Category Archives: Religious Persecution

Andrew Brunson: Turkey

turkey

DECEMBER 19, 2016
Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who has been working in Turkey for 23 years was arrested on October 7, 2016, and falsely charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization,” although according to the charging documents no evidence has been gathered against him.  During the 63 days he spent in a detention facility he was denied access to his lawyer.  He has since been transferred to a prison.  Pastor Brunson is waiting to hear a response to an appeal of his arrest.

Source:  ACLJ

What you can do:

  • Pray for Pastor Brunson, his family, and his friends.
  • Pray for Turkey, its government and courts system.
  • Write to your congressional representatives to inform them of this situation.
  • Sign a petition requesting his release.

 

Father, I thank You for the strong stand that thousands of your children take each day in places where religious freedom and tolerance do not exist.  I ask You to support Pastor Brunson during his time in prison.  Let Your light shine through him in that dark place, and may he be a great blessing to everyone around him.  Take care of his family, his friends, and his church.  Strengthen him with Your power in his inner being.  I pray for the people and the government of Turkey.  Give their leaders and their judges wisdom and justice as they make decisions regarding their country.  Let Your Spirit flow into the country, turning people to Your great and mighty love, mercy, and compassion.  Amen.

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Nigerian School Girls: Nigeria

nigeria

UPDATE  December 9, 2016
One of the Chibok girls has escaped from Boko Haram.  On November 5, 2016 soldiers in northern Borno state found Maryam Ali Maiyanga (#198) as they were searching the forest for escapees from the terrorist group.  Nigerian government officials confirm that she was found, along with a 10 month old baby, Ali, cradled in her arms.  She was kidnapped on April 14, 2014, along with her twin sister (who has not been found), and almost 300 boarding school girls.  Please pray that all the girls will be released, or enabled to escape from their terrorist captors.

Source: BBC, Al Jazeera, Reuters, DW, Open Doors


UPDATE, April 18, 2015
April 14 marks the first anniversary of the kidnapping of the Chibok school girls.   Some authorities claim they will never be found, but we can continue to pray for them.  Go here for a list of girls to pray for, by name, each day.


UPDATE, November 10, 2014
The leader of Boko Haram says that all the school girls kidnapped from their school at Chibok have been converted to Islam and have been married off.  Please continue to pray for these girls, and their families.


UPDATE June 20, 2014
Representatives of Open Doors recently delivered letters written to the families of the kidnapped Nigerian school girls.  They learned that two parents have died under the strain of their missing girls.  One visitor to the region from Open Doors stated, “What they are going through is unimaginable. Many we met were simply too broken to say much at all. They just cried. Clearly the pressure is taking its toll.” 

More girls continue to be kidnapped by Boko Haram.   Eight to eleven more girls were kidnapped on May 4th by the terrorist organization.  “I have kidnapped the girls. I will sell them on the market in the name of Allah,” said a man who may be  Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.  He recently released a 57-minute video, obtained by the Agence France Presse news agency.  “I’ll sell them as slaves in the name of Allah. There is a market where they sell human beings.  Western education must stop. Girls must leave school and get married,” the man said. “I would give a 12-year-old girl in marriage; I would give in marriage even a 9-year-old girl.”

Please continue to pray that Nigerian forces will be able to locate the girls and free them, and that the kidnapping of young girls will be stopped.

Source:  Open Doors


UPDATE May 29, 2014
Go here to write a letter to the grieving families

UPDATE May 27, 2014
Late on April 14, 2014, men dressed as soldiers entered the dormitories of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria.  Joyce was still awake when the men entered, threatening to shoot anyone who didn’t cooperate.  “We thought they were military,” she said. “They ordered us to gather in one place, before setting fire to our buildings. Even our own personal belongings have not been spared.’’   They forced the girls into vehicles and took off into the woods.  The girls were given drinks and told to prepare food.  The next afternoon, pretending to go to the bathroom,  Joyce and two other girls were able to escape.  They reached a tribe of nomadic herders that evening.  They were able to spend the night with them, and the next day arrived back home.  About 40 other girls have managed to escape.  There are still about 270 girls who are missing.  One of the families of the missing girls lives near Chibok.  ‘‘We live in anxiety day and night,” said the man (name withheld for safety reasons).  “We are idle, while the rainy season (for farming) has started. We mourn and pray day and night for the return of our daughters.”   Some of the scholar’s of the Islamic world have denounced the kidnappings.

Source:  Open Doors


On April 15, Boko Haram kidnapped 300 teenaged girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok.  284 girls are still missing.  Boko Haram has been waging war on Christians in Nigeria for years.  They have made a habit of kidnapping teenaged girls, forcing them to marry members of the terrorist organization.  They frequently attack Christian villages, burn homes and businesses, and kill indiscriminately.  The kidnapping of 300 girls from the government school has finally brought this situation to light.

What you can do:

  • Pray for the missing girls and their families (see individual names listed below).
  • Contact your political representatives and encourage them to act on this situation.

178 of the missing girls
Deborah Abge
Awa Abge
Hauwa Yirma
Asabe Manu
Mwa Malam Pogu
Patient Dzakwa
Saraya Mal Stover
Mary Dauda
Gloria Mainta
Hanatu Ishaku
Gloria Dama
Tabitha Pogu
Maifa Dama
Ruth Kollo
Esther Usman
Awa James
Anthonia Yahonna
Kume Mutah
Aisha Ezekial
Nguba Buba
Kwana Simon
Kummai Aboku
Esther Markus
Hana Stephen
Rifkatu Amos
Rebecca Mallum
Blessing Abana
Ladi Wadai
Tabitha Hyelampa
Ruth Ngladar
Safiya Abdu
Na’omi Yahonna
Solomi Titus
Rhoda John
Rhoda John
Rhoda John
Laraba John
Rebecca Luka
Saratu Markus
Mary Usman
Debora Yahonna
Naomi Zakaria
Hanatu Musa
Hauwa Tella
Juliana Yakubu
Suzana Yakubu
Saraya Paul
Jummai Paul
Mary Sule
Jummai John
Yanke Shittima
Muli Waligam
Fatima Tabji
Eli Joseph
Saratu Emmanuel
Deborah Peter
Rahila Bitrus
Luggwa Sanda
Kauna Lalai
Lydia Emmar
Laraba Maman
Hauwa Isuwa
Comfort Habila
Hauwa Abdu
Hauwa Balti
Yana Joshua
Laraba Paul
Saraya Amos
Glory Yaga
Na’omi Bitrus
Godiya Bitrus
Awa Bitrus
Na’omi Luka
Maryamu Lawan
Tabitha Silas
Mary Yahona
Ladi Joel
Rejoice Sanki
Luggwa Samuel
Comfort Amos
Comfort Amos
Sicker Abdul
Talata Daniel
Rejoice Musa
Deborah Abari
Salomi Pogu
Mary Amor
Ruth Joshua
Esther John
Esther Ayuba
Maryamu Yakubu
Zara Ishaku
Maryamu Wavi
Lydia Habila
Laraba Yahonna
Na’omi Bitrus
Rahila Yahanna
Ruth Lawan
Ladi Paul
Mary Paul
Esther Joshua
Helen Musa
Margret Watsai
Deborah Jafaru
Filo Dauda
Febi Haruna
Ruth Ishaku
Racheal Nkeki
Rifkatu Soloman
Mairama Yahaya
Saratu Dauda
Jinkai Yama
Margret Shettima
Yana Yidau
Grace Paul
Amina Ali
Palmata Musa
Awagana Musa
Pindar Nuhu
Yana Pogu
Saraya Musa
Hauwa Joseph
Hauwa Kwakwi
Hauwa Musa
Maryamu Musa
Maimuna Usman
Rebeca Joseph
Liyatu Habitu
Rifkatu Yakubu
Naomi Philimon
Deborah Abbas
Ladi Ibrahim
Asabe Ali
Maryamu Bulama
Ruth Amos
Mary Ali
Abigail Bukar
Deborah Amos
Saraya Yanga
Kauna Luka
Christiana Bitrus
Yana Bukar
Hauwa Peter
Hadiza Yakubu
Lydia Simon
Ruth Bitrus
Mary Yakubu
Lugwa Mutah
Muwa Daniel
Hanatu Nuhu
Monica Enoch
Margret Yama
Docus Yakubu
Rhoda Peter
Rifkatu Galang
Saratu Ayuba
Naomi Adamu
Hauwa Ishaya
Rahap Ibrahim
Deborah Soloman
Hauwa Mutah
Hauwa Takai
Serah Samuel
Aishatu Musa
Aishatu Grema
Hauwa Nkeki
Hamsatu Abubakar
Mairama Abubakar
Hauwa Wule
Ihyi Abdu
Hasana Adamu
Rakiya Kwamtah
Halima Gamba
Aisha Lawan
Kabu Malla
Yayi Abana
Falta Lawan
Kwadugu Manu

