Fighting for Freedom of Faith

In this documentary we follow human rights activist Sajid Christopher Paul and his colleges in Human Friends Organization in their courageous fight for freedom of faith and belief for all in Pakistan.

The stakes are high, many people in Pakistan have been killed because they stood against the extremists and challenged the country´s blashemy laws. The work is so dangerous that Sajid and his wife has decided that she will stay in the US with their daughters, and he will travel regularly to see them. But Sajid and his co-workers are willing to risk their lives and sacrifice comfort to help the Christians and other persecuted minorities in Pakistan.

In the documentary we meet the family of Asia Bibi and other people who have to live in hiding because they were falsely accused of blasphemy, and parents who lost their kids in a terror attack against a church. We also meet an imam involved in Sajids religious dialogue-work, a leader of a madrassa who shares his views on the blasphemy laws.

HFO international promotes religious freedom and inter-faith harmony as an effective means of achieving global justice and peace, and advocates for the rights of religious miniorities to assure equal justice and dignity for all people.

  • Thea Elisabeth Haavet
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Kampen for trosfriheten
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  • Runtime:
    35 minutes 37 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 1, 2017
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  • Shooting Format:
    AVCHD digital
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Director Biography - Thea Elisabeth Haavet

Thea Elisabeth Haavet has been working in national TV in Norway off and on from 1995 as a researcher, concept developer, reporter, director and editor for documentaries, docu-series, infotainment and other TV programs. She also worked on her own documentary projects from around the world. In 2014 she started working for Stefanus Alliance International, a Christian missions and human rights organisation, with a special focus on Freedom of Religion and Belief for all. As a film- and development producer, she has been traveling the world with a camera, as a one-person-crew, filming the stories of the persecuted in places like Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Korea. From the summer of 2019, she will be working as an independent filmmaker again, developing her own projects.

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Director Statement

Sajid Christopher Paul, the leader of Human Friends Organization (HFO), is one of the bravest persons I know, a real human rights activist hero who risks his life to help victims of the unjust blasphemy laws and other people being persecuted for their faith in Pakistan - mostly people from minority groups. He is also the found and leader of a minority network.

One woman he and his team has been helping is Asia Bibi, who was ten years in prison falsely accused of blasphemy, nine years on death row - condemned to death by hanging. When I arrived in Pakistan, I met her daughter Isham, who told me how she experienced her mother being persecuted by a local mob when she was nine-years old. The ten last year, she only visited her mother a few times a year in prison. Sajid and HFO helped pay for Isham´s and her sister´s schooling and housing, as they had to live in hiding, and also helped find and pay for a lawyer that would fight Asia´s case. That was not an easy task, as the lawyers also receive death treats!

I also met so many other Christian families that had been torn apart because of false blasphemy accusation, a family member suffering in prison for years. Their only mistake was belonging to the wrong religion.

Another strong memory from Lahore is interviewing a mother who lost her son when a suicide-bomber attacked their church a few years ago, still grieving - but also still keeping her faith in God and continuing to go to the same church every Sunday. After the church attack who killed more than 20, the church is fuller than ever before, the pastor told me.

When I was filming in Lahore, I read about new terror attack in the newspaper every day. It made me admire even more the work of Sajid Christopher Paul and HFO for a peaceful Pakistan with freedom of faith and equal citizenship for all.