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Christian News from the Frontlines of Persecution

Forensic DNA results of semen samples in a sexual assault case show they match those of the Muslim boys a 14-year-old Christian girl accuses of raping her, according to advocacy organizations. The girl accuses Muhammad Noman and Muhammad Imran, both 17, of abducting her from her school in Kamboh colony, Lahore, in Punjab Province…

MOROCCO

ISLAMISTS USE FACEBOOK TO TARGET CHRISTIANS ***

June 17 (Compass Direct News) – Moroccan Christians say Muslim extremists in the country are aiding and encouraging the government to pursue them by exposing and vilifying them on social networking site Facebook. Facebook user Gardes Maroc Maroc has posted 32 image collages featuring dozens of Christian converts, calling them “hyena evangelists” or “wolves in lamb’s skins” who are trying to “shake the faith of Muslims” on the Arabic-language site. The online images depict Christian converts and their families from across the country and include details about their roles and activities in churches, their personal addresses and anecdotal stories attempting to malign them. Since March, the Moroccan government has expelled more than 100 foreign Christians for alleged “proselytizing.” Since the deportations started in early March, it seems that authorities, extremists and society as a whole have colluded against them, local Christians said. Dozens of Christians have been called to police stations for interrogation. Many of them have been threatened and verbally abused. “They mocked our faith,” said one Moroccan Christian who requested anonymity. Authorities interrogated the convert for eight hours and followed him for three weeks in March and April, he said. During interrogation, he added, local police told him they were prepared to throw him in jail and kill him. Most Moroccan Christians that spoke to Compass said the attitudes of their Muslim relatives had shifted, and many have been kicked out of their homes or chosen to leave “to not create problems” for their families.

*** Photos of Moroccan lawyer Abdel Adghirni are available electronically. Contact Compass Direct News for pricing and transmittal.

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PAKISTAN

MUSLIM BOYS ACCUSED OF RAPING CHRISTIAN GIRL

June 3 (Compass Direct News) – Forensic DNA results of semen samples in a sexual assault case show they match those of the Muslim boys a 14-year-old Christian girl accuses of raping her, according to advocacy organizations. The girl accuses Muhammad Noman and Muhammad Imran, both 17, of abducting her from her school in Kamboh colony, Lahore, in Punjab Province, on May 6 and drugging her prior to sexually assaulting her, according to Khalid Gill, president of the Christian Lawyers Foundation (CLF), and officials of the National Commission of Justice and Peace. The minor, who name was withheld, told the organizations that Noman and Imran gagged her, took her by motorbike to a place unknown to her and made her drink a beverage containing tranquilizers. The CLF’s Gill said the boys later left her on a road near the school’s main entrance. The girl’s father, Rehmat Masih, is deceased. After investigating, on May 9 Millat Park Police registered a case against Noman and Imran for abducting “with intent to commit adultery.” When Muslims commit crimes against Christians in Pakistan they commonly assume law enforcement officials will not prosecute, but the two boys were arrested on May 26.

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PAKISTAN

MUSLIMS ORDER CHRISTIANS TO LEAVE VILLAGE

June 7 (Compass Direct News) – The head of a Muslim village last week ordered 250 Christian families to leave their homes in Khanewal district, Punjab Province, local residents said. Abdul Sattar Khan, head of village No. 123/10R, Katcha Khoh, and other area Muslim residents ordered the expulsions after Christian residents objected too strenuously to sexual assaults by Muslims on Christian girls and women, said a locally elected Christian official, Emmanuel Masih. Most of the village’s Christian men work in the fields of Muslim land owners, while most of the Christian women and girls work as servants in the homes of Muslim families, said Rasheed Masih. The Muslim employers have used their positions of power to routinely sexually assault the Christian women and girls, whose complaints grew so shrill that four Christian men – Emmanuel Masih, Rasheed Masih, his younger brother Shehzad Anjum and Yousaf Masih Khokhar – sternly confronted the Muslims, only to be told that all Christians were to leave the village at once. Asked why they didn’t contact local Katcha Khoh police for help, Emmanuel Masih and Khokhar said that filing a complaint against Muslim village head Khan and other Muslims would only result in police registering false charges against them under Pakistan’s notorious “blasphemy” statutes. That very fate befell two Christian couples in Gulshan-e-Iqbal town, Karachi, who had approached police with complaints against Muslims for falsely accusing them of blasphemy. On May 28, a judge directed Peer Ilahi Bakhsh police to file charges of desecrating the Quran against Atiq Joseph and Qaiser William after a mob of armed Islamists went through their home’s garbage looking for pages of the Islamic scripture among clean-up debris.