Father of the Missing Girls,
You know where each one of these precious young girls are. You know each of them by name. You knit each one of them together in their mother’s womb.  You have a plan for each of their lives.  Reveal yourself to each girl, Father.  Open her eyes to the truth that she is not alone.  Show her a glimpse of the glorious future You have in store for her.  Give her strength, courage, endurance, wisdom, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, love, hope, faith.  These are young women, Lord, stolen from a school where they should be safe and protected.  Intervene in a powerful way, like You have for thousands of Your other children.  Set them free, bring them home, and heal them.  You are their Father.  Strengthen, encourage, and support their parents and families.  Words as so hard to find so I hand my prayer over to Your Holy Spirit who prays for us with words that can’t be spoken.  Let Your light shine, and Your Spirit hover over each one of these kidnapped girls, and all the other kidnapped girls in the world.  Bring peace and release, Father.  Only You can save them.  Amen.

Benham Irani: Iran

iran-pd-sm

UPDATE  December 6, 2016
Pastor Irani was released from prison on October 17, 2016, after having served a 6 year sentence.  He was reunited with his family in Turkey on November 17, 2016.  Thank you for all your prayers on his behalf!  Blessings and healing to Pastor Irani, his family, and all his friends!


UPDATE  June 16, 2016
Pastor Benham Irani is once again suffering from severe coughing as he completes his prison term.  The doctor doesn’t know what is causing the coughs, and he has not given him any treatment or medication.  Please pray for strength and healing.


UPDATE  January 7, 2016
Pastor Irani is currently serving a six-year term in prison (he has nine months left on that sentence), and has been very ill for much of that time.  On top of back problems, worsening eyesight, and bleeding intestines, he is now suffering from influenza.  He is very weak, and unable to speak with others.  Please pray for him!


UPDATE  October 3, 2015
Pastor Irani has been released from prison again, this time for 2 days.  I pray that he will enjoy this short rest, and that the courts will reconsider his request to spend the last two years of his sentence under house arrest.


UPDATE  August 4, 2015
Pastor Irani is still on prison leave.  He is expected to return to prison on August 7, 2015.  He has been on leave since July 4, 2015!


UPDATE  August 1, 2015
Pastor Irani was recently granted two weeks of prison leave, during which he was able to return home to his family.  He will return to prison following his leave.


UPDATE  February 19, 2015
Under Iranian law, a prisoner may be granted a conditional release for good behaviour when they have completed more than half of their prison sentence.  Pastor Irani recently applied, and although the prison officials  agreed, the judge turned down his request.  Pastor Irani remains in poor health as a result of his incarceration.  Please continue to pray for him and his family.


UPDATE  December 16, 2014
Pastor Benham Irani has won his appeal!  He will continue to serve out the terms of his first conviction (a sentence of 6 years) and then he will be released!  Finally some good news!


UPDATE December 6, 2014
Tomorrow Pastor Irani will be able to represent himself as the Iranian court hears his appeal.  Please pray for him and for the courts!


