Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 226 | Wed 04 Sep 2013
CHRISTIAN REFUGEES AND THE CASE OF RABEEL FROM PAKISTAN
-- plus UPDATE on SYRIA
By Elizabeth Kendal
All genuine rescue operations are discriminatory, with the weakest and most vulnerable being rescued first. A refugee policy that is 'non-discriminatory' is a policy that has been corrupted with populist politics and political correctness. Non-discriminatory refugee policies actually compound the discrimination already being suffered by the weakest, most vulnerable, marginalised and persecuted peoples in the world. Imagine if a non-discriminatory policy were imposed on a rescue service: the strong would jostle for position while the weak would die waiting. No civilised state would accept such a scenario. Yet this is exactly what a non-discriminatory refugee policy produces.
Rabeel (21) is the eldest of five children of Christian parents. A bright, dedicated scholar and strong Christian, he was studying Veterinary Medicine at Jhang University in Lahore, Pakistan, when on 26 August 2012, he travelled to Lahore to submit his application for a renewal of his Merit Scholarship. He travelled with his trusted friend, fellow student Hammad-ul-Rahman, a Muslim. When her son did not return or contact home after two days, Rabeel's mother grew concerned.
As a Pakistani Christian, Rabeel was no stranger to persecution. However, as is commonly the case, the persecution escalated dramatically at university where, as a high achiever, he was under constant pressure to convert to Islam. Unbeknown to Rabeel, Hammad -- who had been a friend since High School days -- secretly had become actively involved with the Islamic terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba. Instead of travelling to Lahore with Rabeel, Hammad handed him over to Lashkar-e-Taiba. Rabeel was in the terror group's custody for three days, during which time he was plied with drugs, beaten, electrocuted and pack-raped as the militants sought to convert him to Islam and use him in a terror attack against the West. On 29 August 2012 Gujranwala District Police Station informed Rabeel's parents that they had Rabeel in custody and that if the family did not collect him soon they would be sending him to a psychiatric facility as he was clearly out of his mind. Rabeel's family rushed to his aid.
After three local hospitals refused to treat him because he was a Christian and marked by Lashkar-e-Taiba, the family sought help from an expensive private hospital in Lahore. In its Intensive Care Unit, Rabeel slowly improved. Though he was discharged on 9 September 2012, Rabeel was still severely traumatised and his behaviour grew increasingly erratic. Eventually he stopped eating and began self-harming. By 18 October Rabeel was admitted to a public hospital. On 22 October two jeeps arrived at the hospital and a mob of Lashkar-e-Taiba militants stormed in, accompanied by police. Rabeel, his family and the hospital staff were threatened with death if they dared file charges or issue medical reports. Rabeel had to leave the hospital and the family went into hiding. With the militants hunting them and using Rabeel's mobile SIM card to make threatening calls, the family fled abroad. They have been languishing in a refugee camp for some 10 months now with relatives in Australia providing aid. They are going through the official UNHCR channels and waiting. However, Rabeel is fading and is not eating. If this family is not rescued soon, then Rabeel may well die waiting.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --
* intervene and in grace and power expedite the rescue of this Christian family who have lost everything due to violent persecution.
* bring healing to Rabeel's body and mind and comfort and strength to the whole family.
* intervene on behalf of all Christian refugees whose lives are imminently imperilled but who struggle to make claims because they lack medical records and police reports (because as persecuted Christians they simply cannot get them).
'You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life. You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord; judge my cause.' (Lamentations 3:58-59 ESV)
* change the thinking of Western policy makers, so that they will recognise that, in these days of escalating sectarianism, Islamic radicalisation, religious persecution and impunity, persecuted religious minorities require priority consideration.
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
CHRISTIAN REFUGEE FROM PAKISTAN NEEDS URGENT PRAYER
As a strong Christian, high achieving university student in Lahore, Rabeel (21) faced constant pressure to convert to Islam. As he resisted, persecution escalated. Eventually, a trusted Muslim friend betrayed Rabeel to the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Over three days, Rabeel was plied with drugs, beaten, electrocuted and pack-raped as the militants sought to convert him to Islam and use him in a terror attack against the West. When his family found him, Rabeel was horribly wounded and severely traumatised. As a Christian marked by Lashkar-e-Taiba, it proved not only difficult to get medical treatment but impossible to get medical reports and police support. Forced to flee, this family of seven has been languishing in a refugee camp for the past 10 months; Rabeel is fading. Please pray.
UPDATE ON SYRIA
The only reason there are Christians surviving in Syria today is because they are being protected by the Syrian Arab Army in government-held areas. Because the rebels have surrounded and blockaded these areas, Western Christian aid groups have spent the last year or so funnelling in aid to help them survive. If the US attacks Syria, the protection provided by the Syrian Army will be greatly reduced, at least for a time. This could well open the floodgates for rebel invasions of Christian areas. On 3 September, the Deputy UN Envoy to Syria, Mokhtar Lamani, commented that sectarianism is now so serious that the risk of genocide is real. Please pray for God's intervention.
For prayer requests from a Syrian pastor: see here.
Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)