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PAKISTAN: Kidnapped Christian Girl remains Trapped

PAKISTAN: Kidnapped Christian Girl remains Trapped

Christian teenager Huma Younus, who was kidnapped and forced into an Islamic marriage last year, is now pregnant and being confined to one room by her abuser.

Recently, Tabassum Yousaf, a lawyer representing Huma’s parents, informed them by phone that she was pregnant after being repeatedly raped by the man who abducted her.

“Asked by her father if she could leave her abductor’s house and return to her parents’ home, she told him that she is not allowed to leave the house and that her life has become still more difficult,” Yousaf was quoted as saying. “She is now imprisoned within the walls of one room.”

Younus was taken from her home in October 2019, at the age of 14, and later forcibly married to a radical Muslim man named Abdul Jabbar.

In February, the high court ruled the marriage was legal under sharia law. There has been a delay in the appeal due to the pandemic.

The marriage violates the Child Marriage Restraint Act, which forbids the marriage of girls aged 18 and younger. Although the law was passed in 2014, it has not yet been applied.

Sources: The Christian Post, Aid to the Church in Need

  • Pray for Huma and her family who have been forced to endure this unbearable situation. Uphold Huma’s physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
  • Ask the Lord to intervene and change the heart of her captor.
  • Pray the authorities will do more to ensure justice and mercy for Huma and her family. Pray for the protection of vulnerable girls and women throughout Pakistan.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

NIGERIA: Kidnapper Sentenced to 26 Years

NIGERIA: Kidnapper Sentenced to 26 Years

Recently, a federal court in Nigeria sentenced Yunusa Dahiru to 26 years in prison for abducting a Christian teenager in 2015, and forcing her into an Islamic marriage.

Additionally, her name was changed to ‘Aisha’, the name of one of the wives of Islam’s prophet Mohammad.

Her abduction gained media attention as her parents raised public awareness.

Months later, state police rescued Ese. It was revealed that she was five months pregnant with her daughter.

Ese’s family say they faced much harassment in their quest to have their daughter returned to them.

“I’m very happy and grateful because I see that all my suffering is not in vain,” Ese’s father said. “This case will serve as a deterrent to others. I thank God that truth has prevailed.”

Sources: The Christian Post, Christian Solidarity Worldwide

  • Thank the Lord for the outcome and answered prayers for the family. Ask the Lord to intervene on behalf of the many captives in Nigeria.
  • Pray for Ese’s future life and that of her daughter. May they grow in faith and knowledge of the Lord and find their confidence in Him.
  • Pray for the perpetrators of such crimes in Nigeria. Ask the Holy Spirit to be at work in bringing conviction, repentance and transformed lives.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: Christian Family Continues to Suffer Following Recovery of Abducted Daughter

PAKISTAN: Christian Family Continues to Suffer Following Recovery of Abducted Daughter

Abductions, sexual assaults, forced conversions, and forced marriages continue to be a significant abuse faced by Christians in Pakistan.

On 27 January 2019, Maria, 16, was abducted from a relative’s house in Punjab, Pakistan, by a group of Muslim men. For several weeks, Maria was raped multiple times in captivity, forced to convert to Islam, and married to one of her captors. According to Maria, she was severely beaten by four men after she initially refused to convert to Islam.

When Maria’s family came to know that she was missing, they immediately filed a report with the local police. Through several weeks of police efforts, Maria was found. However, this was only the beginning of the legal battle Maria and her family had to wage against her captors. It was also several weeks before Maria was allowed to return home to her family.

The legal battle started in March 2019 with Maria stating for the record that she had not freely converted to Islam or freely married her captor. Instead, she reported that she was forced to do these things against her will and under threat of harm.

A month later, Maria appeared before a court and repeated this statement. After this hearing, the court allowed Maria to return home to her parents. Fearing threats and a repeated abduction, Maria’s family moved to a new neighbourhood where they remain in hiding.

Abductions and assaults on women and girls from Pakistan’s religious minority communities, like that experienced by Maria, are unfortunately common. According to a study by The Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, an estimated 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian community are assaulted, kidnapped, forcefully married to their captor, and forcibly converted to Islam every year.