UPDATE  December 1, 2014
Pastor Irani recently wrote a letter from prison.  He wrote it to encourage you!  You can read it at Present Truth Ministries.

Reports indicate that Pastor Irani remains a concern of Iran’s secret police, and that they intend to keep him in prison for the rest of his life.  Threats have also been reported against his wife Kristina, and their children, Rebekah and Adriel.  Please continue to pray for them, and that the Western governments who are negotiating with Iran will not be complacent about the government’s policies of persecution and intolerance.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


UPDATE  November 3, 2014
Six more years have been added to Pastor Irani’s sentence (making a total of 12 years), but the charges against him of “spreading corruption on earth” were dropped for him as well as two other leaders of the “Church of Iran”.  This took away the possibility of their receiving the death penalty.  Pastor Irani is being moved to a new prison near the Afghanistan border where it will be hard for his family to visit him.  The other two men, Abdolreza Haghnejad and Reza Rabbani, are being moved to a prison at Minab, in the south of Iran.

Please continue to pray for these three men, their families, and their church.  Do whatever you can to make the people around you aware of the horrific persecution that is going on all around the world.  Millions of Christians have been affected, but many other minorities are being targeted as well.


UPDATE  October 16, 2014
Pastor Irani was beaten on June 7, 2014 and held in solitary confinement for weeks in an unknown location.  He has been returned to prison where new charges have been brought against him.  A judge has charged him with “communicating with media.”  Authorities interrogated the pastor on five separate occasions, for four hours at a time.  Please pray for him!


UPDATE  April 5, 2014
Pastor Benham Irani has been in prison since 2010.  He is a Christian convert from Islam.  Recently his prison cell was searched by the authorities who took his Bible, his notebooks, and books he had checked out of the prison library.  According to Iranian law, citizens of Iran are allowed access to religious materials, but this does not always seem to apply to coverts from Islam, who are considered apostates.  His wife, Kristina, is raising their two young sons alone while her husband is in prison.  She has developed stomach ulcers.  Please pray for this family.

What You can Do:

  • Pray for Pastor Irani.
  • Pray for his wife Kristina, and their two sons.

Father, today we lift up Pastor Irani and his wife Kristina.  Remind them of the glory that awaits those who suffer because of their relationship with You.  Strengthen them.  Support them.  Lead them.  Guide them.  Heal them.  Protect their children from evil, and reveal Yourself to them so that they will follow You, as do their parents.  Pastor Irani has lost his Bible, Father, but he hasn’t lost You.  Speak to him directly.  Remind him of who he is and who You are.  You are the Most High God.  Prove Your presence to these children of Yours each day, and every hour.  Amen.


Pastor Behnam Irani began serving a sentence for “crimes against national security” after turning himself in on May 31, 2011.  His sentence was for 1 year, but was later increased to 5 years.  Since being imprisoned he has been beaten repeatedly by fellow inmates (with guards watching).  His beatings have resulted in lose of vision, and difficulty in speaking and walking.  He also appears to be suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease.  Sources close to the situation fear he is so ill he will die in prison, unless the conditions change.

Pastor Irani was the leader of a house church in Iran.  On April 14, 2010 security officials interrupted a worship serviced to arrest the pastor.  They confiscated Bibles, DVDs, and other Christian literature.  In January of 2011 he was tried and convicted of crimes against national security.

What you can do:

  • Please pray for Pastor Irani, his family, and his fellow prisoners and jailors.

Father, God of all Creation,

We lift up Pastor Irani before you today.  He has laid his life down to serve You, and all those with whom he comes in contact.  You have brought him into contact with those who hate him, who repeatedly beat him, and who have wounded his body, perhaps to the point of death.  Jesus, you know exactly what that is like.  Pour out your Spirit upon him.  Fill him with your mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love.  Let his light shine before the men in his prison so that they will see his good works and glorify You.  Speak through his mouth, Father.  He is not able to speak freely anymore, but You can speak through him.  Heal his wounds.  Comfort his spirit.  Release him from pain.  Let him soar on wings like an eagle above the chaotic fray.  Open up the hearts and minds of his captors and persecutors.  Reveal Yourself to them with power and authority.  Turn the prison into a sanctuary where Jesus, the King, is praised forevermore!  Nothing is too hard for You.  With You, nothing is impossible.

