of other cities in the north-east of the Country.
“The guerrillas of Bolo Haram were rejected by the military and the civilian militia that defend the city. The fights were very intense. Boko Haram has lost several men. At the moment the situation in Maiduguri appears calm”, says to Fides Mgr. Doeme, who states that he is in Damaturu (Yobe State capital, whose territory falls within the diocese presided over by the Bishop) on a pastoral visit, although his collaborators keep him constantly updated on the situation in Maiduguri.
“We find ourselves in a very dangerous and difficult moment” continues the Bishop. “We risk seeing Boko Haram conquer the entire north-east before the end of the election, unless foreign troops intervene”, said Mgr. Doeme, referring to the presidential elections to be held in mid-February and to the coordination of the military actions of neighboring Countries against Boko Haram, after the latest raids of Nigerian extremists in Cameroon and the conquest of the base of the international force of Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad (see Fides 09/01/2015).
“The situation is very complex and the first victims are innocent civilians”, concluded the Bishop of Maiduguri who implies the existence of some “saboteurs” and accomplices within the Nigerian army, who favor the advance of Boko Haram for political reasons. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 26/01/2015)

A recent report by CNN gained alot of criticism for portraying the government’s lack of concern, care and support of the military.  They spoke with soldiers and wives of soldiers, and their report shows soldiers having to buy their own uniforms, equipment and health care.  Widows of soldiers are ignored, with the government refusing to hear their pleas.

Northern Nigeria (CNN) :I didn’t want to ask the question. I could already guess the pain behind the answer.  “Do you think your husband is dead?”  Her mouth twists, contorting her young face, tears welling in her already reddened eyes.  “I don’t know… I pray to God to give him another chance,” she finally manages to stutter.

To watch the video click the above link.  It’s eye opening.  We also were skeptica,l so we sent it to someone on the ground for verification. Sadly, they confirmed this was true, saying there are many women in the same situation.  Their husbands missing or killed and the government refusing to open their cases.  Many women and children abandoned from a government their husbands swore to defend.   Many innocents on the run from Boko Haram finding little comfort. One critic of the above said that the media here in America wouldn’t dare to call out our military in that manner, but yet we have.  We have repeatedly called out our government for the way our veterans and their families are treated.

Boko Haram has devastated large areas of land.  Right under the noses of the African Government and military.

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Just how much territory do they control?  It’s been said that Boko Haram alone controls land the size of Belgium.  How could this happen?  How could the world allow this cancer to spread?  They seem to have underestimated the super highway that has been constructed right under their noses.  By uniting with ISIS, Al-shabob, Al-queda, Hezbollah, Hamas,  Taliban and Iran they have created this super highway of terror that reaches from Iran to the coast of Africa.  They receive funding and weapons with their own network of alliances that rival NATO.  That’s not hyperbole or an understatement.

While previewing this video for truth, we were told that one way for the Boko Haram to obtain weapons was to attack military bases where they receive intelligence from their connections in the military.  Until the world realizes the scope of the magnitude of what is happening these groups will thrive.  Again, their weapons, their intelligence, their support rivals that of NATO.  They have created this mammoth network all across the Middle East and Africa.  Look at Yemen and how quickly the government fell.

Despite all the violence, Christianity continues to grow in Nigeria.  The numbers of Christians in Nigeria has grown from 21.4% in 1953 to 49.3% in 2010.  Their faith is strengthened in the face of tribulation.  What is heartbreaking is the numbers of displaced.  Refugee camps are growing.

World Watch Monitor quotes a Nigerian Cleric :  What ISIS has done in Iraq, Boko Haram is doing in Nigeria.

World Watch Monitor also tells of the plight and anger of Christians at the Governments inability to care for or protect them.

The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria for the North Central Zone, Daniel Kadzai, said Christians in the north have lost confidence in the government’s ability to deal with the crisis.  ‘‘The Federal Government has toyed with the lives and limbs of the Christians in Northern Nigeria for political gains.  “There is no explanation the government can give as to why the Federal troops will run away from the towns prior to the attack on such towns by Boko Haram without putting up any resistance, if the government does not have a hand in the whole genocide on Northern Christians as is being speculated in the local and foreign media,’’ Kadzai said.

