“They have absolutely nothing left as the frenzied mob first looted all their valuables and then set the houses on fire,” stated World Renew’s local partner after visiting the affected community. “180 families, including infants, women, elderly and the disabled, are without adequate shelter and are forced to spend time under the open sky, without food and other basic necessities of life. For them life has come to a complete standstill. They are in a state of trauma.”
World Renew is working with a local partner to assist over 1,500 people affected by this tragedy. These individuals and families are receiving food, clean water and household items (bedding, cooking supplies, and hygiene kits) from World Renew while the government is helping to rebuild the damaged homes.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event. In Pakistan, religious minorities are often not considered equal in status to the Muslim majority. Prejudice occurs at all levels of society, making it difficult for minorities to access education, jobs, health facilities and certain residential areas. Minorities are also discriminated in the justice system and are not considered as equal citizens of the State. The government’s blasphemy law is regularly misused to target Christians and other non-Muslim minorities.
“They have absolutely nothing left as the frenzied mob first looted all their valuables and then set the houses on fire"
Last year a similar incident occurred in the slums of Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. Thousands of families lived in precarious and un-authorized dwellings on the outskirts of the city, working as laborers or domestic servants in more-wealthy parts of the city. In August 2012 a young Down Syndrome Christian girl living in the community of Meharbadi was accused of desecrating the Quran, the Muslim holy book. A mob of extremists entered her home, attacked her mother and set fire to her house and those of other neighboring Christians.
Haleena, a mother and grandmother who lived in Meharbadi and raised her children and grandchildren there, was one of the Christians affected by this disaster. “We left our home on that night, when thousands of extremist Muslims from Islamabad and its surrounding areas gathered outside of Meharabadi and blocked the Highway,” she explained, “We just saved our lives and left everything behind.”
World Renew and its local partner I-LAP provided Haleena and other families from Meharbadi with emergency food packages, a hygiene kit, mattress and some financial assistance to find a new place to rent.
“Because of this timely assistance we were able to restart our lives in a dignified manner” stated Haleena. “My grandchildren are back in school again and we are living a stable life. May God bless I-LAP and World Renew and their teams and may God provide them success.”
Please join World Renew in praying for Christians around the world who face discrimination and violence because of their beliefs.
Please also pray for World Renew as we continue to respond to these needs with a ministry of love and support.