Comfort and protect the pastor’s family, Father.  Surround them with Your protection and power.  Lift up their heads, be the strength of their lives, and be their portion forever.  Fill them with confidence in You, in Your plan for the world, and in their place in Your plan.  Keep them strong in the faith.  Hold them in Your hand and never let them go.  Thank You for the powerful work You are doing through Pastor Irani and his family and church.

In the awesome, sweet name of Jesus, Amen.

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs

Petr Jasek: Sudan

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Petr Jasek is a Christian aid worker from the Czech Republic.  He was detained, along with three other men, on charges which could result in the death penalty or life imprisonment–conspiring against the state, provoking hatred among sects, publishing false news, conspiring against the state, spying against the country, and violently opposing public authority.  The four men, Reverend Shamal, Reverend Hassan Abduraheem, Czech aid worker Petr Jasek and another Sudanese man, were detained on December 18, 2015.  They were held for eight months before charges were finally filed in August 2016.

While attending a missionary conference in Sudan, Petr Jasek met with a young man who had been badly injured during a demonstration.  He gave the man some money to help with his medical expenses, and received a receipt signed by the other men.  Upon leaving Sudan, Petr was searched by authorities and the receipt was found.  He, and the men who signed the receipt, were arrested for illegal fund raising, although they did not participate in raising any funds other than the single donation.

Three trial dates have passed without any progress toward resolution.  Please pray for these men and their families.

Hassan Abduraheem: Sudan

sudan

Reverend Hassan Abduraheem is the the Secretary-General of the Sudan Church of Christ.  He was detained, along with three other men, on charges which could result in the death penalty or life imprisonment–conspiring against the state, provoking hatred among sects, publishing false news, conspiring against the state, spying against the country, and violently opposing public authority.  The four men, Reverend Shamal, Reverend Hassan Abduraheem, Czech aid worker Petr Jasek and another Sudanese man, were detained on December 18, 2015.

While attending a missionary conference in Sudan, Petr Jasek met with a young man who had been badly injured during a demonstration.  He gave the man some money to help with his medical expenses, and received a receipt signed by the other men.  Upon leaving Sudan, Petr was searched by authorities and the receipt was found.  He, and the men who signed the receipt, were arrested for illegal fund raising, although they did not participate in raising any funds other than the single donation.

Three trial dates have passed without any progress toward resolution.  Please pray for these men and their families.

Kuwa Shamal: Sudan

sudan

Reverend Kuwa Shamal is the the head of missions for the Sudan Church of Christ.  He was detained, along with three other men, on charges which could result in the death penalty or life imprisonment–conspiring against the state, provoking hatred among sects, publishing false news, conspiring against the state, spying against the country, and violently opposing public authority.  The four men, Rev. Shamal, Rev. Hassan Abduraheem, Czech aid worker Petr Jasek and another Sudanese man, were detained on December 18, 2015.

While attending a missionary conference in Sudan, Petr Jasek met with a young man who had been badly injured during a demonstration.  He gave the man some money to help with his medical expenses, and received a receipt signed by the other men.  Upon leaving Sudan, Petr was searched by authorities and the receipt was found.  He, and the men who signed the receipt, were arrested for illegal fund raising, although they did not participate in raising any funds other than the single donation.

Three trial dates have passed without any progress toward resolution.  Please pray for these men and their families.

 

Asia Bibi: Pakistan

pakistan

UPDATE  October 14, 2016
The Supreme Court of Pakistan was scheduled to hear Asia’s case yesterday, October 13, 2016.  However the hearing was delayed when one of the judges recused himself due to, it appears, a conflict of interest.  Hundreds were gathered to protest if she was released. They did not set a new trial date.


