Four Christian women from the Farooq-e-Azam neighbourhood of Karachi, Pakistan were falsely accused of blasphemy on 19 February. Following the false accusation, a mob of enraged Muslims attacked the Christian-majority neighbourhood, leading to the displacement of Christian families.
The incident began in January, when Fayaz and Samina Riaz, a Muslim couple, were asked to vacate their rented house by their Christian landlord, Amjad Dildar. According to local Christians, the Muslim couple had been “causing trouble among the Christian families in the community” and were asked to leave.
On Tuesday 19 February, Samina Riaz accused four Christian women, including three of her landlord’s daughters, of desecrating a Koran. According to Aslam Masih, a local eyewitness, “Samina Riaz alleged Sunaina Amjad, age 22, Sophia Amjad, age 18, Soneha Amjad, age 14, and Sophia Qamar, age 30, [of] desecrating a Holy Koran. She claimed they stole a copy of the Koran and ruined it by submerging it into a basin of dirty water.”
As news of the accusation spread, a mob of enraged Muslims gathered in Farooq-e-Azam and attacked several Christian properties, including Amjad Dildar’s house and a nearby church. The mob killed pets, livestock, and damaged several Christian homes by stoning them.
Approximately 200 Christian families from Farooq-e-Azam have fled their homes and moved to safer areas within Karachi. Local police have regained control of the neighbourhood; however, members of the mob are still refusing to allow Christians to open their churches.
“After police investigated, it was revealed that Samina Riaz borrowed a copy of the Koran from Khalid Khan, a nearby shopkeeper,” Masih said. “When she reached home, she threw it into a water tub in the restroom. She purposely alleged the Christian women of desecrating the Holy Book of Islam.”
Samina Riaz later admitted to orchestrating the incident and she and her husband, Fayaz, were arrested. However, a First Information Report has yet to be filed because negotiations between local Christian and Muslim leaders are ongoing.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. In the past 30 years, more than 1,500 individuals have been accused of committing blasphemy. Religious minorities, including Christians, make up the majority of these accusations despite the fact that religious minorities make up only 3.6% of Pakistan’s total population.
Source: International Christian Concern
- Ask the Lord to help believers overcome the considerable loss they have suffered. Pray He will strengthen them in their faith.
- Pray that wisdom will prevail in the negotiations between the Christian and Muslim leaders. Pray the discussions might be fruitful and that their conclusions will encourage peace and restoration.
- Pray for Fayaz and Samina Riaz. May they face justice for the false accusation and may their example help discourage others from using the blasphemy laws to settle personal disputes. Pray for their salvation.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
Police in Tiaty, Kenya arrested Pastor David Kimeu on 8 August over alleged involvement in human trafficking.
David Kimeu is not only a pastor, but a full-time missionary with the Africa Inland Church Mission Department (AICMD). He has dedicated his time to rescuing girls from female genital mutilation and forced marriage. However, the local elders from his community falsely accused him because they strongly advocate for these outlawed practices.
“We were getting ready to take 16 girls for a three-day Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP) camp when security officers surrounded our home, claiming that the girls were kidnapped, and we were summoned to the local police headquarters for questioning. All the girls were separated and asked to write statements about what was going on in our home” Pastor David Kimeu said.
On Thursday 9 August, Pastor David appeared before the Tiaty magistrate to answer questions pertaining to charges of human trafficking and the unlawful operation of a rescue centre.
“The files of the 16 girls presented before the magistrate by the prosecutor were read and a determination made. My wife and I were cleared of the charges because the girls indicated that they had taken refuge in our home for fear of being circumcised and married off to old men before they could finish their studies so that their parents can receive huge amounts of cattle dowry payment…Consequently, the girls have been separated from us and taken for custody in other orphanages and rescue shelters.”
Many communities in Kenya still practise female genital mutilation, despite knowing the potentially life-threatening medical problems it can cause. The church in Kenya has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts to stop this practice that hinders young girls from pursuing their dreams after being forced to marry older men. Rescue shelters have been opened to protect, counsel, and empower girls who have been mutilated or escaped mutilation.
“We have always met resistance because of our efforts to curb female genital mutilation (FGM) rite of passage in this community and the allegations of human trafficking levelled against my wife and I are malicious and uncalled for…We fear for our lives because the same people that called the police to arrest us are threatening to destroy our home, church, and the school we opened for the community. We have repeatedly faced death threats from known and unknown people and the local chief and police have taken no action… We need your prayers and encouragement as we continue with the Lord’s work in Tiaty,” lamented Pastor David.
The Kenyan parliament passed the Female Genital Mutilation Act in 2011, stating that violators will be punished with up to three years in prison for FGM and life imprisonment in cases that result in death.
Source: International Christian Concern
- Thank the Lord for David and his wife and their efforts to project young women from such brutal practices.
- Pray this case will in no way reduce the effect Pastor David is having. Pray these accusations may further promote this important cause.
- Pray the Lord’s protection may be upon Pastor David, his wife, fellow workers and all the girls they have helped.