Fleeing intense persecution, many Pakistani Christians escape to Sri Lanka for refugee. Unfortunately for these Christian refugees, they are often trapped in Sri Lanka awaiting the slow resettlement by the UNHCR. With no legal ability to work or settle, these Christians often have to scrap a living for years as undocumented migrants or through begging. Will the international community do more to help resettle these trapped Christians?
02/11/2017 Sri Lanka (World Church) – Young choir members sing hymns in Sri Lanka’s southern city of Negombo. They are singing for strength and patience in difficult times. Unlike Sinhala or Tamil, the languages spoken on this island nation, they’re singing in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan.
There are Christians who fled Pakistan to seek asylum in Sri Lanka. One woman, who asks that I don’t use her name, tells me a story about being united in love but divided in faith.
A Muslim woman, she married a Christian man — a taboo in Pakistan. The decision outraged her family and even sparked calls to have her husband killed. In Pakistan, interfaith marriages are rare, and even rarer these days, with growing religious intolerance.
Fearing for their safety, the couple fled to Sri Lanka three years ago. Thousands of people from religious minorities in Pakistan – Christians, Shiites and Ahmadiyas – flee persecution and discrimination by the Sunni Muslim majority.
Militant groups linked to Taliban and Al-Qaeda have openly attacked their houses of worship, killing hundreds and injuring many more.