UPDATE  January 19, 2016
Asia Bibi, mother of five who has been sentenced to death in Pakistan under the blasphemy law, says she has forgiven her captors.  She was recently quoted as saying

Christmas is the celebration of God’s mercy. I forgive my persecutors, those who have falsely accused me, and I await their forgiveness. . . . Jesus made this happy day for me and has accepted my prayers. . . . But, although I have been in prison for seven years, I do not hate those who did me wrong. . . . I pray that Jesus Christ will grant peace to the whole world.

Please continue to pray for her as she awaits her final appeal to the Supreme Court of Iran.

Source:  ACLJ


UPDATE  August 1, 2015
Last month Asia’s case was accepted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.  They agreed to hear her appeal, but a date has not been set yet.  They have temporarily suspended her death sentence pending appeal.  Please pray as this process moves forward.  They will be looking at failures in due process, such as the original court failed to allow Asia to present her story, and the original report was submitted a week after the alleged incident.  The court reversed a previous sentence because the original report was made 48 hours after the event.  According to Pakistani law, it is supposed to be registered immediately.

Source:  ACLJ

Militants have placed a bounty on Asia’s head, and threaten to kill her if the court doesn’t.

Source:  Rach’s Thoughts


UPDATE December 2, 2014
A legal situation in Pakistan has arisen that may have an impact on Asia’s case.  In October, her appeal was denied.  According to Open Doors:

“The appeals judges now explain they had no choice because of the way Pakistan’s laws are written, and they have turned to lawmakers to create legislation that would empower trial courts to apply a test that would make future blasphemy convictions much more difficult to achieve.  No such test was in place when Noreen was tried.

The High Court’s legal reasoning and proposed legislation intended to close the loophole through which it says Noreen has fallen, was not available on October 16. In Pakistan, blasphemy against Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, is a crime punishable by death, though a death sentence for blasphemy has never been carried out.

That glitch, Saqi said, involves a legal principle found in Islamic law called tazkiya al shuhood, which requires accusers to meet strict standards of Islamic piety. This precedent came into play when Noreen’s lawyer, Naeem Shakir, embarked on an unconventional legal strategy, attempting to subject his Christian client to Islamic law rather than Pakistan’s secular laws.”

Please continue to pray for Asia (also known as Noreen) as well as the courts and government of Pakistan.

Source:  Open Doors


UPDATE November 3, 2014
Nearly 2,000 Islamic clerics gathered outside of Asia’s court hearing on October 16 in an attempt to pressure the judges against overturning her verdict.  A bounty has been placed on her head of a half million rupees (about $5,000).  Two government officials have been assassinated after speaking up on her behalf.  Her attorneys plan to file another appeal with the Supreme Court, but it will likely result in more years of waiting.  She was originally incarcerated in 2009 and is currently on death row, along with 16 other Christians convicted of “blasphemy.”


UPDATE  October 22, 2014
You can sign a petition requesting that Pakistan free Asia.

Read Asia’s description of the event here.  She has been sentenced to hanging for “speaking against the Prophet” by the Pakistani courts.


UPDATE October 16, 2014
Asia Bibi lost her appeal when a Pakistani court decided today to uphold the death penalty for making “derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed.”  She is the first woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.  Her lawyers plan to take the case to the Supreme Court.  She has been in prison since 2010.

You can read her story in the book Blasphemy.

Please pray for her and her family!

Sources:  BBC News Asia
Reuters

Father, I’m so disappointed in the outcome of this hearing.  We’ve been waiting such a long time and to have the ruling upheld is crushing.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for Asia and her family.  I ask You to pour out Your presence on each of them.  Encourage them, strengthen them, strongly support each of them, and provide for all their needs.  I pray for Asia as she looks ahead to hundreds of more days in prison.  I ask You to raise up advocates for her from within Pakistan as well as the international community.  Protect those who defend her, as we know of two public officials who have already been assassinated for speaking on her behalf.  I pray for the people of Pakistan, Father.  Give them wisdom, courage, and lead them in the way they should go.  Pour out Your love and mercy upon this country, and let Your kingdom come to that beautiful land that You love.


