September 3, 2020

PAKISTAN: Teen Girls Kidnapped for Forcible Marriages

Maira Shahbaz and Saneha Kinza Iqbal - Photo of Saneha (on right): Church in Chains - www.churchinchains.ie
Maira Shahbaz and Saneha Kinza Iqbal
Photo of Saneha (on right): Church in Chains

On April 28th, 14-year-old Maira Shahbaz (also referenced as "Maria") had been abducted at gunpoint by Mohamad Nakash and his two accomplices while she was walking to her home near Faisalabad. She was then forced to convert to Islam and marry her abductor. The teen girl's parents challenged the validity of the marriage but Mohamad presented a marriage certificate falsely stating that Maira was 19 years old. The kidnapper has also issued death threats against Maira and her family if they continued to pursue this action.

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ETHIOPIA: Christians Targeted in Violent Outbreaks

Property damage from a fire - Photo: Steadfast Global www.steadfastglobal.org
Fire damage in Shashamene.
Photo: Steadfast Global

The Oromia region of Ethiopia is in the midst of turmoil as separatists spread dissent against the government. The murder of prominent singer Hachalu Hundessa on June 29th set off the civil unrest, leaving hundreds dead.

During the third week of August, a violent outbreak took place in a predominantly Muslim village of Senbete Sinkile. In the attack, which was perpetrated by a youth wing of separatists known as the Qeerroo, it appears that Christians in particular were targeted. While there were no fatalities resulting from this attack, a number of people were injured and damages were done to a church and the homes of various Christians in the village. A number of victims were forced to flee, despite flood conditions, seeking refuge in the mainly Christian city of Awassa.

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CHINA: Close Monitoring of Pastor's Wife and Son

Pastor Wang Yi with his family - Photo: ChinaAid www.chinaaid.org
Pastor Wang Yi with his family
Photo: ChinaAid

Pastor Wang Yi of the Early Rain Covenant Church is presently serving a nine-year prison sentence. He was arrested, along with his wife, in December 2018. While Pastor Wang's wife, Jiang Rong, was released on bail, the authorities have barred her from interacting with family, friends, and church members. She is being constantly monitored by security agents and essentially has no freedom of movement.

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