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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) — A top American diplomat is underscoring the threat of persecution faced by Christian minorities in the developing world.
President Trump's ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback, told media outlets in a May 14 conference call that Christians in multiple countries are being targeted for their faith.
Ambassador Brownback, a faithful Catholic, highlighted seven Asian countries actively violating religious minorities' human rights: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, China, India, Malaysia and Pakistan.
Spotlighting the plight of Pakistani Christians, Brownback confirmed to Church Militant that a "starve or convert" campaign is underway in the Muslim-majority country, through which food aid is being denied to Christians unless they convert to Islam.
The ambassador also confirmed that his office is tracking humanitarian aid to Pakistan, as well as other nations, and will review how food is being distributed amid the Wuhan virus pandemic.
Brownback also noted that Christians, who make up 80% to 90% of Pakistan's hospital sanitation workers, are performing their duties inside the country's medical centers without Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The ambassador had no update on the condition of Catholic teenager Huma Younus, who in October 2019 was abducted from her home and forced to marry a Muslim.
Younus' case has progressed up the judiciary and is awaiting a hearing in Pakistan's Supreme Court. Lower courts have ruled against the young girl, arguing that a woman can be forcibly married off as long as she has had her first menstrual cycle. This application of Sharia Law is in opposition to the 2014 Child Marriage Restraint Act.
Ambassador Brownback said he's unable to predict what the outcome will be for Younus and other teenage girls like her, because although "the Pakistani courts, at times, will really step up and do the right thing ... unfortunately, a lot of members of the judiciary, I'm afraid, are afraid of the violence that will be directed at them if they do the right thing."
It has taken several years for Pakistan's Minority Commission to be instituted, and it is already succumbing to public pressure in denying a place on the council to a subsect of Islam, the Ahmadis, which are a minority in Pakistan and subjected to similar treatment as their Christian neighbors.
Brownback also spoke to the growing crackdown on religious groups in China, noting the Communist government has continued its aggression against all religions during the Wuhan virus outbreak.
The regime is forcing Uyghur Muslims to work in a concentration camp-like fashion, as well as conducting a campaign against Buddhists in Tibet by sending in 1 million law enforcement officers to conduct a search into 10 million Tibetan homes.
Persecution of Chinese Christians has reached levels not seen since the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Government repression has skyrocketed since the China-Vatican agreement was signed in 2018. As previously reported by Church Militant:
While Pope Francis has asked Chinese Christians to be "good citizens" by not "engaging in proselytism," the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has intensified the persecution of faithful Catholic clergy, manufacturing new and dehumanizing pressure tactics to coerce them into joining the CCP's Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA).
President Trump has been a vocal critic of China and its allies for their role in the Wuhan crisis. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, along with other top Democrats and their allies in the media, continue to show support for the Communist regime.
During the conference call with Brownback, representatives from CNN, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, among others, were not interested in asking about Christians and instead directed their interest to minority Muslims and Sikhs. The Associated Press even took the time to thank Brownback for having not been negative about the World Health Organization in his public statements.
Dr. Martin Parsons, an independent consultant on Christian persecution in Pakistan and Afghanistan, has slammed the lack of media coverage of Christian persecution.
"There are two scandals here — what is happening to Christian minorities in places such as Pakistan and the refusal of so much of the western media to consider it newsworthy," he noted.
Parsons warned that persecution continues to build:
The situation of Christians in Pakistan is like the proverbial frog in a saucepan of boiling water which is slowly heated up. For years now they have not only increasingly suffered from large-scale violence, including the abduction and forced conversion to Islam of large numbers of Christian women and girls, but the police and courts have too often been apathetic or even complicit in these acts.
"With the pandemic, we are now reaching the point where disproportionately large numbers of Pakistani Christians could die, either from the virus itself or from starvation — exacerbated by the massive discrimination they already face," Parsons added.