On Wednesday (24th November) Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) will be launching a fresh report looking at the kidnapping, forced conversion and sexual victimisation of Christian women and girls.
The charity’s Hear Her Cries report will be the first of its kind to focus on the phenomenon of young women who are seized, because both their sex and religion makes them vulnerable to abduction and assault. It provides country focuses on Egypt, Iraq, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria – also providing case studies from these nations.
According to research carried out by ACN, looking at the situation for religious groups in 196 countries, the number of incidents involving girls and women being taken from their families, raped and forced to change their faith has grown over the last few years.
Research for the report suggested that in the countries under examination, not only are women from minority faith groups particularly susceptible to attack, but often Christian women are targeted most by militants. According to the Christian Association of Nigeria, Christians make up 95 percent of women and girls being held by Islamist extremists, and in Pakistan, the Movement for Solidarity and Peace suggested that Christians could comprise up 70 percent of minority faith girls and young women forcibly converted and married every year. Hindu girls are also a major target of kidnappings in parts of Pakistan.
The new report will be launched during an online Zoom event by ACN UK at 2.15pm on 24th November, at which speakers will include Prof Michele Clark, who has done research into the kidnapping of Coptic Christian women in Egypt, and John Pontifex, ACN’s Head of Press of the UK national office, who co-wrote the report. It will also include exclusive video testimony from a woman kidnapped by Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram. Also speaking will be Fiona Bruce MP, the PM’s Special Envoy for FoRB. The meeting will be chaired by Baroness Caroline Cox.
To join the Zoom event, please use this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84937405062?pwd=Tk5MUDcwVWdXb0xHcUJYVzZjTnFpZz09.
The launch of Hear Her Cries is part of Aid to the Church in Need’s #RedWednesday activities, which will see thousands of people across the world speaking up against religious persecution by wearing red, taking social media action and lighting up buildings red in solidarity with those who suffer for their faith.