Tag Archives: Christian

Is this ship sinking?

By Babar Sattar

How do you stay optimistic about the prospects of your country when the naked truth paints a dark picture? Is living in a make-believe world the true mark of love and loyalty or acknowledging your failures and faults with the object of stimulating change? An argument vociferously made by our ‘patriots’ is that the world paints Pakistan as a terrible place because we are too critical of ourselves. Can one really continue to sell a bad product even if the marketing campaign is swell?

How do you correct a wrong without first acknowledging it? How do you begin acknowledging wrongs in an environment where the hardened belief is that it is not the doing of a wrong but its acceptance that spreads the contagion of disgrace?

When did we become a people who have lost their ability to distinguish between an objective reality and the admission of it? Should we be concerned more about the harmful consequences of wrongs directly affecting our surroundings and us, or by the shame of others finding out about it?

Let’s flag some random unconnected events.

Two Pakistani Christians are burnt like pieces of coal in the brick kiln they worked at by fellow villagers after accusations of blasphemy were levelled against them from the bully pulpit of the local mosque.

Two Pakistani Christians are burnt like pieces of coal in the brick kiln they worked at by fellow villagers after accusations of blasphemy were levelled against them from the bully pulpit of the local mosque. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken ‘strict’ notice of the incident, as he did after the Gojra riots that claimed the lives of eight Pakistani Christians and the Joseph Colony attack in Lahore where 150 houses and two churches were torched (incidents also triggered by allegations of blasphemy).

Anjali Kumari Meghwar, a 12-year-old Pakistani Hindu child was reportedly abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and then married off to one Riaz Sial last week. According to a report released by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace earlier this year, almost 1,000 Christian and Hindu women are forced to convert and marry Muslim men in Pakistan each year.

Anjali Kumari Meghwar, a 12-year-old Pakistani Hindu child was reportedly abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and then married off to one Riaz Sial last week. According to a report released by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace earlier this year, almost 1,000 Christian and Hindu women are forced to convert and marry Muslim men in Pakistan each year. Bottom line? Whether it’s due to religion, gender or economic class, if you are part of the vulnerable segment of this society, you are damned.

Sixty Pakistanis lost their lives and 100 others were injured in a suicide attack at Wagah last week. Three indigenous terror outfits claimed credit for the attack. Did our state get riled up? Yes, because Pentagon noted in a report to the US Congress that, “Afghan- and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability,” and that “Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India’s superior military”.

Continue reading Is this ship sinking?

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Christian man, pregnant wife beaten, burnt to death over ‘Quran desecration’

BY ASHER JOHN

An enraged Muslim mob beat a Christian couple to death and burnt their bodies in the brick kiln where they worked on Tuesday for allegedly desecrating pages of the Holy Quran.

The incident took place in Chak 59 village near Kot Radha Kishan, some 60 kilometres southwest of Lahore, and is the latest example of mob violence against non-Muslims accused of blasphemy.

Sources privy to the details of the incident told Pakistan Today that Shahzad Masih and his wife Shama worked in a brick kiln owned by a man named Yousaf Gujjar since the last 3-4 years.

“The couple were originally from Clarkabad, a Christian village a few kilometeres away from Raiwind but they had been working at Yousaf Gujjar’s brick kiln for the last 3-4 years and were living in a quarter in the premises,” a relative of the deceased couple toldPakistan Today on the condition of anonymity.

He said that on Sunday, Shama, wife of the deceased Shahzad Masih, was cleaning her quarters when she found some amulets belonging to her late father-in-law who used to ‘practice’ black magic.

“Shama burnt the amulets and threw them on a garbage heap. Irfan, a Muslim co-worker at the kiln, noticed some half burnt pieces of paper from the amulets and raised clamour, claiming that these were pages from the holy Quran, Soon the word spread and at 7am on Tuesday, a Muslim mob of about 3,000-4,000 people attacked the couple’s quarters at the brick kiln and tortured the couple to death. They later threw their bodies into the kiln and completely burnt them,” he said, adding that he and some other Christian families who worked at the kiln fled the kiln immediately after the incident.

He said the couple, aged between 30 and 35 years had three children while Shama was expecting a fourth child.

Read more » Pakistan Today

British pensioner on Pakistan’s death row on blasphemy charge shot by policeman

A British pensioner who was sentenced to death after being convicted of blasphemy, has been shot and injured by a policeman inside the Pakistani jail where the 70-year-old was on death row. A Christian pastor was reportedly killed in the same incident. Muhammad Asghar, who is from Edinburgh and whose family says he has a history of mental illness, was shot in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on Thursday morning by a member of a specialist police unit allegedly using a concealed weapon. Pastor Zafar Bhatti was killed in the same incident, Reuters reported.

Mr Asghar was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to death in January this year after a disgruntled tenant presented letters he had written saying he was a prophet. During his trial, his family tried to present evidence that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

A lawyer for Mr Asghar, who asked not to be identified, said they had been told the pensioner had been shot in the back at 8.30am by a police constable attached to a specialist unit.

