ACN Launches Asylum Petition for Endangered Pakistani Girl

A Catholic charity is launching a campaign calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to grant UK asylum to a 14-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan receiving death threats from a rapist who forced her to marry him and abandon her faith.

Maira Shahbaz, a Catholic from the Punjab Province, is in hiding, having escaped from Mohamad Nakash Tariq, who kidnapped her at gunpoint during coronavirus lockdown, gang-raped her, blackmailed her, and forced her to convert to Islam.

Four months later, Maira ran away from his house and, in response, Nakash made death threats, accusing her apostasy.

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UK Bishop Advises How to Support Christians of Holy Land

In many ways, the Christians of the Holy Land rely on pilgrimages for their survival. In 2019 over 4.5 million pilgrims flocked to the holy sites to experience the places of Christ’s birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. The pounds and dollars pumped into the local economy, with tourists buying goods such as olive wood carvings – rosaries and icons – help sustain the region’s Christians as they face severe socio-economic hardship.

All this has changed in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent global restrictions on travel have turned off this essential financial lifeline.

The Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Reverend John Wilson, is the newly-appointed Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre in England and Wales. The Knights and Dames support the ‘Living Stones’ – the Christians of the Holy Land.

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Irish Bishop Invites People to Reach Out to Elderly

Bishop Michael Router, Chair of the Council for Healthcare of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, is asking people to reach out to the elderly as we enter a new phase of Covid-19 restrictions.

Bishop Router said: “Today’s news is a sad reminder that our elderly parents, grandparents and relatives are amongst the most vulnerable during this pandemic. As society begins a new phase of Covid-19 restrictions I am encouraging people to reach out to support and care for our elderly. As a group that can sometimes be neglected, they have borne the brunt of this pandemic’s wide ranging effects.

“Many older people have been cocooning for several months and these further restrictions are distressing for them especially as the Autumn evenings close in and the days shorten. Whilst we are all now facing new restrictions, there are small things that we can do to rise above our own concerns and make a contribution that will positively affect the lives of those most in need especially the elderly who live alone.

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