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Innocent children and young people victims of anti-Christian hostility in Pakistan, Iran and India

Country/Region: Pakistan, South and East Asia, Iran, Middle East and North Africa, India

Three recent outrageous incidents reveal how anti-Christian persecution is inflicting acute suffering on children and young people in various parts of the world.

Children-studying-4X3.jpg
Children are often helpless victims of anti-Christian hostility

First, a Christian schoolgirl has been expelled and her family evicted from their home after an innocent spelling mistake in an exam led to an absurd accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan.

Faryal Bhatti, an eighth-grade pupil (aged 12/13) in Havelian, was scolded and beaten by her teacher on Thursday (22 September) when she accidentally misplaced a single dot in a word while answering a question on a poem about Muhammad; her error turned the word naat, which refers to praise of Muhammad, to laanat, which means “curse”.

As news of the incident spread, enraged Muslims rallied in the streets, demanding that Faryal be expelled from the area and a criminal case be registered against the youngster. Defiling the name of Muhammad carries a mandatory death penalty under Pakistan’s “blasphemy laws”. Muslim leaders also called, in their Friday sermons, for action to be taken against Faryal and her family.

Despite her apologetic explanation that the misspelling was an error with no malicious intent, Faryal was expelled from her school, and her mother, a nurse, was transferred to another hospital around 40 miles away. The family have also been forced to leave their home. They have received threatening text messages, raising fears of Muslim reprisals among other Christian families in the area.

A number of Muslim leaders have, however, come out in defence of the youngster, saying that she should be pardoned because her actions were unintentional.      

Child captive

Secondly, a child has been taken hostage by security forces in Iran in a bid to coerce the Christian parents to make a statement against believers in prison. The couple had adopted the child after years of waiting for a legal adoption. The security agents threatened them, saying:

If you want your child back you must file a complaint against your fellow Christians in prison.

The emotional stress of the ordeal has made the Christian woman so unwell that she had to be taken to hospital. 

Evangelists arrested

Thirdly, a team of eight young Brethren men who were preaching the Gospel on the streets in Andhra Pradesh, India, were arrested this week. Police failed to disperse a large and hostile crowd that had gathered, and then took the Christians into protective custody. But the mob then pressured the police to take action against the young men, accusing them of engaging in “religious conversion”. They remain in custody.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • Lift up the Christian lawyers in Pakistan who represent Christian victims accused under the notorious “blasphemy” law. Many lawyers in Pakistan are not willing to represent those who have been accused of blasphemy due to the threats they themselves face from Islamist extremists if they do so. Barnabas Fund supports a group of Christian lawyers who make these cases their focus. They also help victims of other types of persecution, such as converts from Islam. Pray for the safety of these lawyers and for their success in the courts as they seek to right injustices against the Lord’s people. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 9 hours ago

    • Praise God that local police in the village of Tehsil Summodri, Faisalabad District, Pakistan acted to withdraw false allegations of blasphemy against 31 Christians and 23 other villagers. The allegations under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (which carries a mandatory death sentence) were made on 2 September when Christians were ploughing a piece of land given to them for free by its Muslim owner to extend the local Christian cemetery. A group of Muslims accused them of desecrating Muslim graves. The police investigation revealed that the land had been a Muslim cemetery many years earlier but the graves had been moved elsewhere. They changed the charges to the lesser ones under Section 297 (which carries a maximum prison sentence of one year or a fine). It is very unusual for the Pakistani police to defend the rights of Christians in this way. Pray that others will follow their example. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Nov 2014 00:00

    • School text-books in Turkey are still teaching that the Armenians and most other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire a century ago were agents of enemy foreign powers such as Britain and Russia. This, the books say, was the reason for what they call the “necessary deportation” of the Christians. Turkey still does not accept blame for the deaths of at least 1.5 million Armenian and Assyrian Christians, many massacred or dying of deprivation as they were force-marched out of their homeland. Next year, 2015, is the 100th anniversary of the worst year of the Armenian and Assyrian Genocide. Please pray that the innocent suffering of these faithful believers will be recognised by every country and that the world will resolve never to let such a genocide happen again. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Pray for 27 Christians, believed to be from various Asian countries, who were detained overnight by the Saudi authorities on 5 September for worshipping at a private home in Khafji. The home had been under surveillance since a neighbour had reported suspicious activities there. Pray that the Lord will protect His people in Saudi Arabia, where it is illegal to practise a non-Islamic religion in public but supposedly permissible to do so in private. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Wao, a predominantly Christian town on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, is protesting against its inclusion in the new semi-independent Islamic region of Bangsamoro. Wao’s mayor, Elvino Balicao, is seeking exemption from the Bangsamoro government and its Islamic law and has asked that the town remain under the central government. He said that the town is 83% Christian and that local churches support exemption from Bangsamoro. Wao is in the centre of the Muslim-majority province of Lanao del Sur. Pray that the Lord will protect His people and that Wao will gain exemption from the Bangsamoro government. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Nov 2014 00:00

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