|Magdalene Ashraf, a Christian nurse trainee, |
was brutally attacked in July 2010 by several
Muslim men who raped her and threw her
from the window of a medical centre
in Karachi, Pakistan.
At the briefing in the House of Commons, MPs and peers were expected to hear how Christian women in countries marked by religious persecution experience kidnapping, violence, rape, and even have basics like water denied them.
According to research, women are more likely to experience sexual harassment or rape because of their lower social status – which is due to both their religion and their gender.
One survey of women from minority religions in Pakistan revealed that 30 per cent of those with jobs had experienced sexual harassment. Other reports revealed how abductions of Coptic women in Egypt have increased, with 800 cases of Christians kidnapped and pressured to convert to Islam since 2009.
One speaker included Thomsena Anjum, originally from Pakistan’s Punjab province, who fled to the UK with her family after being shot at following a blasphemy allegation against her son. Her husband, Stephen, worked closely with assassinated Pakistan minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti.
“These hate crimes towards Christian women are increasing and do not seem to end. These crimes are unreported and unpunished,” she said.
John Pontifex from Aid to the Church in Need adds, “Taken as a whole, this research suggests that Christians in general are often treated at best as second class citizens and Christian women are treated as if they are barely citizens at all.”
In light of the struggles Christian women face around the world, VOM’s women’s ministry, Release Women, seeks to reach out specifically to our suffering sisters. We serve and encourage our sisters through prayer and hands-on projects while being inspired and challenged by their testimonies of overcoming faith in the face of imprisonment, brutality and even death for Christ's sake. For more information on how you can get involved, click here.