When I heard this Christian woman’s story, I publicly broke down in tears

Julie Aftab and Allen West (slide-photo courtesy of AllenGWest.com)

BY ALLEN WEST

‘Tis the season… for what exactly? We shared here the story about the Muslim mayor of Nazareth deciding to cancel Christmas. Sadly, this mayor may achieve the purpose of canceling the overt commercialized celebration of Christmas. However, this mayor will not cancel the true meaning of Christmas, because it exists in the hearts of Christians, believers in the coming of a Christ, a Messiah, the Savior of the World, through whom we can find redemption, salvation and hope. I guess the Muslim mayor of Nazareth doesn’t have a “coexist” bumper sticker…and he ain’t the only one.

As reported by The Guardian, “Two suicide bombers have attacked a church in the Pakistani city of Quetta, killing nine people and wounding more than 50. 

Sarfraz Bugti, the home minister for the south-western Baluchistan province, said hundreds of worshippers were attending services at the church before Christmas. He said the attackers clashed with security forces, with one assailant killed at the entrance while the other made it inside. The Baluchistan police chief, Moazzam Ansari, praised the response of security forces guarding the church, saying the attacker who made it inside was wounded and unable to reach the main building. “Otherwise the loss of lives could have been much higher,” he said.

The Quetta police chief, Abdur Razzaq Cheema, said a search was under way for two suspected accomplices who escaped. Local television showed ambulances and security patrols racing to the scene while women and children were led out of the church’s main gate. Islamic State claimed responsibility through its Amaq news agency, saying two “plungers” from the group had stormed the church, without providing further details. Wasim Baig, a spokesman for Quetta’s main hospital, said three women were among the dead while four women and two children were among 57 wounded. Dozens of Christians gathered outside a nearby hospital to protest at the lack of security.”

We recently shared the story about two Jewish synagogues in Malmo and Gotenberg, Sweden being fire bombed by Islamic jihadists. When does this end? And true to form, ISIS has stated it would attack Christians at churches during this sacred and blessed season of Christmas. Can any of you imagine the outcry, the outrage, if during Ramadan and Eid any Islamic mosque needed security, or was attacked?

It’s amazing to me how when there’s an islamic terror attack in America, we’re told not to rush to judgement and condemnation. As a matter of fact, the progressive socialist left will go to great strains to classify an Islamic jihadist attack as everything but. Workplace violence” and a need for more gun control have been past mantras.

Even after the Boston Marathon bombing the response was to declare the Tsarnaev brothers as victims, and even one was celebrated on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Why is there such a sense of protectionism for this abhorrent, savage, barbaric behavior known to the world as the cancerous scourge of Islamo-fascism or Islamic jihadism? Why can’t we all agree this must be rooted out and destroyed? Why can’t the world come together and demonize these actions and come together to engage and defeat this? When was the last time we had a UN resolution passed to that end? They certainly find plenty of time and effort to condemn Israel.

We have liberal progressives going apoplectic about a temporary travel restriction on those residing in countries listed on terrorist watch lists. I wonder why, during the Obama administration, the emphasis was all about immigrating more Muslims than Christians? And if you’re one of those who asserts there’s a war against Christians, some will go to great lengths to denigrate and disparage you…why? And boy howdy, don’t EVER say we’re in a war against Islam; you’ll be castigated as a social menace.

But this isn’t a war that anyone has asked for; it’s a war that has been brought to our door steps. As I’ve said before, you’re either an Islamic reformist or an Islamic jihadist, plain and simple. Here in America, where yesterday I sat in Watermark Church in Dallas listening to Pastor Todd Wagner preach on “The Real Longing of Christmas,” I was not being inspired to commit violence. And I sat there unconcerned about a suicide bomber entering and taking my life. How can it be that in the 21st century, the year 2017, we have Christians, anywhere in the world, facing such danger? Why do we allow such evil, and yes, that is exactly what it is, evil, to exist, thrive, and find sanctuary amongst us in places like Malmo, Sweden, but yes, in Pakistan…where we send foreign aid?

Perhaps we do not have any bond or connection to these people because they’re far away. But, they are our Christian brothers and sisters for whom our hearts should break. And I had a moment, a personal moment, when my heart was broken.