The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), based mainly in the northern part of the country, is the worst affected by the insurgency. Information released during the protest shows that the church has suffered heavy losses and damages over the 5 years of Boko Haram insurgency.  Over 8,000 of their members have been killed, while more than 700,000, mostly women and Children have been displaced and now scattered in places like Jos, Abuja, Kaduna and Yola. Some 270 churches have been razed completely by the insurgents.  Nigeria is ranked fourth on theGlobal Terrorism Index (GTI) for 2013, issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace. According to the index, more than 80 per cent of the lives lost to terrorists occurred in five countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.The institute says Boko Haram is one of the four most-active militant organisations along with the Islamic State, the Taliban and al Qaeda.  (More)

So you begin to see the magnitude of what is transpiring in Nigeria.  Why are the cries of the innocents unheeded?  We would like to know the answer to that.  Although recent attacks are ever stronger, the condemnation from world leaders and the UN are not.  No aid, no help, and nothing to stop the rampage.  Pray for Nigeria.

C. Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst

Voice of the Persecuted

Christmas: Solidarity With The Victims Of The Massacre In Peshawar

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Our hearts and prayers are with Pakistan as it mourns these precious souls.  One Pakistani Christian remarked as these events were unfolding, “they destroyed a generation.”

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – For Christians in Pakistan, Christmas 2014 will be marked by prayers and moments of solidarity for the victims of the massacre in Peshawar, where the Taliban killed more than 130 children in an army school. Many churches have set up altars with images of victims and lighted candles. Archbishop Joseph Coutts, President of the Episcopal Conference, has launched an appeal so that the Christian community reflects on the message of hope and peace that Christmas brings. In a message sent to Fides, Peter Jacob, a Catholic activist for human rights, reports that 11 parishes and several churches in the city of Lahore have decided to cancel or postpone until after January 1, some programs and events (Christmas carol concerts, shows, games) that were planned to celebrate Christmas. According to deacon Shahid Mehraj, of the Cathedral of Lahore, “there is pain and concern” over what is seen as “an attack on the future of Pakistan”.  At Christmas, he informs “we will dedicate a special candle lighting ceremony to those who lost their lives in the attack”. “Christmas brings a message of hope to the world. The birth of Christ was also marked by a massacre of innocent children by King Herod. In the context of this bloodshed, Christ was born as a symbol of hope”, he says, pointing out the similarities with the Pakistani context today. For this, he concludes, “now is a time to spread the message of love and brotherhood in Pakistan”.  Christians remember that Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born on December 25, also for this reason the country should reflect on his vision and the country that Jinnah dreamed: a united, open, tolerant, peaceful nation, free from hatred and violence. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 22/12/2014)

We also want to remember Asia Bibi & those imprisoned for their faith, and the Christians there who have lost their lives for their faith in Christ.  Remember our brothers and sisters still there facing persecution.   May we always remember that Christ is the light in this darkness, and always let that light shine through us.

Pray for Pakistan

  • Pray for God’s healing power
  • Pray for God’s mercy
  • Pray for the light of Christ to shine through this darkness
  • Pray for comfort, knowledge, wisdom and guidance

Credit:  Original photo from wiki-media commons By (Matthew Bowden http://www.digitallyrefreshing.com (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/148763) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons)

Voice of the Persecuted Mourns the Death of Children in Pakistan: “My Mother cried today.”

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(Voice of the Persecuted)Deeply saddened, we are still learning the magnitude of the slaughter of innocents in Pakistan, yesterday. A Taliban revenge attack for a military offensive against their safe havens. Reports claim that 148 have been killed and over 130 were children. And many were wounded. Since early yesterday morning, we have sat crying and praying for the survivors and victims of the Peshawar Army school attack. This is also the same city where a Taliban suicide bombing killed nearly 100 people after a church service at the All Saints Church in September 2013.

In agreement with this statement by Franklin Graham.  “What kind of evil perpetrates this kind of crime?”

He also said,

“We pray that God will comfort the families and that they would know the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ. We long for the second coming of the Lord Jesus, when he will gather those who follow Him. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NKJV)

We have spoken with our contacts in Pakistan and one Christian forced to flee the nation due to extreme persecution. They describe an emotional roller coaster upon hearing the news.  Grief, anger, revenge, shock and disbelief felt all at once.  They are asking the same question over and over, “Why?”

The attack has brought international outcry from France, Britain, and the US.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Sharif  visited Peshawar and said,

“My children have been targeted in the tragedy. He said the loss of innocent children is the loss of the nation.”

He also directed his Ministers to coordinate rescue operations and instructed them to secure the safety of the children at all costs.

Muhammad Sarwar Governor of Punjab said,

“I strongly condemn the attack on school children in Peshawar and offer my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. It is heart-rendering to see innocent lives being so brutally targeted. The barbarians will surely be brought to justice for such a callous act. This remorseful incident is a national tragedy and those who concocted this heinous plan are the murderers of humanity.”

And Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa told reporters, “This is not a human act.” “This is a national tragedy.”

We asked for a translation of a video where children were interviewed after the attack. They told us a boy was saying, “First they came inside, they went up to the roof of the school and started firing over there.” They explained this was for show that they (the militants) had conquered the place, in a gesture to say ‘this is now ours’.

One child recalled, “Then the teacher said to lay down on the floor and lock the doors.” They broke in while an army nurse or doctor was training for first aid class, they broke the doors then starting firing on all the children, killing them.”   While he was giving statements, he was visibly confused, scared and still living the trauma.

Another gave a testimony while hiding under a desk that all he saw were “big black boots bringing death”.

130+ mothers will not be able to sleep for many nights. It’s hard to imagine their suffering, such a senseless tragedy. An American Pakistani said, “My mother started crying when she heard the news.” Regardless of religion, many mothers in Pakistan and around the globe are crying with those who are grieving today.

A Christian from Pakistan shared the following poem with us. It was written by another Pakistani after the attack.  The word for ‘Mother’ in this poem is ‘Ammi’.

What was my fault?
I never hurt you, Never teased you
I dont even know who are you..
I knew villians are there,
But Ammi said they are never real
If they are, then where is the superman?
I also had a big gun
but that was plastic one…
I left it with my teddy,
Over the pillow of my Daddy
My teddy would miss me every night
And so will my batman and spiderman fight
Now, Please tell my Ammi to visit my permanent bed
Tell Ammi to sing me lullaby as she said
I had heard Teachers are never wrong or deceit
She told animal walks on Four but I saw animals walking on
Two Feet
By Ashish Chauhan

Voice of the Persecuted strong condemns this violent attack. We stand with the victims and pray for their wounds physically and mentally. We pray not only for Pakistani Christians, but all people of Pakistan. Praying for peace and equality for all. God bless you, Pakistan.

Pray with us for Pakistan:

Father we ask for your comfort, your light, & your peace. Peace that passes all understanding.  We lean on you in this time of darkness.  Father we know these precious soul’s are in your arms.  We ask that you bring comfort and peace to the parents and the families.  We ask for strength and courage.  Grant your mercy, Father. Show Your love and light to the people of Pakistan.  Hold this nation in your loving arms as they grieve for their children.  Father, this touches us all, our hearts are heavy, we can’t understand the suffering of such innocence.  But we will put our faith and our trust in you.  Hold them, Father and grant healing.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen.



Malala Yousafzai Receives Recognition From The World For Her Courage

I applaud this young woman, and pray for her continued strength and courage.  Her world recognition has been a long time coming.  Pray for the women and children of Pakistan and other Islamic nations.  Here are some facts about the persecution of women and those who persecute them.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

“While in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban became notorious internationally for their sexism. The stated aim of the Taliban was to create a “secure environment where the chasteness and dignity of women may once again be sacrosanct,”reportedly based on Pashtunwalibeliefs about living inpurdah.”   In a systematic segregation sometimes referred to as gender apartheid, women were not allowed to work, they were not allowed to be educated after the age of eight, and until then were permitted only to study the Qur’an.

  • Women seeking an education were forced to attend underground schools, where they and their teachers risked execution if caught.  They were not allowed to be treated by male doctors unless accompanied by a male chaperone, which led to illnesses remaining untreated. They faced public flogging and execution for violations of the Taliban’s laws.

It’s not only the Taliban, but the very name of another evil, demonic group actually means education is a sin.

  • Boko Haram is an Islamist group that has been active in Nigeria since 2009. The name of the group means “Western” or “non-Islamic” education is a sin. The group is active in the north of Nigeria, and wants to impose Islamic law as the only law in Nigeria.”

The world finally took notice of  the barbaric treatment of women by the Taliban, western government stepped in to help Malala.  She should have won the peace prize in 2009.  Her courage in facing the Taliban is enormous.  The Taliban of course is striking back by saying she is a product of Western governments coming against ‘believers.’  I’m grateful that the world stepped in to save Malala, but they have left millions of women in the middle east and other places in the hands of depraved nations and people.

Why does the UN remain silent on the persecution of women and children in these lands?  Why do women of the world concern themselves with things other than the real war on women?  There is a great war waging to destroy and persecute women and children, this war is as ancient as the Garden of Eden.  Satan has been attacking the product of mankind through this persecution of women since the beginning, and we still don’t get it.

Malala Yousafzai Makes History as Youngest Nobel Peace Prize Recipient – YouTube.

We applaud you Malala, and stand with you against this evil and barbaric treatment of women and children.

knowledge

 

 

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