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An Islamic cleric has been issued an arrest warrant for forcing the marriage of a Pakistani Christian girl

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A Pakistani court has ordered the arrest of an Islamist cleric accused of solemnizing the marriage of a minor Christian girl under pressure, coercion and influence in the southern city of Karachi.

Neha Pervaiz, 15, was sexually assaulted, forcibly converted to Islam and then married off to a 45-year-old Muslim man last year.

She filed a case against her purported husband Muhammad Imran, cleric Qazi Mufti Ahmed Jaan Raheemi and four others for her abduction, rape and forced marriage.

Mufti Raheemi, who was declared an absconder by the court, is also behind the conversion and marriage of Arzoo Raja, another Christian child victim.

During a Nov. 10 hearing, the court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for the cleric and directed police to produce him on Nov. 16.

In her statement before the judicial magistrate, Neha Pervaiz denied having embraced Islam.

“I was taken by my aunt, a Muslim convert, to her house on April 28 to help her look after her sick son. But there I was asked to marry a Muslim man named Imran. When I refused, they beat me up and threatened to kill my minor brother who was with me,” Neha said.

“Later I was taken to a room where I was raped by Imran. They then pressurized me to convert to Islam and marry Imran. On April 29, I was taken to an Islamic cleric, who asked me to recite Quranic verses and gave me a new name, Fatima.”

She was later forced to marry Imran in a court on April 30.

On May 5 last year, Neha managed to escape with the help of Imran’s daughter.

Jamila Masih, mother of Neha, said her daughter had returned home barefoot and was very scared.

“I was shocked to learn what had happened to my daughter as I was under the impression that she was at her aunt’s house to help her,” she said.

According to Neha’s family, police were initially reluctant to register their complaint, but they were able to lodge a case on May 13 with the help of others including Pastor Ghazala Shafique of the Church of Pakistan.

The development comes as the issue of forced conversion and marriage of underage Christian and Hindu girls is under the media spotlight due to the Arzoo Raja case.

In a statement, Catholic bishops voiced alarm over the sharp increase in cases of forced conversions.

“It is unfortunate that religious intolerance in Pakistan is sharply rising. Forced conversion has become a major tool for the persecution of Christians and Hindus in Pakistan,” the bishops said in a Nov. 7 statement.

Archbishop Joseph Arshad, president of Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference and chairman of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), said forced conversions were too easily and too often disguised as voluntary conversions, leaving minor girls especially vulnerable.

He demanded that the government ensure that justice is served in the case of Arzoo Raja and that such incidents stop. “It is the responsibility of the state to legislate to protect its citizens, especially minor girls,” he said.

Father Emmanuel Yousaf, national director of the NCJP, said “the ugly reality of forced conversions is that they are not seen as a crime, much less as a problem that should concern the majority in Pakistan.”

He added: “We cannot allow our children and girls to be taken away from us, forcibly converted and married. A bill against forced conversions was introduced back in 2016 in the Sindh Provincial Assembly which has not been passed yet. The government must work to safeguard the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan as enshrined in our constitution.”

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One Christian Killed, Four Kidnapped in Nigeria

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Nigeria– A bus driver was killed and four female members of an Anglican Church abducted while driving along Kaduna-Kachia road on Tuesday, April 6th, reports the Barnabus Fund.

“Bandits blockaded the road and opened fire on the church bus and another truck. In addition to the Christian bus driver, named as Alfred Makinde, three others were killed in the gunfire,” stated the news source.

The kidnappers contacted the church demanding a N100 million (about $245,000) ransom.

“My conversation with the Anglican church is there were 15 members in the bus but the others ran into the bush and others were shot and sustained injuries, but the bandits took four persons; one old woman and three young ladies” said Reverend Joseph Hayab, the Kaduna Christian Association of Nigeria chairman.

The attack comes just twelve days after eight Christians were abducted while driving on the same Kaduna-Kachia road, about 20 miles outside of Kaduna city. Christians are particularly targeted in this area of Nigeria, often referred to as the middle belt, where the Muslim majority north meets Nigeria’s mostly Christian south, creating an environment of ethnic tension which often results in severe Christian persecution. Christian communities are targeted, and thousands of believers have been kidnapped, tortured and killed with nowhere to turn for safety. While the government denies religious motive behind these attacks, the frequent burning of churches and targeting of believers shows that a hatred of Christianity plays a key role in the violence throughout the Middle Belt.

Please pray for the safe return of all who have been kidnapped. Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, for the Lord to strengthen the Nigerian church and heal His persecuted children of their trauma. Please also pray for the world to recognize the scale of the suffering that believers are having to endure in Nigeria, as well as for the souls of those who persecute the church, that all will repent and find salvation in Christ.
Sources:persecution

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പാസ്റ്റർ ജോൺ വർഗീസിൻ്റെ (രാജൻ പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ) സഹധർമ്മിണി ഏലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി -71) അമേരിക്കയിൽ നിര്യാതയായി

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ഒക്കലഹോമ: ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ മുൻ ശുശ്രുഷകനും സിനിയർ പാസ്റ്ററുമായ Rev. Dr. ജോൺ വർഗീസിന്റ (രാജൻ. പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ, ആഞ്ഞിലിത്താനം ) ഭാര്യ എലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി – 71) ഏപ്രിൽ 10-ന് പ്രഭാതത്തിൽ താൻ പ്രിയം വെച്ച കർത്തൃ സന്നിധിയിൽ ചേർക്കപ്പെട്ടു. മെമ്മോറിയൽ സർവ്വീസ് ഏപ്രിൽ 16 നു വെള്ളിയാഴ്ച വൈകിട്ട് 6- മണിക്കും സംസ്കാര ശ്രുശ്രുഷ ഏപ്രിൽ 17- നു രാവിലെ 10 മണിക്കും നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും . രണ്ടു ശുശ്രുഷകളും ഒക്കലഹോമ ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ സഭാ ഹാളിൽ വെച്ച് നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും.

മകൾ : ഫെബി മാത്യു.
മരുമകൻ: ജോൺസൻ മാത്യു (ബോബി ).

കൊച്ചുമക്കൾ: ജോയാന, രൂത്ത് & ക്രിസ്റ്റഫർ

Viewing:- Wednesday 4 – 7.30pm (prayer meeting 6.30 pm – 7.30pm)

Memorial service:- Friday 6.30 pm. @IPCH

Home Going Service:- Saturday 10 am. @ IPCH

Follow CDC guidelines.
Come and go as you wish.

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