More » The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/british-pensioner-on-pakistans-death-row-shot-and-injured-9754963.html

The Islamic State Is Right About Some Things

BY

I’ve talked about the Yezidis many times over the years. The main reason is that I find the obscure marginal sects in the Middle East interesting, because this is a region of the world where religious pluralism existed under very precise and strict conditions, and these groups deviated from those conditions and lived to tell the tale. The Muslim rulers, and more specifically in historical memory the Ottomans, tolerated a specific set of enumerated dhimmi, generally traditional Christian and Jewish groups. Though subject to persecution and oppression, in principle these groups had rights to exist within the Islamic framework. Heretics and pagans on the other hand were not tolerated. For example I have read the account of from the 17th century of an Ottoman official who was making a progress from Baghdad to Istanbul which is an excellent piece of ethnography. His entourage stopped in an isolated mountain valley in what is today Kurdistan. The local population were not Muslims, and when the official inquired as to their religion they told of how they worshipped the sun. Whatever the details of their origin this group obviously would be classed as pagans, and the official was faced with what to do with these people. The choices were conversion to Islam or death, the implementation of which would have been difficult at that moment. As a solution the local Jacobite Orthodox Christian bishop agreed to accept the people as his own, with nominal baptism. Presumably these people eventually became Christians in fact as well as name. But it goes to show that in the pre-modern world of the Middle East religious diversity persisted in the isolated places of the world. Groups such as the Druze offend Sunni Muslims because they are clearly derived from Islam itself, and Islam is the capstone religion in its own conception. Alawites seem to have emerged from the same milieu as the Druze, but they have retained a tenuous Muslim identity, which has accelerated under the Assad family. The Sunni Muslim stance toward these groups is that they are viewed as illegitimate heresies, not protected religions. The extent of Salafi* influence in one’s orientation also conditions how Sunnis view Shia (and there is variation within the Shia group, the Ismailis in particular viewed as heretical because their practice and theology differs more in obvious ways from Sunni orthodoxy; the Zaydi Shia are at the opposite extreme, being very similar to Sunni norms).

All this leads up to why the Islamic State, and Muslims generally to a lesser extent, tend to be extremely harsh in their attitude toward the Yezidi sect. The details of the Yezidi belief system are somewhat obscure, like that of the Druze, but they are clearly not Muslim. The media reports that the Yezidi are an ancient religion, with some relationship to Zoroastrianism. Many Kurds will also agree with this statement, assuming that something like Yezidism was the primal faith of their ethnic group. This may or may not be true. The origins of the Yezidi may actually be more like the Druze, if somewhat more ancient and obscure. Part of the lack of clarity I think goes back to the fact that there is some opaqueness overall in the first century or so of Islam. The social-religious world of the Middle East was a product of those years, but it is very different from them. For example Zoroastrianism and Zoroastrian influenced syncretistic Muslim sects were powerful anti-establishment forces across the Iranian cultural zone down to the 9th century. Quite a few extremist Shia sects (ghulat) seem to have made the transition to post-Islam, often imbibing Zoroastrianism of a Mazdakite flavor. Such a transition though was usually a cultural death sentence. Survival usually depended upon attaching oneself to a Shia identity, however tenuous (the Alawite strategy), or, fleeing to a geographically isolated region (in some cases these sectarians fled to the Byzantine Empire, and converted to Orthodox Christianity rather than revert to normative Islam!). Flight from the world is what the Druze and Yezidi have done in their fastness.

The current capture of Sinjar has been a humanitarian catastrophe for the Yezidi because it has been one of their traditional redoubts. The kidnapping of women, and the summary beheading or crucifixion of men, can be comprehensible in light of the Salafi Muslim vision of groups such as the Yezidi, which literally should not exist. Their obliteration would bring balance back into the Salafi world. While Christians and Jews may persist with the barest of sufferance, the existence of the Yezidi is an abomination to Salafi Muslims. What is occurring is a ethnic cleansing and genocide in straightforward terms. In fact Salafi Muslims would probably agree with the appellation cleansing, because the Yezidi to them are an offence to Being itself. Their existence is a matter is a matter of ritual purity in a metaphysical sense. I am wary of ever making analogies to Nazi Germany and the way it viewed the Jews, but this one clearly is a close fit. There is no path toward accommodation of Yezidi existence for the Islamic State, it is now down to an animal battle of survival for them, as they flee into the mountains as they have done so many times in the past.

Read more » http://www.unz.com/gnxp/the-islamic-state-is-right-about-some-things/

Christian Father Commits Suicide After ISIS Members Rape Wife and Daughter in Front of Him Because He Couldn’t Pay Poll Tax

BY LEONARDO BLAIR , CP REPORTER

A Christian father who watched his wife and daughter get brutally raped by members of the militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because he couldn’t pay them a poll tax in Mosul, Iraq, killed himself under the weight of the trauma this past weekend.

A report from the Assyrian International News Agency said ISIS began enforcing Islamic laws in the northern Iraq city which they overran on June 10.

Read more » The Christian Post
http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-father-commits-suicide-after-isis-members-rape-wife-and-daughter-in-front-of-him-because-he-couldnt-pay-poll-tax-122220/

Pakistan: Hundreds of Muslims and Christians form human chain around St Patrick’s church in a symbolic gesture of solidarity with those affected by the Peshawar Church bombing.

Religions unite to protest Peshawar church bombing

Hundreds show interfaith solidarity by forming human chain in Karachi. Muslims, Hindus and Christians form a human chain around St Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi, Sindh.

Hundreds of Christians and Muslims joined hands in Karachi on Sunday to form a human chain in a rare show of unity in the wake of the September 22 terror attack on a church in Peshawar.

At least 85 people were killed and more than 140 wounded when two suicide bombers blew themselves up at All Saints Church in Peshawar immediately after Sunday Mass in what has been described as one of the most deadly attacks on the beleaguered religious minority in Pakistan.

