Release partners say that Christians forced to flee from their homes during the Rimsha Masih (also known as Rimsha Misrik) blasphemy row are still homeless – and increasingly desperate.
Between 800 and 1,000 families from Mehrabad are still living in tents or makeshift shelters in a forest area near Islamabad, more than a year after fleeing their homes. They lack even basic services such as water and fear officials may soon move them on.
Release sources say the Christians still fear retaliatory attacks from Islamist extremists enraged by the blasphemy accusations made against Rimsha, a teenager with learning difficulties, in August 2012.
Rimsha was acquitted of blasphemy in November 2012 and was later granted asylum, with her family, in Canada. At the time, Christians in her neighbourhood were attacked and forced to flee amid death threats. Some tried to return but were ostracised and not allowed to buy food. They’re now seeking government support to find permanent homes.
– Please pray for a safe and permanent home for the many Christians from Mehrabad who are still living in fear. Pray that officials will act quickly now to ensure their safety and well-being.
– Continue to pray for God’s protection and favour over Rimsha and her family.