A chapel for Christian inmates has opened at Landhi Prison in southern Pakistan, after being built with the help of a charity called Angel Patient Care Services. Christian social activists and prison authorities jointly inaugurated the chapel on 5th August.
According to Asian Catholic news service, UCA News, around 100 of the 4,500 inmates in the prison are Christians.
The chapel was built near the prison mosque, and a senior prison official, Muhammad Hassan, said all inmates are free to practice their faith. “There is no bar whatsoever on non-Muslim inmates worshipping,” he said.
Ishtiaq Awan, the police assistant superintendent, said Christian inmates are kept together with Muslims for most of the year, but on special occasions, such as Christmas, Easter and Eid, they are given separate barracks to celebrate their festivals.
Naqash Yousuf, 26, a Catholic, who is awaiting trial in a murder case, was thrilled to have a place to worship. “Some 40 to 50 Christian prisoners now visit the chapel and attend Sunday prayers,'” he said, adding that the pastor, who is one of the inmates, leads the service, he said. “It was our longstanding wish to have a separate place of worship and thankfully the authorities have fulfilled it.”
Samina Nawab, from Angel Patient Care Services, praised a local official for recognising the needs of inmates and said: “Our teams frequently visit jails and provide health care services to inmates irrespective of their faith. I visited Landhi Jail and met some Christian inmates, who requested our help in the construction of the chapel.
“My family members and pastors made generous contributions to make it possible. Last week, we set up a medical camp at Hyderabad Prison and found out some inmates needed immediate surgery,” she said, adding that her charity was working to raise funds to meet the medical needs.
Islam is the official religion in Pakistan, and the constitution allows for freedom of worship for all people. However, prayer halls, churches, chapels and community centres for people of religious traditions other than Islam are not normally allowed on government property.
- Give thanks for the opening of this chapel in Landhi prison, and for the freedom for Christian prisoners there to meet together and worship.
- Pray for the witness of these Christian prisoners, that they will be channels of God’s love and grace to fellow prisoners and guards.
- Pray for other prisons across Pakistan to, likewise, permit Christian prisoners a place of worship.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to move across Pakistan, that those who would seek to silence the voice of Christians will themselves, have life changing encounters with Jesus Christ and come to know His Truth and grace.
Colossians 4 vs 3: “At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison,”
Source: http://www.thetablet.co.uk, http://www.persecution.org