Al Jazeera reports on the growing popularity of a young woman from Karachi who, as Pakistan’s first Christian women to play football for her country, is emerging as a voice against religious intolerance.
Joyann Geraldine Thomas made her international debut in November 2014 at the age of 17, but the match barely received the attention associated with an international fixture even though there has been a lack of minority representation in Pakistan’s sporting history.
Thomas was inspired by her mother, a track and field athlete who was denied the opportunity to run in provincial finals because of her faith.
Speaking about the intolerance shown towards Christians in her country, Thomas said: “Pakistan must progress and it will only progress if it shows love and sincerity to all religions, races and ethnicities”.
At club level Thomas represents Balochistan United, the national champions. The club’s president, Rubina Irfan, said: “For us, there is no such thing as a Christian girl or a Muslim girl. Even the other girls (in the team) never think about things such as religion or caste”.