China Aid Association May 5, 2011
As a member organization, China Aid Association is joining the worldwide Religious Liberty Partnership in calling for support, prayers and assistance for the persecuted church in Pakistan, where the government’s sole Christian cabinet minister was gunned down in March.
The Religious Liberty Partnership, founded in 2007, recently released its “Virginia Statement on the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” which came out of the Partnership’s late March meeting in Virginia of its 26 member organizations from 20 countries. The keynote speaker for the gathering was to have been Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani federal minorities minister, who was assassinated March 2 by Muslim extremists for his opposition to the nation’s strict anti-blasphemy laws.
(Photo caption: Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani federal minorities cabinet minister who was assassinated by Muslim extremists)
The statement said: “We appeal to the worldwide church to pray for the nation of Pakistan. We mourn the callous murder of Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti last month and feel this sentiment acutely because he was scheduled to have been a keynote speaker to address our conference.”
The member organizations voiced their solidarity and support for the Pakistani Christians and missionaries who are being persecuted and called for immediate measures by the Pakistani government and the international community to condemn and abolish Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which make insulting Islam a capital crime.
The statement called on “the Pakistani authorities to establish a judicial inquiry into the murders of Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer and to release and publicize the resulting report, release and publicize prior investigative reports of anti-Christian violence, and follow-up previous Federal level requests to the Punjab government for this information.”
It also “urge[d] the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and refugee resettlement parties to recognize Christians endangered within Pakistan as refugees and reduce the burden of proof to demonstrate eligibility for refugee resettlement. Pakistani minorities who have fled to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and other countries seeking refugee status should have their cases expeditiously reviewed without discrimination.”
The Partnership issued two news releases, “Assassinated Bhatti Would Have been Keynote Speaker at Religious Liberty Conference in Washington, DC” and “Christian Leaders Call Upon United Nations to Assign Refugee Status to Pakistan’s Endangered Christian Minority,” to draw attention to the plight of Pakistan’s persecuted Christians and to gather prayer and other support for them from the worldwide church, governments and human rights groups.
Go here to read the press releases and the statement (available in both Chinese and English), and please help to further distribute the documents:
Religious Liberty Partnership’s website: http://www.rlpartnership.org/