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PAKISTAN

CHRISTIAN WOMAN ABUSED, FORCED TO RESIGN ***

June 10 (Compass Direct News) – A Christian woman here said she has been falsely accused of theft, beaten, threatened with rape and forced to resign her job in a bid to keep her from obtaining full benefits as a regular government employee. Razia Bibi, a 38-year-old sanitation worker known as Rajji of village No. 47-NB (Northern Branch), was due to obtain regular status as a government employee at Aysha Girls’ Hostel at the University of Sargodha at the end of May. On May 7, however, Muslim office worker Safia Bibi accused her of stealing 10,000 rupees (US$120) from her cubicle – and when hostel warden Noshaba Bibi learned of it, she called female police officers and ordered them to beat her until she confessed, Rajji said. When she refused, she ordered male security guards to rape her. Her husband, Nayyer Aftab, arrived in time to spare her from rape by paying the amount of the allegedly stolen money, but the hostel warden forced Rajji to resign. “As I am a Christian, the Muslim hostel officers Safia and Noshaba wanted a Muslim regular employee after their hearts instead of me,” Rajji told Compass. Noshaba Bibi initially refused to comment on the allegation that she falsely accused the Christian woman of theft in order to provide a job to someone of her choice, but after repeated questioning by Compass she yelled, “Yes, I have done it, do whatever you want!” In a village in southern Punjab Province, meantime, Muslim extremists on Saturday (June 5) attacked Christians trying to construct a church building, and then got police to file charges against them for defending themselves, according to the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA). A club-wielding Muslim mob led by Muhammad Nazir Ahmed beat the Christians in village No. 184/9-L, in Cheechawatni of Sahiwal district, seriously injuring several of them, said Javed Akber Gill, APMA district coordinator in Sahiwal.

*** Photos of Razia Bibi and Nayyer Aftab are available electronically. Contact Compass Direct News for pricing and transmittal.

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PAKISTAN

MUSLIMS KIDNAP, RAPE CHRISTIAN GIRL

June 16 (Compass Direct News) – Five Muslims here kidnapped and raped a Christian girl after threatening to kill her unless her father allowed one of them to marry her. Lazarus Masih said one of his three daughters, 14, was kidnapped on May 29 by five men identified only as Guddu, Kamran, Waqas, Adil and Ali. Police recovered her on June 6 in a raid on the home where she was being held, though the suspects escaped. Family members said the suspects took her to a house near Islamabad, where they gave her a drug that rendered her unconscious, and raped her. A medical report confirmed that she was given drugs and raped. “They threatened that if I don’t get her married to Guddu, they would kill her,” Masih said. “One of them said, ‘We attended an Islamic religious convention, and the speaker said if you marry a non-Muslim or rape a non-Muslim girl, you will get 70 virgins in heaven.” Devastated family members said the girl remained frightened and was not speaking to anyone. “It is such a shame that the religious leaders teach inhuman acts,” said the Rev. John Gill of Shamsabad Catholic Church. “This incident has ruined the life of an innocent child.”

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PAKISTAN

CHRISTIAN CHILD ABDUCTED, FORCED INTO BONDED LABOR

June 21 (Compass Direct News) – An 11-year-old Christian boy here is growing weak and ill from malnutrition from working in slave-like conditions for a Muslim landowner who kidnapped him and is forcing him to work off his family’s debts, his mother told Compass. Katherine Bibi said landowner Ashraf Cheema of Dhonikay village, Wazirabad, has offered her son better conditions and possibly cancellation of the debt if he will convert to Islam. Young Danish Masih works without break from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m., often in iron chains, on half a loaf of bread per day, according to Dawood Masih of the National Commission of Justice and Peace. The boy’s father and older brother had been working for Cheema to pay off a debt of 142,000 rupees (US$1,640), but their employer was neither paying their monthly wages nor deducting the amounts from their debt, said Emmanuel Berkat Gill of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. Cheema also extorted land worth 35,000 rupees (US$404) from the boy’s older brother, again without deducting the amount from their debt, and ransacked the family’s house in Ali Naggar village, stealing Katherine Bibi’s dowry worth 200,000 rupees (US$2,308), she and Gill said. The family decided to flee to Islamabad, 165 miles (102 miles) away, Katherine Bibi said, but 18 months ago Cheema found them and abducted Danish Masih. Contacted by Compass, Cheema said that no such boy works at his farm or fields, and that “someone must have misled you.” Besides the court recognition of the abduction, however, Gill and other credible sources assert that Danish Masih works from dawn to dusk under a sizzling summer sun without any break or meal.