UPDATE  October 16, 2014
Asia’s court hearing set for September 9, 2014, was postponed, making it the fifth postponement.  The request came from her husband, Ashiq Masih.  He asked for the delay because his personal attorney was not there, although Asia’s lawyers were present.  A new hearing was set for today, October 16, 2014.  The judge said this is the final hearing date and no more delays would be permitted.  Please pray for her immediate release.


UPDATE June 23, 2014
asias-family-prayingAsia’s appeal has been delayed for the fifth time, and her hearing has been delayed for the fourth time.  She remains in prison, in solitary confinement “for her own good,” and is given raw materials to cook her own food so she “won’t be poisoned.”  Please continue to pray for Asia as she is in frail health.

Sources:  Open Doors
Wikipedia


July 3, 2013
Asia was moved to a prison 5 hours away from her home on June 6, 2013.  She has been very sick and in a lot of pain.  Her husband has been a big source of encouragement for her, and now he will not be able to visit her as frequently due to the large distance he must travel.  Please continue to pray for strength, endurance, and the presence of the Lord in her captivity.

Father,  Asia has been in prison for over 4 years now.  She has 5 children who need her desperately.  You have heard their prayers.  You have seen their troubles.  Please work in the hearts of her captors, and through Pakistan’s legal system, and secure her release.  Remember her young daughters.  Remember her special needs daughter.  Be a mother to them in her absence, but please Lord, secure her release.  Encourage her with the strength of Your presence.  Support her with Your joy.  Be all in all of her, Lord, so that she might bear with patience the gross injustice that is done to her.  In a new prison she no longer has the support of jailers that care for her.  Develop new friendships for her in her new place.  Show her the joy that is coming to her so that, just as Jesus endured the cross because of the joy that was set before him, she also may endure her imprisonment because of the joy that is set before her.  Strengthen her family.  Thank you for her strongly supportive husband, Father.  Fill him with your peace, and give him the faith he needs to move any mountain in his path.  Bring him all the support he needs to run this race with endurance.  We are nothing without You.  Be everything to Asia and her family, and bring them through this wilderness triumphantly.  Do this for the glory of Your name.  Amen


blasphemyJanuary 7, 2013
Asia’s family has published a book telling of her ordeal.  Proceeds from the book go to her family (who are in hiding) and help with her defense funds.

Blasphemy


December 13, 2012
Ashiq Masih and his 19 year old daughter, Sidra, visited Spain to petition the government there to help free Asia and grant her asylum.  He spoke to junior foreign minister Gonzalo de Benito in Madrid.  The visit was organized by Hazte Oir, a Spanish Roman Catholic group.  According to Ignacio Arsuaga, the foreign minister indicated that, “it is quite prepared to grant asylum as soon as Asia Bibi herself requests it,” and that they are always willing to help in her defense.   Ashiq said, “We are very happy and have great faith that this country will help free my wife.”   Asia is currently in prison, awaiting an appeal of her death sentence for blasphemy.  The family was forced into hiding after receiving numerous death threats.
“She is protected in prison and they are treating her well, but she is having a hard time because she is very far from her family and is suffering psychologically,” Ashiq said. “We live in hiding in Pakistan and we are very afraid. They say we have blasphemed… and that they are going to kill us.” (Daily Times – Pakistan)
Information Source:  Church in Chains

Help free Asia Bibi!


UPDATE  9/3/2012 
More than 150,000 Pakistanis have signed a petition requesting the release of Asia Bibi, in prison and sentenced to death for blasphemy for stating that “Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins”.  Voice of the Martyrs is attempting to collect 1,000,000 signatures to the petition for her release.  You can sign the petition here.  Let all your friends know about A Call for Mercy.

Asia’s daughters and husband went into hiding this summer.  They are praying earnestly for her release.  Stand along side of them in prayer and support for her release, as well as the release of Shamim Bibi, and other political and religious prisoners in Pakistan.


asia-bibi-2Asia Bibi was arrested on June 19, 2009, on blasphemy charges.  The 37 year old mother of 5 was working on the farm of Muhammad Idrees.  Some of the Muslim women were telling her about their faith, and when they finished, she told them of her Christian beliefs.  When she told of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, she said that Jesus is alive, but Muhammad is dead.  The women attacked her, and began to beat her, then she was taken by some men and locked in a room.  The local mosque announced over the loud speaker that her face would be blackened and she would be paraded through the streets of town on a donkey.  Local Christians contacted the police, who took her into custody before this could happen.  (There are only 3 Christian families in Asia’s village of 1,500 families.)

Christians lobbied on behalf of Asia, asking the police not to file charges against her, but they claimed they were under pressure from local Muslims.  Nineteen months later she was convicted of breaking Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law 295–blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad–and was sentenced to death.  So far, no Christian has ever been executed in Pakistan for blasphemy, but some have been killed by angry extremists upon their release.

Asia’s husband, Ashiq Masih, visited her in January (2012) and again in March.  In January she appeared happy, and filled with thanksgiving and joy.  She said, “I am very thankful for this visit.  I am happy and fine.  I am praying every day.  I am strong in my faith.  I know that this is the test of my faith, and I know to make gold, it must be purified in the fire.  I am strong in my faith, and I know that God will release me.  I pray that God forgives the people who blamed me.”

When Ashiq visited her in March, she expressed discouragement regarding her release, but as he was telling her about how her daughters were doing in school, he felt God’s presence and heard Him say, “Don’t be afraid.  I am with you.”


UPDATE 6/23/12
Asia’s family has gone into hiding in fear of their lives.  Human rights workers in the country are afraid to provide updates on her situation, believing that will bring more harm to her and her family.  The country has already seen the murder of two of its high ranking government officials due to their criticism of the blasphemy law and their support of Asia–Salman Taseer, the Governor of the Punjab, and Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minorities Minister.  Asia has come to represent the thousands of people in prison for their religious convictions.  Pray for her, her family, and the country of Pakistan.  She knows the world is working hard for her release.


UPDATE 6/5/12 

  • Sign the petition to free Asia
  • Encourage your senators and representatives to support all congressional legislation regarding Freedom of Religion here and around the world.
  • Let your friends know about Asia, and encourage them to pray.
  • Pray for Asia, her family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Pray for God’s intervention on her behalf, that she will soon be safely released.
  • Pray for the salvation of those who accused her, and who are holding her.
  • Write to Asia:

Asia Bibi
District Jail
Sheikhupura
Punjab
Pakistan
Letter Writing Guidelines:
DON’T mention the source of your information or name any organizations.  Letters from individual people are acceptable, but prisoners may receive harsher treatment and longer sentences if it appears they are connected with an “international organization”.  This is why families sometimes don’t want their loved ones listed by name.  Also, please don’t say anything negative about her country, its laws, or its practices.  Focus the letter on encouraging Asia, strengthening her with quotes from the Bible, and your prayers.

Sources:  Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors.
Photograph is a picture distributed by Asia’s family, and is a Google public domain image.

Dear Lord,
You are Asia’s father and you are there, right now, with her in her prison cell.  I thank you for her joyful spirit, and her faith and trust in you.  I can’t even imagine what she is going through, having been incarcerated for almost 3 years.  Strengthen her, Father.  Support her daughters.   Encourage her husband.  I join together with her in asking that You forgive those that sent her there, and I pray that she will be a shining, golden light to everyone around her.  I pray that not a single day of prison time will pass without a rich blessing for Asia.  I pray that You, the Lord God Almighty, who does as He chooses with the nations of the earth, will intervene on her behalf.  Release her from prison at the most perfect time, reveal Yourself to her fellow prisoners and  her jailors, and let the district jail become a sanctuary for Your Spirit.  Let her light so shine in that dark place, that every one around her will want what she has, will turn to You, and be saved!  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they released her because her light was too bright?  Thank you for the work you are doing in that “forsaken” spot in the world, because you haven’t forsaken it.  In Jesus’ loving name, Amen.