I met a true hero at the ACT for America Awards Gala a few years back in Washington DC. I saw courage, and I mean true courage rooted in a strong Christian faith that was undaunted. I saw a woman who was the epitome of what it meant to be a Christian, one who was asked that seminal question, and did not waver.

I’m speaking of a young Pakistani Christian woman, Julie Aftab. I remember standing on the awards stage with Julie and publicly breaking down in tears realizing how insignificant I was. I gave Julie the award I was given because I was totally undeserving standing beside her.

You see, Julie faced evil and unlike Peter, did not deny her Jesus Christ, and she paid a horrible price for it. Julie refused at her workplace, where she was working to support her family, to disavow her Christian faith. And for that she had acid thrown on her and acid poured down her throat.

As reported in the Houston Chronicle in July, 2012, “In a cavernous auditorium on the city’s north side, Julie Aftab raised her hand to take the oath of citizenship Tuesday, tears streaking down her smooth, left cheek, a perfect patch of creamy skin left unscathed by battery acid. 

Aftab was 17 when she came to the U.S. for treatment at Shriners Hospital for Children, scared and unable to speak a word of English. She was ashamed of the swirling scars she suffered over much of her face and upper body in an acid attack in Faisalabad, Pakistan. In Houston, Aftab built a new life with the support of a loyal host family and a devoted church congregation. She underwent dozens of surgeries, all donated by doctors and hospitals in Houston. She graduated from high school, and then from San Jacinto College, before enrolling at the University of Houston Clear-Lake. 

“This day means so much to me,” Aftab said, moments before taking the naturalization oath with about 2,240 immigrants in the M.O. Campbell Educational Center in north Houston. 

Aftab was 16, working as a call operator in a tiny store in Pakistan a decade ago, when a man confronted her about the silver cross dangling from her neck. She and the man argued, and he returned to the store with a friend and doused her with battery acid, leaving her with bone-deep burns on much of her upper body. 

Aftab was asked by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt, who presided over the ceremony, to make a brief speech after taking her oath on Tuesday morning. She said she prepared remarks, but then decided just to share what she was feeling. “We made history today,” she told the crowd of new citizens from 124 countries, urging them not to miss any opportunity to succeed. She thanked God, the Ervins, and others who helped her to build a new life in America and become a citizen. “I never thought I would be the person I am today, and it is all because of God and his people,” she said.”

Julie Aftab embodies everything right about being a Christian, an American, and now a Texan. Julie faced savage barbarism and NEVER in a single moment relented by surrendering her faith. Those Christians today in Quetta, Pakistan, home of the Taliban, also give us a devoted example to follow. They live every day under the dark specter of death, but will not renounce the Jesus they serve and in whom they place their hope. We must all ask ourselves, with whom shall we align…a Julie Aftab or the civilizational jihadists and their enablers who would see our Judeo-Christian faith heritage here in America undermined?

I pledged to Julie that night back in Washington DC that I would fight for her, and I would destroy the bastards who embrace such a vile ideology that would commit such a heinous act against her. Funny, Julie Aftab should be the one we celebrate in America, not that publicity seeking charlatan, Linda Sarsour, who called for a jihad against our White House.

‘Tis the season, the season to never forget what we truly celebrate, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But, it’s also the season when there are those who would kill Christians for that belief.

God bless the souls of those lost in Your name in Quetta, Pakistan, bless Christians who are persecuted all over the world simply because they welcomed You into their heart. And Lord, give us all the courage and resolve of Julie Aftab.


Editor’s Note: This column previously appeared at AllenBWest.com. Used with the permission of the author.


Lt. Col. Allen B. West is the former U.S. Congressman representing Florida’s 22nd District, a Fox News Contributor, a contributing columnist for Townhall.com, the former Executive Director of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas Texas, and the author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom. Col. West is the third of four generations of military servicemen in his family. During his 22 year career in the United States Army, he was awarded the Bronze Star, 3 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals (1 with Valor device), and a Valorous Unit Award. In 1993 he was named the US Army ROTC Instructor of the Year. Col. West believes it will be principled constitutional conservative policies, not politics, which will secure a sound economic future for Americans.