Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)
Mission Champion: Anne Fraser
MAY 2022 REPORT
CSW works in over 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East to ensure the right to freedom of religion or belief. CSW works extensively at the United Nations, and with the UK and US governments, the European Union and other regional and international bodies. It also works with activists, journalists and NGOs in the countries on which it focuses in order to bring lasting change.
During the year, we at Christ Church have helped publicise the campaign to make schools safer for all children in Nigeria as kidnappings have become a huge criminal enterprise, with Christian girls in particular being abducted. On Thursday 28 October 2022 at 1pm CSW will protest outside the Nigerian High Commission in London – placing children’s shoes at the entrance, mirroring the left-behind shoes of abducted children fleeing their captors.
In April’s Prayer Diary, CSW asked for prayer for India, where intolerance and violence towards religious minorities remains widespread. For example, on 17 March in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, a 50 year-old Christian pastor, Yallam Shankar, was murdered by a group of around 50 masked men while having dinner at his family home. CSW has sent condolences to the family and have asked the authorities for an immediate investigation, with perpetrators brought to justice.
In Pakistan, an Islamic Republic, the constitution guarantees freedom of religion or belief, and the protection of minorities. However, mob violence, and attacks on religious communities have increased in recent years. An 18-year-old Hindu girl, Pooja Kumari, was killed in Pakistan’s Sindh province after she resisted an attempted abduction on 21 March. It is estimated by the Aurat Foundation that 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls are abducted, forced to marry and convert to Islam annually. CSW is seeking justice for Pooja and also increased protections for the Shia community after a suicide bomb attack in which at least 63 people were killed. The Ahmadiyya community too is widely persecuted. CSW has made several recommendations to the Pakistani government, including the need to reform the blasphemy laws, often used against Muslims and non-Muslims to settle personal disputes.
In May, the Wells home group are having a Cuban flavour to their lunchtime gathering, including coconut and lime cake. We will be praying and writing a card to Maridilegnis, the wife of Reverend Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo. Pastor Lorenzo was arrested and imprisoned following a peaceful protest in Havana in July 2021 and is still awaiting trial. There has been increased and violent repression of human rights in Cuba following widespread peaceful protests last summer against inflation and food shortages. Church leaders have been among those targeted. CSW continues to campaign for Pastor Lorenzo’s immediate release and has been able to put his son David in touch with diplomatic staff from several European embassies in Havana. Pastor Lorenzo and his wife have been very much encouraged by the cards already sent by CSW supporters. Maridilegnis has spoken of her gratitude: “What a beautiful show of love, each brother and sister has taken time to give me a promise, a word of encouragement, or they have shared their testimony. Spectacular. Thank God for so much support.” Please pray for Pastor Lorenzo and his family.
These are just some of the examples of the advocacy of CSW in a selection of countries. Please click here for further information. Click here to send cards to Pastor Lorenzo or to others being victimized for their beliefs.