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Aid to the Church in Need
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Aid to the Church in Need
Church News

Petition handed to Home Secretary to help Christian Pakistan girl

by Alex Collett

Christian MP Fiona Bruce has handed a petition to Home Secretary Priti Patel, to raise continued concerns about Pakistan Christian girl Maira Shahbaz.

Maria, aged just 14 was kidnapped, forced into marriage and converted before escaping, only to be forced into hiding after her abductor accused her of apostasy.

More than 12,000 people signed an Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) petition calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to grant asylum to Maira.

ACN’s head of press & information John Pontifex is delighted that the issue has been brought to light again.

Pontifex said: “We are extremely delighted that Fiona Bruce, has once again taken the trouble to reach out to Priti Patel and make this fresh appeal on behalf of Maira.

"I have been in touch with Maira almost every day sometimes talking about her situation.

“They hear Maira’s cries for help and they act because this poor Maira she cannot go on, she says to me: 'I feel like I am in a prison, I can’t go out, I’m stuck, I don’t have enough to eat, what can you do to help me?'

“We must pray every day for Maira earnestly, Fiona Bruce a committed Christian herself, has asked me to pray with her over the phone, we sometimes pray for Maira and so we need to echo those prayers.”

Bruce highlighted the desperate plight which Maira Shahbaz continues to be in - trapped in one room with her mother and siblings, fearful of going out.

More than 18 months since Maira first went into hiding, the special envoy stressed the need for action to change the teenager's situation and pressed the Home Secretary to do anything she can to help.

Bruce passed to Patel a copy of "Hear Her Cries: the kidnapping, forced conversion and sexual victimisation of Christian women and girls", a report produced in November by ACN.

The Special Envoy told the Home Secretary that reading Hear Her Cries had "reduced her to tears".

The report, for which Maira wrote the Foreword, includes cases of abducted Christian girls and women from the Middle East, Africa as well as Pakistan, and was the main focus of ACN's 2021 #RedWednesday campaign promoting religious freedom.

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