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PAKISTAN

CHRISTIAN PROFESSOR BEATEN FOR REFUSING TO CONVERT

June 25 (Compass Direct News) – Muslim students attacked a Christian professor at the Peshawar University College this month after he refused their demand to convert to Islam, the instructor told Compass. Psychology professor Samuel John, a father of four who has been teaching at the college for 12 years, said that as he came out of his house on the campus of the private college at 8:30 a.m. on June 14, about 20 to 25 students rushed and assaulted him. When his wife learned what was happening she ran to help him, but the students beat her as well. Both John and his wife were rushed to Lady Reading hospital, where they were treated for their injuries, with John listed in critical condition. “I am still getting threats,” the professor told Compass. “They say, ‘Leave the university or accept Islam – if you don’t convert, we will kill your family.” Police have refused to register a First Information Report on the incident, he said. Separately, in Danna village in southern Punjab Province, Muslim administrators told three Christian students in the eighth grade to leave the school because they refused to convert to Islam. A new teacher of Islamic Studies at Government High School Danna urged students in his class, Sunil Masih, Shazia Masih and Nasir Naeem, to convert to Islam, the father of Sunil, Ejaz Masih, told Compass. The parents complained to the principal, who told them, under pressure from other teachers, to remove their children from the school, Masih said. The families have fled the area with their children.

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PAKISTAN

‘BLASPHEMY LAWS’ USED TO JAIL ELDERLY CHRISTIAN

June 29 (Compass Direct News) – A Muslim vying with a Christian for a parcel of land here has accused the elderly man of “blaspheming” Islam’s prophet Muhammad, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment, according to the Christian Lawyers’ Foundation (CLF). Jhumray police on June 19 arrested Rehmat Masih of village No. 165/RB Jandawali in Faisalabad district under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s controversial “blasphemy laws,” and he was sent to Faisalabad District Jail on judicial remand by Magistrate Muhammad Sajawal. Christian sources said Masih, who suffers from arthritis, is 85 years old, though the First Information Report against him lists his age as 73. The CLF’s Rai Navid Zafar Bhatti told Compass that hard-line Muslim Muhammad Sajjid Hameed filed the charges after learning that he would not be able to secure the Punjab Province land. CLF President Khalid Gill said local Christian residents led by Masih had applied to the Punjab government to secure the land for construction of a Christian residential area, and Hameed had applied for the same parcel for commercial projects. Masih had argued with Hameed and other Muslims about the Virgin Mary in April. Hameed has testified in court that Masih made derogatory remarks about Muhammad and Khadija, the first wife of the founder of the religion, Bhatti said. Gill said Masih has testified that he said nothing “humiliating” about Muhammad or Khadija. “I am not a blasphemer, nor I can think of such a sinister thing, which is against the teachings of Christ,” Masih testified, according to Gill.

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SOMALIA

FAMILY OF 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL ABUSES HER FOR LEAVING ISLAM

June 15 (Compass Direct News) – The Muslim parents of a 17-year-old Somali girl who converted to Christianity severely beat her for leaving Islam and have regularly shackled her to a tree at their home for more than a month, Christian sources said. Nurta Mohamed Farah of Bardher, Gedo Region in southern Somalia, has been confined to her home since May 10, when her family found out that she had embraced Christianity, said a Christian leader who visited the area. Her parents also took her to a doctor who prescribed medication for a “mental illness,” he said. Alarmed by her determination to keep her faith, her father, Hassan Kafi Ilmi, and mother, Hawo Godane Haf, decided she had gone crazy and forced her to take the prescribed medication, but it had no effect in swaying her from her faith, the source said. Traditionally, he added, many Somalis believe the Quran cures the sick, especially the mentally ill, so the Islamic scripture is continually recited to her twice a week. “The girl is very sick and undergoing intense suffering,” he said.

Compass Direct News

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