The issue of religion is also often injected into cases of sexual assault to place religious minority victims at a disadvantage. Playing upon religious biases, perpetrators know they can cover up and justify their crimes by introducing an element of religion.

Following the successful recovery of victims, some victims and their families report continued suffering. Perpetrators often avoid prosecution for their crimes and can openly harass victims and families with impunity.

In Maria’s case, this harassment has forced the family into hiding. Unless they receive assistance from Pakistani authorities, the family will likely remain in hiding until Maria’s captors lose interest and give up looking for her.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Ask the Lord for justice for Maria and her family. Pray the Lord will protect them and provide all their needs. Pray too that He will strengthen their faith.
  • Pray the community will show Maria the care, love and sympathy she deserves.
  • Ask that the authorities will do more to ensure the protection of vulnerable women and girls and will do all they can to pursue justice on their behalf.

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EGYPT: Christian Woman Kidnapped, Converted

EGYPT: Christian Woman Kidnapped, Converted

An Egyptian Christian woman, Rania Abd al-Meseh, was kidnapped on 23 April by two veiled women in Monufia Governorate. A video began circulating three days later of Rania announcing that she has converted to Islam.

The video has been met with alarm by several Christians, who observe that her body language during the video appears that she is under great stress and saying the words under duress.

Rania is the mother of three daughters and her social media accounts show frequent posting of Christian material. Her brother Remon told local media that, “My sister was wearing the cross necklace and left home. If she was wanting to convert to Islam, she would have left the necklace at home.”

Christian women are often kidnapped in Egypt by extremists who force them to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. It is difficult to bring these women home – should their return be facilitated – and resume life as before because of the regional honour-shame culture.

In some cases, Christian women do indeed convert and marry Muslim men of their own free will, oftentimes further complicating these problems. Many impacted families do not feel the police seriously investigate these kidnappings nor hold the abductors accountable. The police often credit it to a misunderstanding or situation created by the woman’s own free will.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Pray the Lord will strengthen, uphold and protect Rania and her family. May the truth of the situation be brought to light.
  • Pray for justice for women kidnapped in Egypt and ask that the Lord will bring a cultural change to allow victims of this crime to be treated with care, respect and sympathy.
  • Pray for the protection of women across Egypt. Pray the authorities will do more to uphold the rights of the vulnerable.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: High Court in Pakistan Rules in Favour of Underage Marriage

PAKISTAN: High Court in Pakistan Rules in Favour of Underage Marriage

On Monday, 3 February, the Sindh High Court in Karachi ruled that men in Pakistan can marry underage girls. This ruling, which the two-member bench based on their interpretation of Sharia law, flies directly in the face of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act which forbids marriage below the age of 18.

The ruling was made during the latest court hearing into the kidnapping, forced conversion and marriage of Huma Younus, a 14-year-old Christian girl.

According to local reports, Huma was kidnapped by Abdul Jabbar from her family’s home on 10 October. Following the kidnapping, Huma’s parents were informed via text message that their daughter had converted to Islam and had married Jabbar.

In an effort to rescue their daughter, the family argued that the marriage to Jabbar was invalid under the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act. The Christian couple supplied the court with baptismal and school documents proving Huma is 14 years old.

However, at the hearing on 3 February, judges Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Irshad Ali Shah ruled that the marriage between Huma and Jabbar is valid because she has already had her first menstrual cycle.

“Once again, justice has been defeated and, once again, our state has shown itself unable to treat Christians as Pakistani citizens,” Nagheena Younus, Huma’s mother said.

The issue of kidnapping, forced conversion, and forced marriage is one of the major issues affecting Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan. According to a 2014 study by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, as many as 1,000 Christian and Hindu women and girls are targeted every year in Pakistan.

Sources: International Christian Concern, Aid to the Church in Need

  • Intercede for Huma and her family who have been forced to endure this unbearable situation. Pray for justice.
  • Pray the Lord will rise up powerful voices in Pakistan against this ruling and that it will be quickly overturned.
  • Pray for the protection of vulnerable girls and women throughout Pakistan.

Post your prayer in the comments below.