Sunday, July 5, 2009
Beaten by His Own Family for His Faith in Christ
WASHINGTON, D.C.-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Pakistani man preparing to become a pastor was imprisoned for three months by his own family and continues to receive death threats on a regular basis for his decision to convert to Christianity. Malik Abbas Ali decided with his wife and children to become Christians on October 10, 2006, and Ali changed his name to Abad Masih (Masih is a Pakistani word referring to Jesus the Messiah). He had been living a comfortable life, known and respected by businessmen and politicians in Faisalabad, Pakistan. When his extended family heard about the conversion, however, everything changed.Abad's family and in-laws began to harass him repeatedly, accusing him of being a "crusader" and threatening him with "severe consequences" if he did not repent and return to Islam. In addition, they enlisted the support of Muslim religious leaders to put additional pressure on him. When words did not convince Abad to return to Islam, his family resorted to physical abuse. They forced him to sign away any rights to his inheritance or his current property.Abad had to flee his home, and has been playing a dangerous game of hide and seek with his family ever since. However, God has provided for him along the way. The director of a Christian ministry in Faisalabad gave them a place to live until Abad's family found out where he was staying. Abad fled again, this time to Karachi. In January 2008, however, Abad's in-laws discovered his location and revealed it to his parents. Abad's family then forcibly took him back to Faisalabad, beat him, and threatened to kill him if he did not return to Islam. With the help of religious leaders, they put him in prison for three months, where Abad was poorly treated and nearly died of starvation.After being released from prison in April 2008, Abad fled again. Three years of persecution has not diminished Abad's faith or the faith of his family. Though he continues to receive threatening phone calls, Abad told ICC that "those who believe in Christ are never afraid of hardships and sufferings." He puts his faith to practice by preaching in church and sharing his testimony whenever he gets the opportunity. Abad's wife, Sumera, told ICC, "We are true believers of Christ and the Lord Jesus Christ always guides us and gives us strength even though people stop supporting us. Without him, since we are human, it would not be possible to be strong in such hard circumstances." Abad is intending to enroll in a seminary on July 15 to become a pastor. God has paved the way for him to go as the head of the seminary has promised not to charge him tuition and agreed to take care of his children's schooling as well.
The head of Abad's church said, "Mr. Abad and his family are really an inspiration for all of us. We really feel strengthened by their strong faith. We request all of you to pray for them because they need it the most."
Please keep Abad and his family in your prayers.