The Voice of the Martyrs
Two Christian girls raped in Punjab, Pakistan
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Two Christian girls in Pakistan’s Punjab province were brutally raped in recent weeks. On July 22, a group of madrassa (Islamic school) students gang-raped a 12-year-old Christian girl in Gujar Khan, Rawalpindi district. A teacher who reportedly witnessed the rape stated:
“Three or four Christian girls were washing dishes near a pond…. These guys ran towards them, and the girls started running. One of them fell on the ground, and these madrassa students got hold of her and took her in the fields. I tried to stop them, but they were 15-16 in number.” Seven or eight of the boys reportedly then raped the girl while the others looked on. Before the attack began, the teacher overheard one of the students say, “We will teach these Christians a lesson they will never forget.” The Christian girl, whose name has been withheld, was left in the field until some villagers eventually took her home to her family. The girl’s father and the teacher have attempted to file a complaint but the officer in charge has refused to comply. Another officer has since admitted that they are under pressure from Muslim leaders and extremists to refrain from filing a report. The madrassa students had reportedly been harassing believers in the surrounding villages, beating and threatening Christian children to convert to Islam or leave the area.
A 16-year-old Christian girl, whose name has also been withheld, was raped by three men on July 21 in Farooqabad. The three men, who work for the same Muslim employer as her father, overpowered her while she was at home. They then raped her while threatening that they would shoot her in the forehead if she screamed for help. The next morning, the girl’s father, Ghafoor Masih, went to the police station to file a report but the Station House Officer Inspector refused his requests. However, due to pressure from a superior officer, the Inspector finally registered the complaint on July 29. While Ghafoor was on his way home from filing the report, two other Muslims who work for his employer reportedly intercepted and kidnapped him. The men took Ghafoor to their employer’s home where they and another employee shackled and tortured him, leaving him in critical condition. At last report, several of the perpetrators had been arrested. “Muslim landowners and their relatives see Christian girls or women as their chattel,” the national director of the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement said. “Such vicious incidents are not being stopped by the government, and day by day the rate of rapes of Christian girls is escalating instead of plunging.” (Source: Compass Direct)
Pray that the Lord will heal the physical, emotional and spiritual wounds of these two girls. Pray that their families will be a source of compassion and strength. Pray that those who perpetrated these violent attacks will repent and turn to the Lord for forgiveness. Pray that attacks on young Christian girls in Pakistan will stop. To post a prayer of solidarity for these two girls, please visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.
For more information on the plight of Pakistani believers, go to the Pakistan Country Report.
Christian evangelists acquitted in Tanzania
On August 12, a court in Tanzania acquitted two evangelists of “illegal preaching.” Eleutery Kobelo and Cecil Simbaulanga were arrested in October 2009 after Muslims invited them to participate in a religious debate. The Christians reported that no Muslims showed up at the site of the supposed inter-faith debate until they arrived with government security agents who charged them with “using religious sermons to incite Muslims and Christians into viewing each other with suspicion.” The accusers had claimed that the Christians’ message that Jesus is God had annoyed Muslims and therefore disrupted a peaceful coexistence between the two faiths. During the 10 months of hearings, the Muslims reportedly failed to show up in court to support their allegation of illegal preaching. “We are grateful that the court has done justice and made its ruling based on Tanzania’s constitution that allows for freedom of religion and assembly,” Eleutery shared. “We thank the Christians worldwide for praying for us.” (Source: Compass Direct)
Praise God that these Christians have been acquitted. Please continue to pray for Christians in Tanzania who face opposition for their faith. Pray that Eleutery, Cecil and believers throughout the country will confidently entrust themselves to Christ so that they can preach the gospel without hesitation (2 Timothy 1:7-12).
Update: Family permitted visit with imprisoned church leader in China
Alimujiang Yimiti, a Uyghur house church leader who was sentenced in 2009 to 15 years’ imprisonment for “providing state secrets to overseas organizations” (click here for more information), was permitted to visit with his family for 20 minutes on July 13. Alimujiang’s family was relieved to see him alive, as guards had repeatedly refused to allow them visits in recent weeks. During their meeting, Alimujiang confirmed that he had received his wife’s letters. However, only one of his letters has been delivered to his wife, and he warned her that she and the children should not expect to see more letters from him due to the difficulty he faced in sending them. (Source: ChinaAid)
Thank the Lord that Alimujiang was able to visit with his family. Pray that authorities will continue to allow the visits. Pray that Alimujiang will be released from prison. Pray that he and his family will rest in the knowledge that the Good Shepherd walks with them through this difficult time (Psalm 23).
Update: Christian exonerated of blasphemy charges in Pakistan
Rubina Bibi (25), a Pakistani Christian woman who has been imprisoned since March for blasphemy (click here for more information), was recently acquitted. Rubina was accused of blasphemy by a local Muslim shopkeeper following a dispute they had over a food product she had purchased and tried to return. Rubina was arrested and imprisoned in the Gujranwala jail along with her 18-month-old son, Joshua. On August 11, a judge dropped the charges against her and she was released. Had she been convicted, she would have faced the mandatory death penalty. Her accuser had reportedly offered to settle the matter out of court if she agreed to convert to Islam. Rubina, her husband and their three children have since relocated to an unknown location for their safety. (Source: Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement)
Thank the Lord that Rubina has been acquitted! Pray that her family will continue to trust the Lord in all things. Pray that persecutors in Pakistan will know Christ’s love, forgiveness and blessing through the lives of Christians (Romans 12:14, 21).
For more information about persecution in Pakistan, click here.