Read more » http://www.ucanews.com/news/religions-unite-to-protest-peshawar-church-bombing/69358

Muslim mob targets Christian locality in Gujranwala ‘for disrespecting Islam’

LAHORE – In a renewed attack on minorities, a violent Muslim mob attacked a Christian locality in Gujranwala on Wednesday, damaging shops, houses and vehicles belonging to the local Christians following a clash between the youths of the two communities last night, Pakistan Today has learnt.

According to initial information, a group of Christian boys was snubbed by a local cleric for playing music on their cell phones while passing by a mosque on Tuesday evening.

“Our boys were passing the mosque when the prayer leader objected to their playing music on cell phones. The boys turned off the music at that moment but switched it on again after covering some distance. The cleric raised a clamour and accused the boys of showing disrespect to Islam. As word spread of the incident, we immediately went to the police post in our colony and shared our security concerns with them. The police told us not to worry and assured us that they would contain the situation but no measures were taken,” Pervaiz, a resident of Francis Colony in Gujranwala, told Pakistan Today.

Continue reading Muslim mob targets Christian locality in Gujranwala ‘for disrespecting Islam’

Cries for a lost home(land)

By Xari Jalil

LAHORE, March 9: “Burn us too!” wails a woman, her hands repeatedly hitting her head. “Did they leave us alive to see all this?” Her tears stream down her face and her nose is red and swollen. In one of the doorways, a mother and son stand hugging each other and weeping as if someone has just died. “They took everything from us…” sobs the boy. “Those robbers took everything we had worked hard for.”

Not many of the homes in Joseph Colony are left intact. They are now skeletons, empty shells, housing nothing but ashes.

The Christian families, who had been shifted one night ago for ‘safety’ as the police told them, only came the next day to find out that all of their belongings and all their assets – in fact everything that they owned had been ransacked, robbed, and the rest mercilessly burnt to the ground. All because one man from among them was accused under Section 295-C: an accusation which has not been proved.

While the police remain guarded, only carefully revealing any kind of information to the media, and the Muslim community prefer to remain mute, the Christians are ablaze with fury.

“There are about 250 families in total,” says Aslam Masih. “Each family has faced a loss of about Rs0.8 to Rs0.9 million, and this figure is the lowest I am talking about.”

Mariam Bibi stands in her doorway peering inside. She cannot step inside because the ashes are still white and burning, and acrid, black smoke fumes out angrily.

“We saved every penny to collect for my daughter’s dowry,” she sobs. “In one night they have left us homeless and out on the streets. Where will we sleep now?”

Continue reading Cries for a lost home(land)

Some misconceptions about Badami Bagh

By Omar

Today a charged mob” set fire to about 150 poor Christian homes in Badami Bagh Lahore. see pictures here.

The order of events was pretty standard.
Wednesday: A Christian sanitary worker (yes, they clean gutters and sweep roads) argued with a Muslim Barber at a snooker game. At some point after this he accused the Christian of having blasphemed he who must not be named.

Friday: “Enraged Muslims” marched into Joseph colony looking for the blasphemer. They beat up his father (age 65, very much in the “beatable” age group) and did some property damage. Police arrested the accused that night. They also advised the local Christians to clear out since more “rage” may be on its way.

Saturday: Thanks to the timely efforts of the Punjab police, no Christians were home when the rage returned on Saturday. 178 houses were burnt, as was one church. No one was killed since no one was there.

Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif has suspended the local police officers and promised to rebuild the houses. He has also said the trial of the blasphemy accused will be held in prison and it is looking possible that the trial will be quick and he may be set free (unlike Aasia bibi, who remains in prison).

“Civil society” has reacted with outrage and the President and the PM have condemned this outrage. Most of the outrage is probably genuine. But I noticed some common misconceptions too.

1. This outrage is new and shocking and marks a “further deterioration” in how things are done in the Islamic Republic….In this case, NOT true. This event is small scale compared to the assault on Shantinagar in 1997.

There have been many other blasphemy accusations and mobs between then and now. The outrage is outrageous, but neither new nor out of proportion to “usual practice”.

2. The mobs are led by misunderstanders of Islam. Actually the mobs are led by people who know what they are doing with remarkable clarity. Blasphemy and apostasy memes (memes, not laws…no law is needed if the meme is firmly in place, since they allow for freelance action) are the twin pillars on which Islamism is built. See here for details. 

Continue reading Some misconceptions about Badami Bagh

British Pakistani Christian Association – In memory of Shanti Nagar

Today is the 16th anniversary of the sacking of Shanti Nagar. In memory of this, we publish the relevant section of a new report on Pakistan we plan to publish quite soon.

Shanti Nagar is a predominantly Salvation Army village in the Punjab province, founded in 1916, of around 25-30,000 people. Apart from about 15 Muslim families – for whom the other villagers built a mosque – the inhabitants are Christian. Hard work in farming meant the village was relatively prosperous. On 17th January police raided the house of a 60 year old Christian, claiming intelligence of alcohol-drinking and gambling going on. The police regularly raided the village on such pretexts – usually about every fortnight, probably because of jealousy over the Christian village’s prosperity. They would harass the villagers, and because the villagers were rich enough to bribe the corrupt police, they always came back for more. Anyway, despite, as ever, no gambling or alcohol or anything else illegal going on there, they searched his property, and amidst the ransacking a box with a bible fell out. The police deliberately kicked and desecrated the bible, and took the man to the police station, even though they had found nothing illegal, and were trying to get a large bribe from him. The residents of the village protested the raid, the false arrest and the desecration of the bible, and also the numerous false blasphemy accusations that had been made against villagers. They asked for charges under article 295 to be brought against the policeman responsible. Even after police investigations found the charge to be true, the police refused to act until sustained pressure resulted in a promise to suspend the officers responsible and take them to court. Then the police pressured the village for the matter to be settled out of court, but they refused and the senior police officer threatened to act in way that meant they would not be able to stand on their own feet for at least 50 years. On 3rd February, a general election day, he posted the policeman who had kicked the bible to Shanti Nagar as security officer. This made the villagers even more angry as it proved the promises by higher police officers to take action was a lie, and they protested even more, so the police hatched a plot. Two days later, a Muslim man went to an abandoned mosque 2km from Shanti Nagar and found – so he said – torn pages of the Quran with blasphemous words and the name and address of the Christian from Shanti-Nagar who complained about his bible being desecrated, along with several others. He took it to the police station of the nearby city of Khanewal, a stronghold of an Islamicist group with ties to Bin Laden called Harkat-ul-Insar. Within 30 minutes of registering a case (and several Christians being arrested), mosque loud speakers from the city and all the Muslim villages around about were calling all faithful Muslims to wage jihad against Shanti Nagar, using word for word identical language. City church priests rushed to warn senior officials of the impending attack, and were promised that all appropriate measures would be made, but that too was a lie. Late that night, mobs started attacking churches, Christian homes and shops and medical dispensaries in Khanewal, setting them and their contents on fire. The next morning, the mob attacked the Catholic church just outside the city Council buildings. Bibles and other books were gathered from churches and burned, and the Holy Communion bread thrown on the floor, statues and the like were systematically smashed. 100’s attacked the priests’ house and burned all the parish records. Pleas for police help went unheeded, they just stood by and watched. The mob attacked a Christian boys school. Many fled, but about 50 of the youngest hid under their beds. The mob set fire to mattresses over them, and they had to flee for their lives, several being carried out unconscious. They burned all the school records and furniture. They then attacked the Salvation army church and pharmacy, and re-attacked the Church of Pakistan building they had attacked the night before. Christians in local shops and homes fled for their lives, but those who were caught were severely beaten. Again the police did nothing. The mob only retreated when Christians started throwing bricks and stones to defend their homes.

Continue reading British Pakistani Christian Association – In memory of Shanti Nagar

PAKISTAN: A new wave of persecution against the religious minorities

PAKISTAN: Military demolishes temple, Ahmadi graves desecrated, a six-year-old Hindu girl was raped and a 70 year old Christian missionary shot

December 6, 2012 – ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-200-2012 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a wave of persecution against the religious minority groups has again started with the connivance of military and local authorities. In the recent days more than 100 graves of Ahamadis were desecrated by excavating the graves and breaking the headstones bearing the names of the dead persons. The same happened with a Hindu temple which was destroyed along with the houses by the military authorities, allegedly after being bribed by a private builder who wanted to grab the land. In another case a six-year-old girl from the Hindu community was raped in a bid to push the Hindu community to leave the country and take refuge in India. Also, a 70-year-old Swedish Christian missionary was shot at and is in critical condition. Her cook was also beaten up by the unknown persons two days before the incident.

Read more » ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (AHRC)

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-200-2012

Reepika Maseeh abducted & forcibly converted to Islam

Mian Mithoo & Mian Aslam’s new conquest, Reepika Maseeh, coming out of court. Reepika Maseeh is a Christian nurse from Sukkur, Pakistan. According to her father, she was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam & married away to a disciple of Mian Mithoo/Mian Aslam.

Read the story in Sindhi daily Awami Awaz: CLICK HERE

http://www.awamiawaz.net/%D8%B1%D9%BE%DA%AA%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%AD-%D8%B3%D8%AE%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D9%BB%D8%A7%D8%A1%D9%8E-%DB%BE-%D8%B9%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA-%D9%BE%D9%8A%D8%B4%D8%8C-%DA%AA%D9%86%D9%87%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%87

via – adopted from facebook

Breaking idols, tearing Bhagavad Gita to protest “Prophet film.” Attack on Hindus prompts blasphemy case in Pakistan

Attack on Hindus prompts blasphemy case in Pakistan

Islamabad: A group of Muslims suspected of ransacking a Hindu temple in southern Pakistan may be charged with blasphemy, police said Sunday. The case is a rare twist on the use of the country’s harsh blasphemy laws, which are more often invoked against supposed offenses to Islam as opposed to minority faiths.

The laws, sections of which carry the death penalty or life imprisonment, have drawn renewed international scrutiny this year after a young Christian girl in Islamabad was alleged to have desecrated the Muslim holy book, the Quran. A Muslim cleric now stands accused of fabricating evidence against the girl, who has been freed on bail and whose mental capacity has been questioned.

Police officer Mohammad Hanif said the anti-Hindu attack took place Sept. 21. The government had declared that day a national holiday – a “Day of Love for the Prophet” – and called on people to demonstrate peacefully against a U.S.-made anti-Islam film that has sparked protests throughout the Muslim world. Those rallies took a violent turn in Pakistan, and more than 20 people were killed.

Hanif said dozens of Muslims led by a cleric converged on the outskirts of Karachi in a Hindu neighborhood commonly known as Hindu Goth. The protesters attacked the Sri Krishna Ram temple, broke religious statues, tore up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, and beat up the temple’s caretaker, Sindha Maharaj.

“The attackers broke the statues of (Hindu deities) Radha, Hanuman, Parwati and Krishna, and took away the decorative gold ornaments,” Maharaj said. “They also stormed my home and snatched the gold jewelry of my family, my daughters.”

Maharaj and other Hindu leaders turned to the police, who registered a case against the cleric and eight other Muslims. But none of the suspects had been found as of Sunday, Hanif said.

The police officer said the case against the attackers was registered under Section 295-A of the blasphemy laws, which covers the “outraging of religious feelings.” That section of the law can carry a fine or up to 10 years imprisonment, but, if the case were to proceed, it’s unclear exactly what punishment would be imposed.

Continue reading Breaking idols, tearing Bhagavad Gita to protest “Prophet film.” Attack on Hindus prompts blasphemy case in Pakistan

PAKISTAN PERISCOPE – Curse of Blasphemy Law

The likelyhood of death sentence being awarded to an 11 year old for alleged blasphemy is symptomatic of the naked abuse of power exercised by religious zealots

By Ayesha Siddiqa, Independent Social Scientist

Let us roll a dice and guess who is more lucky: Abbas, tortured and burnt to death for allegedly blasphemy, or Rimsha who may survive death but will forever be scarred for being nearly sentenced to death on similar charges? Some will probably consider the young Christian girl lucky, compared to Abbas and scores of others who suffered under the archaic blasphemy law.

Continue reading PAKISTAN PERISCOPE – Curse of Blasphemy Law

Pakistan’s blasphemy law: how can we end this colossal absurdity?

The country’s blasphemy law is overwhelmingly being used to persecute religious minorities and settle personal vendettas. As the case of 14-year-old Christian Rimsha Masih gains global attention, why have politicians failed to act?

By: Mohammed Hanif

Fourteen years ago, around the time young Rimsha Masih, now in jail under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, was born, a Roman Catholic bishop walked into a courthouse in Sahiwal, quite close to my hometown in Central Punjab. The Right Rev John Joseph was no ordinary clergyman; he was the first native bishop in Pakistan and the first ever Punjabi bishop anywhere in the world. He was also a brilliant and celebrated community organiser, the kind of man oppressed communities look up to as a role model. Joseph walked in alone, asking a junior priest to wait outside the courthouse. Inside the court, he took out a handgun and shot himself in the head. The bullet in his head was his protest against the court’s decision to sentence a fellow Christian, Ayub Masih, to death for committing blasphemy. Masih had been charged with arguing with a Muslim co-worker over religious matters. The exact content of the conversation cannot be repeated here because that would be blasphemous. The bishop had campaigned long and hard to get the blasphemy law repealed without any luck. He wrote prior to his death: “I shall count myself extremely fortunate if in this mission of breaking the barriers, our Lord accepts the sacrifice of my blood for the benefit of his people.”

Joseph had been pursuing another case, in which an 11-year-old, Salamat Masih, along with his father and uncle, was accused of scribbling something blasphemous on the wall of the mosque. We don’t really know what he wrote, because reproducing it, here or in court, would constitute blasphemy.

The boy’s uncle, Manzoor Masih, was shot dead during the trial. The Masih case went to the high court, where a judge, Arif Bhatti, applied common sense and released him. A year later the judge was murdered in his own chambers, and his killers claimed that the judge had committed blasphemy by freeing those accused in the blasphemy case.

Frustrated and in a fit of rage, the bishop meditated and reached the conclusion that he should kill himself publicly to make his point.

You could argue that Joseph should have organised candlelight vigils, gone on a hunger strike, hired better lawyers. But he had tried everything and realised that a bullet in the head in the middle of a court was his only way to draw attention to this colossal absurdity called blasphemy law.

He was wrong. The law stayed. Many more Christians were killed.

There are situations though, where confronted with the prospect of a 14-year-old being sentenced to death, as a celebrated community leader you can’t do anything but take a gun to your head.

And hope for the best.

Continue reading Pakistan’s blasphemy law: how can we end this colossal absurdity?

Why Pakistanis Won’t Speak Out Against Blasphemy Law

By: Tahir Gora

The arrest of 11-year-or-so-old Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, in Pakistan in connection with the blasphemy charges has shocked the world but not Pakistan and majority Pakistanis.

For instance, a Pakistani Canadian from Mississauga, Ontario Canada wrote on the Internet in the wake of this senseless arrest, “Lets fight against the terrorism of USA and support the cause of AAFIA SIDDIQUE (a Pakistani lady convicted and jailed in the USA for assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan)”, he stated further, “I am 100% sure that nothing will happen to the girl (Rimsha) and she will be released, not to worry.”

While undermining the arrest of poor little Rimsha and provoking dispute in Aafia conviction case, that Pakistani-Canadian fellow completely forgot that a Pakistani Christian lady, Asia Bibi, a mother of five is still behind the bars. She received a sentence of death by a Pakistani court in connection of Blasphemy Law in November 2010.

Continue reading Why Pakistanis Won’t Speak Out Against Blasphemy Law

Pakistan ‘Koran plot’ imam remanded in blasphemy case

A Pakistani imam has been remanded in custody, accused of planting pages of the Koran among burnt pages in the bag of a Christian girl held for blasphemy.

The girl was detained two weeks ago near the capital Islamabad after an angry mob demanded she be punished.

Imam Khalid Chishti allegedly told a witness that this was a “way of getting rid of Christians”, a prosecutor said.

The girl, named as Rimsha, is said to be about 14 and to have learning difficulties.

The case has sparked international condemnation.

Earlier this week, a court extended Rimsha’s detention at a maximum-security prison by a further two weeks.

Her father has said he fears for his daughter’s life and for the safety of his family. He has called on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon her.

Continue reading Pakistan ‘Koran plot’ imam remanded in blasphemy case

A decaying state kills its minorities

By Khaled Ahmed

The people who target religious minorities in Pakistan had been nurtured as the state’s proxy warriors; the state then surrendered to them its monopoly of violence

A 150-strong mob of pious Muslims in Islamabad committed vandalism, baying for the blood of a mentally challenged Christian child Ramsha because they thought she had burned the Quran. The police had her under arrest pretending it was for her own security. Earlier, a mad ‘blaspheming’ man in Bahawalpur was taken out of jail and burned to death. After the imposition of the Blasphemy Law the first major case was also against a 14 year old Christian boy in Gujranwala who had to be smuggled abroad to prevent him from being killed.

According to World Minority Rights Report 2011, Pakistan ranks as the 6th worst country after some African states in respect of safety and rights of minorities. This includes non-Muslims, those the state has dubbed non-Muslim, and women. Ironically, this behaviour also includes persecution of non-Muslims through forced conversion to Islam, through forcible marriages of non-Muslim girls to Muslims, and apparently willing conversion of non-Muslims to Islam to secure themselves against persecution.

Hindus of Sindh have tried to migrate to India. (Nearly 568 FIRs for forced marriages were lodged last year across 40 districts of Pakistan, with the majority of such cases having been filed in Sindh.) Instead of sympathising with such fugitives, the liberal PPP government suspected them of being disloyal to Pakistan and stopped them – for some time – from visiting India. Hindus are the largest minority community in Sindh.

The minister who did that himself fears being killed by the elements who hunt Pakistan’s Hindu community. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Balochistan chapter has identified an ongoing exodus of Hindu families from Quetta too due to fear of kidnappings for ransom, yet the Balochistan government does not seem to be doing much to address this problem.

Continue reading A decaying state kills its minorities

Why are we so intolerant? Emotional and heartfelt column on Rimsha. – By Mehr Tarar

VIEW : To do or not to — Mehr Tarar

How will we learn to differentiate between an outright insult to our religion and an inadvertent slip where the doer does not even know what the action implies?

I write because I feel. This is the only medium through which I can express with some coherence what I want to say. Words have a tremendous power, bigger than many of us realise, but words only affect when they carry an expression of what you truly believe, what you feel a level deeper than the superfluous, and when your belief and feeling strengthen into the knowledge that it all must be conveyed; if not to all, to some. If not to some, maybe to even one person, whom you may touch, one way or the other, subliminally, or if you are lucky, startle like an alarm going off at 4:00 am when you are finally asleep, after hours of insomnia. Words, for me, would never be a mere structuring of alphabets, painstakingly coerced together, to compile an essay that you force yourself to write, to meet a deadline, to score an A, to fill your weekly slot in a newspaper. I write because I love to write. I write because I am a firm believer of the potency of the right text hitting the right chord at the right time. I write because when there is too much chaos around me, the orderliness of keys placed side by side on my keyboard allows me the calm to figure out how I can give voice to my outrage. I write when there are moments to celebrate, goodness to value, and achievements to celebrate. As I write today, I wish there were noble things to write about instead of the stark randomness of madness that seems to permeate our collective consciousness as a nation. I wish.

Continue reading Why are we so intolerant? Emotional and heartfelt column on Rimsha. – By Mehr Tarar

‘People of other religions busy in useless activities during religious festivals’: So say Pakistan’s school books

By Rabia Mehmood

LAHORE: National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) has conducted a content analysis of the revised curriculum of Punjab and Sindh textbooks for 2012-2013 for inclusion of biased and discriminatory content against religions other than Islam.

The findings reveal excessive use of the words Hindu, Christian and Jew while discussing the history of Pakistan and Islamic Studies, which portray the said faiths in a negative light.

For example, an Islamic Studies book of Sindh board for class 5, in a chapter on Eid (religious festivals), includes a line saying, “People of other religions usually stay busy in useless activities during their religious festivals. There is no concept of God or submission among them.”

The chapter “Pakistan, an Islamic State” in the same textbook of Punjab board includes this line: “Hindus harmed Muslims in every way.”

The content analysis has been published in Urdu to generate a debate on how the inclusion of discriminatory content in curriculum sows seeds of hatred, and to ensure that the review reaches maximum people.

Number of chapters with biased content PUNJAB:

Continue reading ‘People of other religions busy in useless activities during religious festivals’: So say Pakistan’s school books

Lawyers Seek Release of Pakistani Girl Charged With Blasphemy

By DECLAN WALSH

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The fate of a Pakistani Christian girl at the center of a contentious blasphemy case hung in the balance on Tuesday, as lawyers applied for her release from jail and an influential Muslim cleric offered his support.

The Pakistani authorities have held the girl, Rimsha Masih, in a high-security jail since Aug. 16, when hundreds of Muslim protesters, angered over claims that she had burned pages from an Islamic holy book, surrounded a police station here in Islamabad to demand that she face prosecution.

Continue reading Lawyers Seek Release of Pakistani Girl Charged With Blasphemy

Free Rimsha Masih

The latest victim of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, is an 11 year old girl suffering from Downs Syndrome. Rimshah Masih screamed pitifully as she was brutally snatched from her mother by an angry mob intent on killing her. Burnt religious texts had been mischievously planted in a bag she was carrying. We call on the Pakistani Government to take action to stop the ongoing discrimination, persecution and hatred towards minorities living there. We call on the Britisha Government the EU and the Un to intervene on behalf of this poor child and to bring about her freedom.

To bring an end to hatred towards minority faiths in conservative Pakistan and to defend otherwise helpless victims like Rimsha please sign the petition below:

This petition will be sent to the Pakistan High Commission and 10 Downing Street.

Here our song for Rimsha here:

Read more » Petition Buzz

» To Sign a Petition to Free Rimsha Masih

And we are Muslims? – Mehr Tarar

Kill a human being who does not share your faith and voila, as per your religious gurus, you have earned the title of ‘ghazi’

My 12-year-old son is a Muslim. He knows the Namaz, reads the Quran with a teacher, and recites the Kalima before going to sleep. He understands the basic concepts and has no problem lowering the sound of TV when one is saying prayers, or when asked to put the Quran in a clean, protected space. Asked why he does all these things, his answer would be simple: “My mom taught me to.” My 12-year-old is a Muslim simply because I am a Muslim. His faith is not something he was born with, and all he knows is imbibed through parental influence. The only thing noteworthy is his perception about the world: how unfair some things are, how people unleash cruelty on one another. His unfaltering empathy, his profound concern for people are things probably no one taught him. When I tell him about painful events, there is no recoiling in unease; there is merely a rapid fluttering of eyelashes, a telltale sign of an attempt to hide his tears, this time about the 11-year-old Christian girl who is the latest victim of Muslim ruthlessness.

Continue reading And we are Muslims? – Mehr Tarar

Christian group to hold conference on Pakistan blasphemy law

GENEVA: An influential Christian Church organisation will hold an international conference in Geneva next month on Pakistan’s blasphemy law, after an 11-year-old Pakistani Christian girl was detained on accusations of defaming Islam.

Religious and secular groups worldwide have protested over the arrest last week of Rifta Masih, accused by Muslim neighbours of burning verses from the Quran, Islam’s holy book.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) said the conference was intended to give a global platform to religious minorities in Pakistan “who are victimised in the name of its controversial blasphemy law” in cases which had brought death penalties and “mob-instigated violence.”

It will be addressed by representatives of the minorities: Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, dissenting Islamic sects – including Ahmadis and Shias, and by civil society groups defending them. The WCC said officials from the United Nations, where special human rights investigators on religious freedom have often criticised Pakistan’s blasphemy law, would also attend.

Continue reading Christian group to hold conference on Pakistan blasphemy law

Brutal murder of 12 years old orphan Christian boy Samuel Yaqoob by cutting his neck and burning him in Faisalabad

As the furore over the arrest of a minor Christian girl over blasphemy charge is yet to die down, the body of an 11-year-old boy from the minority community, bearing torture marks, was found in Faisalabad city of Pakistan’s Punjab province Wednesday, police said.

Samuel Yaqoob, a resident of the Christian Colony of Faisalabad, 100 km from Lahore, was brutally tortured before being killed. He had been missing since the evening of August 20, when he had stepped out of his home to go to the market. Yaqoob’s burnt body was found near a drain of the Christian Colony Wednesday. His lips, nose and belly were cut off and he could hardly be recognised as his body was badly burnt, relatives said.

Continue reading Brutal murder of 12 years old orphan Christian boy Samuel Yaqoob by cutting his neck and burning him in Faisalabad

Muslims Condemn Blasphemy Charges Against Christian Girl in Pakistan

By: Mike Ghouse, Writer, Speaker,Pluralist, Activist

Muslims together condemn the arrest and imprisonment of a Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, in Pakistan on blasphemy charges.

We urge Muslims in Pakistan and around the world to focus on this particular topic and seek to abolish the blasphemy laws.

There is a way out to find lasting solutions to rid of the abusive practices by a few in the clergy group. These men, literate or illiterate, at least claim to follow Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life examples; however, they don’t, and it is our immediate responsibility to pass on Prophet Muhammad’s practices to some of these men who pass judgments without any reference to the life of the Prophet. Screaming at them or pushing them to the corner is neither Jesus’ way nor Muhammad’s way.

Continue reading Muslims Condemn Blasphemy Charges Against Christian Girl in Pakistan

Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

Pakistani activists alarmed by threats to minorities

The US has said that it is deeply disturbed by the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges. It also expressed satisfaction, however, about President Asif Ali Zardari’s action to probe the case.

On Monday, when Pakistani Muslims were busy celebrating the Islamic Eid festival, hundreds of Christian families living in the low-income Mehrabad neighborhood of the Pakistani capital Islamabad were forced to leave the homes where they had been living for more than two decades.

The Christians feared that they would be attacked by the majority Muslim community after Rimsha, a Christian girl aged between 10 and 13, allegedly burnt pages with the verses from the Koran inscribed on them. The incident took place last Thursday and Rimsha was later taken into custody by the Pakistani police.

The angry Muslims of the neighborhood, which is only a 20-minute drive from Western embassies in Islamabad, immediately demanded that she be punished for her “sin.”

According to some media reports, the girl was burning papers that she collected from a rubbish pile for cooking when some Muslims entered her house and accused her of burning the Islamic text. Pakistani officials have claimed the girl suffers from Down’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing major learning disabilities.

On Monday, the US State Department took serious note of the girl’s arrest. “This case is obviously deeply disturbing,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, adding that the US government was encouraged by President Zardari’s move to order the interior ministry to submit a report on the case.

“We think that the president’s statement is very welcome, and we urge the government of Pakistan to protect not just its religious minority citizens but also women and girls,” Nuland said.

Religious discrimination is widespread

Religious discrimination in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not a new occurrence but it has increased considerably in recent years. Pakistan’s liberal sections are alarmed by the growing influence of right-wing Islamists in their country.

Rights activists complain that the Islamists enjoy state patronage, while on the other hand liberal and progressive voices have to face the wrath of the country’s security agencies.

Rights organizations also point out to the legal discrimination against minorities in Pakistan, which, in their opinion, is one the major causes of maltreatment of Pakistani minority groups.

President Zardari’s PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) government has recently come under sharp criticism from the country’s rights organizations and the West for refusing to reform the anti-blasphemy laws despite the assassinations of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian cabinet minister, and Salman Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab province.

Controversial anti-blasphemy laws

The two politicians were brutally murdered by Islamists in 2011 because they had dared to speak out against the controversial laws, which were introduced by the military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.

Many rights activists say they have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes.

Farooq Sulehria, a London-based activist and journalist, told DW that they should be immediately repealed. “But I doubt that in the absence of a working-class struggle in Pakistan, any government will be forced to do it.”

Mohsin Sayeed, a journalist in Karachi, said the laws were “un-Islamic.”

“The anti-blasphemy laws should be abolished because they have nothing to do with Islam. We have been demanding their repeal for a long time. This demand has met with a fierce reaction from religious extremists, who are no more a marginalized group in Pakistan,” Sayeed told DW.

He also criticized the Pakistani judiciary for its alleged sympathetic behavior toward the right-wing. “Asia Bibi is still languishing in jail, while Mumtaz Qadri (Taseer’s assassin), is still alive,” he said.

‘Intolerance is becoming mainstream’

There have also been reports of hundreds of members of the Hindu community trading Pakistan for India, citing mistreatment, discrimination and persecution in their homeland as reasons.

Continue reading Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

New blasphemy low – downs syndrome girl arrested!

We have received reports of a new and appalling low in the ongoing abuse of blasphemy laws. Allegedly, a Quran was found with some of its pages burned by Muslims in a Christian area of Islamabad – in previous cases the burning has nearly always shown to have been done by Muslims, or by mentally unstable people – and worse, they have had an 11 year old Christian girl with downs syndrome called Rimsha Masih arrested and charged with the crime.

Continue reading New blasphemy low – downs syndrome girl arrested!

Migration not solution for Sindhi Hindus

By: Kapil Dev

Some 65 years ago, Muhammad Ali Jinnah made a historic speech to the first Constituent Assembly, which was being presided over by none other than a scheduled caste Hindu, Jogendra Nath Mandal, also the first law minister of Pakistan, which many of us perhaps don’t know. Jinnah’s words ‘You are free; you are free to go your worship places. You may belong to any religion or cast or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state’ often reverberate in our ears on this day. It won’t be wrong to say that a person belonging to religious minority, be it a Christian, Hindu or Parsi, has crammed these historic words just to quote and justify their existence here and they rightly do so. In fact these words are an epitome of Jinnah’s vision of secular Pakistan which was hijacked soon after his death by right wing mullahs.

Continue reading Migration not solution for Sindhi Hindus

11 Christian nurses are poisoned in Pakistan for daring to drink tea during the month of Ramzan

Christian Nurses poisoned to Punish drinking tea during Muslims Ramadan in Pakistan

Karachi: July 30, 2012. (PCP) Christian staff nurses of Civil Hospital Karachi were poisoned as punishment to drink tea in their Hostel rooms during Holy Month of Ramadan being observed these days by Muslim majority community of Pakistan.

Among Eleven (11) poisoned Christian nurses (3) were rushed to Intensive Care Unit ICU of Civil Hospital Karachi were remaining (8) are being treated in emergency ward.

Civil Hospital Karachi is under ministry of health of Sindh government where Christian medico staff was in majority till 1985.

Staff Nurses Rita, Anila and Rafia were in serious condition in ICU ward of CHK while staff nurse Rita was later transferred on life saving equipment.

There are reports that FIR have been registered against unknown person on poisoning Christian nurses in Aram Bagh Police Station of Karachi and non was arrested so far.

According to Ramadan Ordinance of Provincial Sindh Government, to eat in Public places is prohibited and restaurants and vendors will remain closed during timing of Ramadan.

The Ramadan Ordinance is not imposed on Five Star Hotels in Sindh Province and allows minority community individuals to take meals in indoor facilities.

After independence of Pakistan in 1947, all restaurants have to put curtain on their doors where Muslim and other religious communities were free to dine and smoke during Holy Month of Ramadan but laws of total ban or closure were made after Islamization of Pakistan during Zia-ul-Haq rule.

The poisoning incident of 11 Christian nurses have spread wave of fear among religious minorities of Pakistan and rising extremism in society.

Courtesy: Pakistan Christian Post

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/headlinenewsd.php?hnewsid=3656

Via – Twitter