Hannah Chowdhry speaks out for young Christian rape and forced marriage victims in Pakistan
Last night on the steps of Westminster Cathedral 100’s of Londoners were shocked into silence as a 13 year old student volunteer for the British Pakistani
Christian Association, described the torturous life that faces Christians in Pakistan.
Hannah Chowdhry who is a student at Kantor King Solomon, High School in Barkingside, Redbridge and a volunteer for the BPCA, spoke of the suffering of
millions of Christians in Pakistan, during a presentation that she read out to Londoners who amassed outside Westminster Cathedral last night (22nd November
The atmosphere at the event which had been organised by Aid to the Church in Need (ACNUK), a Catholic Charity, was one of sombre attention as people gathered
to hear about the plight of Christians suffering across the globe during a day designated as ‘Red Wednesday’. ON their website ACNUK describe the
purpose of the event:
“Red is the Christian colour of martyrdom. Christians are the most persecuted faith group in today’s world and #RedWednesday will honour all Christians who suffer and die for their faithfulness to Christ’s message of peace and love.
“#RedWednesday will shine a light on Christian persecution but also highlight the injustices perpetrated against other faith groups.”
The initiative is in its second year and Landmarks in the UK, Ireland, Iraq and the Philippines were floodlit in red to highlight the persecution of faith
groups for their “peacefully held beliefs”.
Around 50 buildings in the UK were lit up in red, including London’s Houses of Parliament, 12 cathedrals – some Anglican, some Catholic – as well as schools
and universities. More than 80 Catholic churches and universities in the Philippines were also floodlit for the event after the country’s bishops’ conference
endorsed the initiative.
In Iraqi Kurdistan, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil committed his church to being lit in red. Warda, whose diocese has been
caring for more than 100,000 people mainly Christians who fled Islamic State in 2014, said local Catholics would also take part in a prayer vigil that
will end in a church he opened last year, to cater for the influx of refugees.
Houses of Parliament lit red
By far the youngest speaker at the Westminster event Hannah Chowdhry explained to visitors that an estimated 700 Christian girls are kidnapped, raped and
forced into Islamic marriage every year. She then clarified that an estimated average age of the kidnapped girls is 13 years. When she revealed that she
was a 13 year old Pakistani Christian girl the silence in the crowd was palpable.
Hannah had obtained the statistic via a report produced by Muslim NGO Movement of Solidarity and Peace in 2014 (click here)
Hannah Chowdhry, spoke to the BPCA, after the event, she said:
“Most people around the world know about the kidnapping of 276 girls from Chibook in Nigeria, a crime that shocked the globe. Yet though 700 girls are believed to be raped and forced into Islamic marriage every year, no-one bats an eyelid. In fact the world stays silent.
“When I think of what these girls have had to go through I shudder, I would feel totally lost in a similar situation and am sure I would lose all hope. So I choose to speak out for them.”
Hannah described violence in the form of terrorists attacks, the burning of several Christian communities and over 1 million Christian slaves who are deployed
in the brick kilns of Pakistan, during a moving speech that caught the attention of all visitors.
She was met with a rapturous applause that delayed the sharing of actual persecution accounts by her father Wilson Chowdhry, who is Chairman of the British
Pakistani Christian Association.
Wilson Chowdhry sharing persecution accounts.
Hannah Chowdhry, added:
“Events like Red Wednesday provide an opportunity to raise awareness of global persecution of Christians and people from other faiths. Sadly however, too often people who hear these messages do nothing to bring change to the terrible persecution it is this apathy that allows persecution to continue.
“I am praying that Pakistani leaders become ashamed of their current treatment of minorities and alter
the current unfair political system and social climate in their nation.”
Please sign our petition end rape and forced marriages in Pakistan (click here)
Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“Aid to the Church in Need deserve great credit for putting on such an important and successful event. Red Wednesday provides a spotlight on the growing levels of violence that Christians face across the globe. Moreover the Westminster event was exceptionally well attended and helped build bridges between concerned politicians and senior religious leaders in the UK.
“Never has there been a more important time for Christians to work in solidarity. In fact Christian persecution is at the highest level for centuries and the gruesome accounts of persecution make harrowing reading. I will pray that next year participation at Red Wednesday will surpass this years enabling concerns about the growing targeting of Christians to reach an even larger audience.”
A Cross Procession took place from 5.00pm from the Houses of Parliament which was illuminated in red to Wesminster Cathedral. After arriving at Westminster
Cathedral visitors were treated to a wonderful performance from Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir, followed by short films and music videos and a host of
speakers from different church denominations and cultures speaking about the persecution that their communities were facing. Other guest speakers included:
- Bishop Nicholas Hudson – Auxiliary Bishop for the RC Diocese of Westminster
- Neville Kyrke-Smith – National Director ACN UK:
- Mervyn Thomas – Founder and CEO, Christian Solidarity Worldwide CSW
- Jim Shannon MP Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Freedom
- Arch Bishop Mor Athanasius Toma Dawod – Syriac Orthodox Community UK
- Bishop Yunusa Mamadu – Nigeria
- The Right Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg – MP for North East Somerset:
- His Grace Bishop Angaelos – Diocese of London of the UK Coptic Orthodox Church
- Rami – poet and prayer
- Scot Bower – Chief Operating Officer, CSW
- Anne Coles – Head of New Wine’s ministry for women
- Rev David Shosanya – Regional Minister, Missions, London Baptist Association
- Heather Fenton – CSW
- Angela Michail – Coptic Orthodox community
Hannah Chowdhry speaks to visitors outside Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral lit up in red.
The Chowdhry’s with Neville Kyrke-Smith National Director of ACNUK
Hello my name Hannah Chowdhry I currently volunteer for British Pakistani Christian Association, my father, Wilson Chowdhry, and I are here to share the truth about the torrid situation faced by Christians in Pakistan.
I greet you all in the manner that the Apostle Paul greeted the Church in Colossians
To the saints, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ at Westminster Cathedral: Grace and peace to you from God our Father!
Just as in the time of Paul. Today we see great persecution of Christians around the globe.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul said:
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,..”
Across the world we see Christians losing their freedom and security:
700 Christian Girls are kidnapped raped and forced into Islamic marriage every year – yet the world stays silent. The average age of those abducted is 13. To help you gain some perspective I will tell you that I am also 13.
1 million Christians are deployed in brick kilns under indentured labour contracts, working 14 hours a day, for £3. A patriarch will have signed a slavery contract with a thumbprint as they are too illiterate to write their own name. The conditions within the contract place their wives, children and future generations under the same yoke of slavery. Slavery has proliferated despite anti-slavery laws having been introduced since 1992.
4 terrorist attacks in four years have resulted in a death toll of over 200 and a list of victims who are severely injured above 500.
In the 8 years that BPCA has been in operation 7 Churches and over 700 homes have been razed to the ground. Mobs were generated by Imams preaching hatred from mosque PA’s. The incensed Muslims provoked by allegations of a blasphemy attacked Christian communities.
We remember the victims of Gojra, of Korian, of Mehrabadi, of St Joseph’s Colony, of Mardan and those not mentioned here.
Matthew tells us that we must endure through our persecution and that the reward for our commitment will be salvation.
“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”
Christian Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti was a shining example of a man who endured great threats yet stayed true to his faith.
The only Christian Federal Minister Pakistan has ever known was assassinated in 2011, simply for being the voice of millions of voiceless minorities in Pakistan. May God rest his soul.
My father Wilson Chowdhry, will now share some accounts of persecution in Pakistan: