Rifkha (name changed for security reasons) works at a Muslim farm in the village of Muphat Pura, in Kasur district of Pakistan. On September 16 at 5 pm, Rifkha was working alone on the farm when three relatives of her Muslim employer came and repeatedly raped her.
Warned not to report the rape to anyone, Rifkha told us, “I am very sad about what happened to me. If I report this case, it will be difficult for me and my family to live in the area. The Muslims have threatened to kill me and my brothers (who also work for the same employer) if I report the case to the police. We are Christians and we are very poor that is why we are targeted by the Muslims.”
Unfortunately, Rifkah’s experience is not an isolated one. Many Christian girls are raped at the hands of Muslims in Pakistan. Rape has been used as a weapon of persecution against Christian girls in Pakistan, a country where Christians are treated as third-class citizens. In the Muslim majority country, Christian girls are particularly vulnerable to these types of crimes because Muslim authorities are reluctant to protect them when their rights are violated by Muslims. According to Compass Direct News, a Christian mother of five said that she was raped by two Pakistani Muslims on September 15th. In January, Muhammad Aftab was arrested after raping six Christian girls at different times.
The president of the Pakistan Christian Congress, Dr. Nazir Bhatti, told us, “The incidents of rape and enforced conversion of Christian women to Islam is rising every year. 99.9% of rape cases go unreported in Pakistan… If a Muslim man rapes a Christian girl, then he easily forces her to convert to Islam, marries her and covers up his heinous crime of rape under Islamic law. Some cases of rapes of Christian women are reported, but the majority of such rapes are never reported.”
Unfortunately, Rifkha’s story is not even unique to Pakistan, but is rampant in much of the Islamic World. In our November newsletter, we are focusing on Christian women like Rifkha who, in many parts of the world, are vulnerable, easy targets for abduction, rape, forced marriage, forced conversion, and even sexual slavery. Make sure you sign up in the next week to get ensure you get your copy. This is an issue that is largely overlooked and urgently needs the Church’s attention.
Narsi* is a Christian woman living as part of one of only fifty Christian families among thousands of Muslim residents in a Pakistani village. Recently, in a telephone interview, she shared with me the challenges she and fellow believers in her village face to stay faithful to Christ.
Muslims use insults, threats and even bribes to attempt to convert believers – many of whom live in poverty. Narsi told me that though she is poor and must provide for the needs of her three children, she refused to recant her faith in exchange for money or property because she believes that Christ died for her.
Though persecution was her daily experience, nothing could prepare Narsi for what she faced on February 15. Because Narsi cannot afford to build a restroom, she went out to her field early in the morning to relieve herself. Tragically, two Muslim men were hiding in the field, lying in wait for their Christian victim. As soon as Narsi came near, one of the men grabbed her and forced his hand over mouth – muffling her screams while the other man raped her. The men took turns raping Narsi. She told us that during the rape, they asked her, “You Christian dogs, why do you live here?”
Narsi is still devastated by what happened that morning. In the picture at left, she was weeping as she told one of our representatives her story while holding the bloodied trousers she wore during the attack. Rape brings such shame to a woman in Pakistani society that Narsi was terrified to report the rape to police. She told me that she did not even tell her husband because she was afraid that he might attempt to retaliate against the Muslim attackers and kill them.
My final question for Narsi was a question we ask all of our suffering brothers and sisters: How can the Church help you? She simply said that she would like Christians to pray for her and to help her and her family. Because Narsi was attacked when she had to venture into a field in the early morning because she could not afford a restroom, ICC will be helping Narsi and her family by building her a new bathroom for her home.
After my interview with Narsi, I learned that the rape has resulted in a pregnancy. She is being advised by doctors to have an abortion and she is afraid that she would not be able to care for the child, so ICC is working to counsel her to keep the child and provide funds to help ease her fears that she will not be able to afford keeping the baby. This is obviously a very sensitive situation so we covet your prayers for Narsi and her child – that the Father would comfort her heart and allow a true work of redemption and grace to come through the birth and life of her child.
*name has been changed to protect identity