Dear Friends and Partners,
It is hard to believe but this year One Free World International marks ten years of chasing the dream and being a voice for the voiceless. And as we prepare to observe Passover and Easter and turn our minds to the things these holy days represent – freedom from captivity and hope for a better future – we would like to share with you the anniversary celebration we recently held at Toronto’s Catch the Fire church.
We were honoured to be able to mark this occasion with the help of some very special friends. These included some of the refugees we have helped to safety in Canada, representatives of some of our partner organizations including media representatives Moses Znaimer, founder of VisionTV, and Vipp Jaswal, vice-president with Fox News, and of course some of our family and friends, and OFWI volunteers and supporters. Among the dignitaries present were Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander, Minister of State for Multiculturalism Tim Uppal, and other members of parliament, as well as Toronto mayoral candidate Karen Stintz.
We were deeply moved by the support and encouragement of the people whose lives have been impacted in some way through our work over the last ten years. While our deepest wish is that our work would not be needed in another ten years, we will continue to fight for the rights of our brothers and sisters and religious minorities around the world as long as necessary. In the meantime, we hope that you will join us in marking our anniversary by taking action today on behalf of a Pakistani Christian couple who have just been sentenced to death under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws.
Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar have been convicted and sentenced to death after being falsely accused of blasphemy. We have told you before about these laws, primarily Articles 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code, and how they are often used to settle personal scores, both among Muslims and against non-Muslims, and especially to target minorities. While death sentences for blasphemy have not recently been carried out by the authorities, many accused of this offence have been killed by mobs even before charges have been laid or in prison. Even if the sentence is overturned on appeal Shafqat and Shagufta face the likelihood of mob justice spurred by Islamic extremists. The Blasphemy Laws must be overturned urgently and the human rights of all Pakistanis respected so that this kind of injustice will not be encouraged.
- For Shafqat and Shagufta, that they would have strength, courage, and patience in this time of trial and that through their words and actions they would be able to demonstrate Christ’s love to their persecutors;
- For the Christians and other minorities in Pakistan, that they would be safe and protected from harm at the hands of Islamic extremists and that they would be able to show their persecutors the unconquerable power of love, forgiveness, acceptance, and freedom;
- That the people of Pakistan would be able to live together in peace and harmony in spite of their differences and that the Islamic extremists would turn from hatred and destruction to genuine love, peace, and goodwill toward their non-Muslim neighbors;
- For the authorities in Pakistan, that they would release Shafqat and Shagufta immediately, drop the charges against them, and ensure their safety and security; pray also that they would govern their country in wisdom, justice, and respect for the rights of all their citizens and that they would see the harm the Blasphemy Laws are doing to their country and find a way to repeal them urgently.
- To the Pakistani representative in your country, demanding that Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar be released immediately and that all charges be set aside and their safety ensured; insist that Pakistan respect the human rights of all its citizens and that it repeal the Blasphemy Laws with all urgency for the benefit of the entire country;
- To your Foreign Minister or Secretary of State, demanding that our policy-makers use all means at their disposal to ensure that Pakistan repeals the Blasphemy Laws urgently and begins to take positive steps to ensure the human rights of all its citizens, regardless of their religion.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):
Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling. They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.
“They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream” in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.
Rev. Majed El Shafie
President and Founder
One Free World International
El Shafie Ministries
His Excellency Akbar Zeb
High Commission of Pakistan
10 Range Road
Ottawa, ON K1N 8J3
Tel: (613) 238-7881; Fax: (613) 238-7296
The Honourable John Baird
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Tel: (613) 996-0984; Fax: (613) 996-9880
In the United States
His Excellency Jalil Abbas Jilani
Embassy of Pakistan
3517 International Court NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel.: (202) 243-6500; Fax: (202) 686-1534
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary John Kerry
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard)