PERSECUTION International Christian Concern | April 2013
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Three families currently in safe houses
SAFE HOUSES Hand of Hope Shakee and his wife Asma, from a Muslim background, accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior nine years ago. Persecution immediately followed. While walking to a prayer meeting, relatives pulled up in a vehicle alongside them and threatened to kill them if they did not “return” to Islam. The warning was clear: to continue to worship Christ meant probable death. Under the cover of darkness, Shakee and Asma gathered their belongings, woke their children, and fled, leaving their family, their hometown, and everything they had known behind. Soni and Nadia have a similar story. Soni, from a Hindu background, came to Christ before marrying Nadia, from a Christian background. Soni’s parents did not approve. “Leave your Christian wife or else we will kill her,” they warned. Soni and Nadia had no other option but to escape their home city of Karachi and start a completely new life together where their names and their past was unknown.
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Both families and many others fled to an ICC-supported safe house in Pakistan which has given them an opportunity to start a new life. Shakee is now a pastor, ministering to nearly a hundred families in the neighborhood and preaching every Sunday at the local church. Soni found a job as a laborer where he earns enough money to both provide for his family and to put some in savings so that he will be able to pay rent when the family is ready to move. Conversion to Christianity from Islam is illegal under Pakistani law. Even more, in Pakistan’s shame-based society, it is disgraceful to leave the religion of your parents and ancestors. To convert to Christianity is considered an unforgivable sin and many Christian converts have been killed by their own relatives so that the family can “restore honor” and “save face.” Those from Muslim and Hindu backgrounds who choose to follow Christ often have no other choice but to escape and live in hiding. It is these families who live at the ICC-supported safe house temporarily until they are able to find jobs and get back on their feet. Staff at the safe house helps them find employment and a safe place to live when they’re ready to move out. The safe house also offers vocational training and provides a safe atmosphere for families to fellowship and grow in their Christian faith.
ASSISTING ABUSED GIRLS IN PAKISTAN ASIF MASIH Save Our Sisters Hand of Hope Asif Masih, 21 years old, was worshipping the Lord singing Christian praise songs in his barbershop when a mob gathered outside his door. Asif was known in the village for being a Christian and his morning worship sessions before work was his daily routine. “We’re sick of your music, infidel,” someone shouted. “Pakistan is a Muslim country. You can’t sing that here,” said another. The enraged group broke the door, dragged Asif in the street, and kicked and spit on him. While Asif lay helpless in the road, the mob raided his shop and destroyed everything inside.
Asiya and her father
Asiya, a 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl, was working in the field picking cotton when two Muslim men abducted her in November. By force, the men took Asiya’s thumb impressions on legal documents stating that she had converted to Islam. Asiya was held captive at the men’s house for 11 days, where she was physically abused and raped, until her father reached an agreement with her kidnappers for her release. When ICC met with little Asiya just days after her release, she was visibly shaking and could not understand the reasons why she was forced to suffer through such a horrific ordeal.
The attack was a severe blow to Asif’s family who relied on the young man to support them. Asif could no longer afford the medication needed for his paralyzed father or weak mother who has heart problems and could no longer pay the fees to send his sister to school. ICC visited Asif in December and provided the rent, furniture, and supplies needed to reopen his barbershop in a safer area of town. Additionally, we enrolled Asif’s sister, Mishal, in a private Christian school. The family is now back on their feet and could not be more grateful to ICC’s donors for providing for them in their time of great need. “I praise God that He renewed our hope by giving us a second chance,” Asif exclaimed. “When we suffer, especially for His name, He is always there beside us. Thank you ICC for helping my family and being our support.”
Sadly, young Christian girls are among the most persecuted in Pakistan. Due to their Christian minority status, these girls have few legal rights and often become the victims of abduction and extreme violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse. Christian girls in Pakistan often find themselves in these types of vulnerable situations while working in the fields or in a wealthy Muslim’s home as a house servant. ICC has responded by developing small businesses that allow the girls to work from home and that allow their parents to earn enough money to provide for their daughters (often times, parents feel pressured to have their girls work in compromising situations to compensate for their low incomes). ICC purchased sewing machines for little Asiya and her mother so they can now earn fair wages while working from the comfort of home. Additionally, ICC started a small business for Asiya’s father that will sustain their future.
Asif and family say ‘Thank You’ to ICC donors
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A MERRY CHRISTMAS Kids Care
Children of the Orissa orphanage were all smiles upon receiving Christmas gifts
In 2008, anti-Christians riots swept across the Kandhamal district of India’s northeastern state of Orissa. In its wake, tens of thousands of Christians were attacked and were forced to flee their homes by radical Hindu mobs. Hundreds of Christian homes and churches were destroyed. Tragically, many Christians lost their lives to mob violence.
on it. This was the first time these children were asked what they wanted for Christmas, so the gifts they received on Christmas morning were extra special. ICC also provided funds for the orphanage to put on a Christmas program that emulated the Father’s gift of Christ to the world. Christians living nearby were invited to the orphanage to celebrate Christmas with singing, dancing and a fellowship meal.
Among the most vulnerable victims were the children who lost their entire families in the violence. ICC rescued 14 of these children and has made a commitment to raising them up to be a new generation of young Christians in India.
This celebration helped promote the spiritual and emotional health of these orphans and Christians invited to attend. By providing them a way to experience an act of love that is associated with the gift of Jesus Christ, these orphans will continue to grow into a constantly maturing faith. Thank you to all those donors who donated to ICC’s Kids Care fund. Your gifts are helping cultivate the next generation of Christians in persecuted countries across the world.
As part of ICC’s commitment, ICC funded a Christmas celebration for the orphanage where these children live. With funds from its donors, ICC was able to purchase each child a gift of their choice and a Bible with their name engraved 3
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SUPPORTING MISSIONARIES IN BANGLADESH Underground Pastors
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Bangladesh is a predominately Muslim country where it is difficult to be a Christian or convert from Islam to Christianity. In this environment ICC met with four missionary couples, who are either Muslim-background believers (MBBs) or evangelizers to MBBs. Financial support was provided for four missionary couples working in Bangladesh. These missionary couples all rely on the Lord to provide for their needs and do not receive a salary. This gift is just a small way that ICC showed our support of their ministries and helped to meet some of their needs.
GOATS FOR WIDOWS Suffering Wives and Children
Due to violence against Christians by Boko Haram in Nigeria, families who have lost loved ones continue to struggle to sustain their livelihoods. ICC has long been active in rebuilding lives broken by religious violence. Recently, we purchased smalls herds of goats for seven widows (three pictured), providing nourishment and a commodity for market selling. You can help today! 800-ICC-5441
YOU CAN HELP TODAY! SEND DONATIONS TO: ICC PO BOX 8056 SILVER SPRING, MD 20907 OR ONLINE AT WWW.PERSECUTION.ORG OR BY PHONE 800-ICC-5441
GIVING TO ICC VIA YOUR WILL Provide now for a future gift to ICC by including a bequest provision in your will or revocable trust. If you would like more information on giving to ICC in this way, please give us a call at 1-800-ICC-5441.
ICC makes every effort to honor donor wishes in regards to their gifts. Occasionally, a situation will arise where a project is no longer viable. In that case, ICC will redirect those donated project funds to one of our other funds that is most similar to the donor’s original wishes.
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