Friday, March 13, 2009

Islamist insurgency threatens Christian community in Pakistan: Will you help?

The Christians of Pakistan, already vulnerable and beleaguered, are now in serious danger from a rising tide of radical and violent Islamism. As they fear for their very future, will you help to sustain them by your prayers and gifts?

A Christian leader from Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province told Barnabas Fund last week how the Taliban are trying to enforce their interpretation of Islam on the whole nation. “That is why the religious minorities fear for their safety and their future,” he said. He described how Christians, desperate to blend in for safety’s sake, are beginning to dress like Muslims and the Christian men to grow beards so that they look like Muslims.

Parts of the North West Frontier Province, which borders Afghanistan, are now almo st ungovernable, as a wide range of militant Islamic groups are currently engaged in violent insurrections. Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, pleads: “Please pray at this time for the Christian minority in Pakistan, especially those in the North West Frontier Province, where the Taliban are gaining increasing power and enforcing an extreme version of sharia (Islamic law). Sharia is inherently biased against non-Muslims and also prescribes the death sentence for Muslims who choose to follow Christ. The position of the Christian community is increasingly vulnerable. They need your prayers.”

The Christian community in Pakistan is drawn mainly from the poorest parts of society, and many Christians do very menial work. They are despised by the majority society and often discriminated against. Sometimes they are subject to violent attack, especially Christian women and girls. A slow process of Islamisation over recent decades has gradually eroded their rights and liberties, and in the current situation this process looks set to continue at a far more rapid pace.

Children at a Christian school in Pakistan supported by Barnabas Fund

Barnabas Fund has been sending aid to Pakistan’s Christians for many years. Current projects include:

• monthly food parcels for needy Christian families

• a school providing education for impove rished children in a Christian environment

• health care and health education among Christian women

• assistance for pastors and evangelists

• legal services for abused and exploited Christians

• a refuge for Christian girls and women

At this time of crisis for the churches of Pakistan, we are sending additional support to protect and sustain our brothers and sisters. Please help us to do this by donating to project 41-980 (Helping Christians in Pakistan). In these financially difficult times, please remember our brothers and sisters who are far worse off than we are.

Donate Today
Please click to donate online using our secure server (Please quote project reference 41-980).

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK (Please quote project reference 41-980).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for addresses of our regional offices. (Please quote project reference 41-980).

Please Pray
1.Pray for Christians in Pakistan, that the Lord will keep them safe in the midst of violence and instability. Pray that they may be enabled to maintain a consistent Christian witness.
2.Pray for the restoration of order and good governance in the regions bordering Afghanistan, and that the progress of militant Islamist groups in Pakistan will be checked and then reversed.
3.Pray against the further Islamisation of Pakistani society, that the freedom of the nation’s religious minorities will be safeguarded.

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