Friday, 2 August 2019

Why Religious Hatred at High Level in Pakistan?

Pakistan: Recently an issue of religious hatred against a Christian Member of the Punjab Assembly and Chairman of the Punjab Assembly Committee on Human Rights and Minority Affairs, Sardar Khalil Tahir Sandhu, has been highlighted by local and international media. According to reports on Monday 29th July 2019, the Director General (Parliament Affairs and Research) of the Punjab Assembly, Inayat Ullah Lak, called him ‘Chura’, a derogatory and pejorative word used for Christians in Pakistan. The BBC reported it as a racist word, which is not accurate. ‘Chura’ does not express racial hatred, but rather religious hatred, since Muslims and Christians are from same ethnic background and race. Mr. Sandhu also disclosed that this is not the first time he has encountered this religious based behavior of hatred from Mr. Lak.

Such religious hatred is not reserved only for Mr. Sandhu, but other Christian members of the House have been victimized in this way. Some suffer of Mr. Sandhu’s colleagues have been subjected to such attacks during the sessions. The hatred towards Christians is very common in Islamic Society in Pakistan and it is openly shown in their behavior without fear of legal action against them. They exhibit such abuse knowing Christians are very sincere, gentle minded, peaceful and, through the strength of the Holy Spirit, able to bear anything. It is very true to state that almost every one of us Pakistani Christians has suffered such religious hatred. If such prestigious and powerful Christian men as Mr. Sandhu are suffering religious hatred and unable to take legal action against their persecutors, then think about a Christian who is sweeper, domestic worker, or slave under the bonded labor system. 

Pakistani Religious Radicals are very smart; they have developed a kind of atmosphere in Pakistani society in which it has become not only difficult but also impossible for Christians to breathe a sigh of relief without religious hatred and persecution. It is a society full of an increasing religious hatred. Such open hatred is not built by chance, rather it is very systematically created and strengthened by the State institutions, Media and Radicals clerics’ contributions. This claim can be verified very easily; if someone reviews previously published advertisements in Pakistani media regarding jobs for sweepers, by indicating ‘only Christian' are to apply indicates the religiously based hatred for Christians. Those who show hatred for Christians say that they do not discriminate, as their religion teaches the message of equality, peace and love; but on contrary, we continuously listen to demoralizing comments and are subject of discriminatory actions from these self-claimed peaceful people and from their leaders. If the leaders are of this irresponsible ‘on the record’, then just imagine what ordinary citizens do with Christians ‘off the record’.

Do you think this country can learn how to respect adherents to other religions while forcing them to obey the dictates of Islamic law and religious affiliation? It is our misfortune that we come from this community where the law of blasphemy is applied and the blasphemy laws not only promote religious intolerance, hatred, discrimination and violence, but also give rise to religious terrorism and terrorists. Persecutors use these laws to persecute the faith of minorities, and to oppress them for their own ulterior motives. It is a religious ‘card’ which is being used by Islamic clerics, and even political parties, establishments, bureaucracy and individual Islamist in Pakistan.

But we can be at peace within ourselves, satisfied because we are already warned by Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Matthew 5:11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 

It is now incumbent upon our present Christian Political Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party that they must present a bill  or law to pass, such as in India, that if somebody uses insulting and derogatory words like ‘Chura ‘, they may be punished by six months imprisonment and a fine. In this way, for our defense and self-respect, something good can be done. At the same time, it is also our duty and mandatory for Christians to teach and to preach to Muslims about how to ‘love your neighbor’ and to give respect to others, in reference to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We know Radicals are uncertain and confused about their worldly life and future life in heaven, but we have to teach them how they can be saved and be assured for their salvation through Jesus Christ. There is only one name, and that is only the name of Jesus, who can save us and grant us eternal life, while also freeing us from wanting to practice any kind violence or terrorism. And the proof of our salvation is that we practice peace, love and respect for our neighbors. That is the reason people from any nation or faith wish to live and reside among us, because we Christians are peace promoters, loving persons and given to respect to humans of every faith, creed and nation.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Why are Pakistani Christian victimized by blasphemy law, killing, abduction, forced conversion and human trafficking?

Pakistan: It is very alarming news that in these days Christian victimization is on rise in Pakistan and shocking thing is that Pakistani authority is covering it by saying it is just a routine individual incidents. We are raising our voice in solidarity with victims and their families because they are suffering due to their Christian faith. Our request to all human rights and Christian faith based international organizations to advocate and to support for all persecuted Christians without thinking that the particular victim and his case is not in hand of your partner. Please stand for persecuted Christian in Pakistan without discrimination of anyway. We are thankful for the US has asked recently to Pakistan to release more than 40 members of the religious minorities facing blasphemy charges and we are also thankful for encouraging to appoint an envoy to address the various concerns on religious freedom in the country.

Blasphemy Laws: LEAD-Legal Evangelical Association Development has collected the list of following prisoners of faith and conscience but actual number are more than this list. There are following seven Christians on death row who are languishing in Pakistani jails for years, Anwar Kenneth, a Christian couple Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, Sawan Masih, Zafar Bhatti, Two real brothers Qaiser Ayub and Amoon Ayub. These are following two Christians sentenced with life imprisonment and languishing in jails for years, Imran Masih, Sajjad Masih Gill. These are following nine Christians who are facing trial and languishing in jails for years, Asif Pervaiz, Adnan Masih, Ashfaq Masih, Patras Masih, Humyun Masih, Samson Nadeem, Nabeel Masih, Stephen Masih and Shahzad Masih. And one latest victim of blasphemy law is a 19 years old Christian man, Sunny Waqas, who is studying health sciences at a high school in Bahawalnagar. Reportedly, the blasphemy accusations include possession of blasphemous material about the Prophet Muhammad. But in reality, the accusations came from a Muslim neighbor over a cricket match brawl.   

Killing: It is very sad to share that Christians are being killed on just trivial issue and demands. Recently a case in Faisalabad happened and highlighted on social media for justice for minor Christian boy’s killing. The fact of the case is that a minor Christian boy Bilal Masih, was beaten to death by his Muslim employers namely Ifran alias Kalu. He was working to help his family as his father is a drug addict without work to grow his family and his wife is only breadwinner. He was enrolled in school late and studying at first grade in school. In summer holidays he decided to do some work for his family support at a scrapyard very near to his home only for Rs.50-100. A few days ago Bilal asked the employer for a loan of Rs.180 for some needs. After this his employer started to abuse him for not paying back the money. Bilal came home to take 150 rupees from his mother, and repaid to his employer against the debt. Then he told the owner that he would no longer work for him which made his employer infuriated. He and his brother Akram, brutally beat the boy, hitting him in the head with iron rods.

A Muslim man, Muhammad Idrees, just killed Saima Sardar, a Christian nurse, who refused to convert her religion and marry to a non-Christian in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Herbanspura in Lahore, a Christian man Saul was killed and Christians of the area blocked the ring road of Lahore but on the intervention with promise of justice for victim family the protest was stopped and road was opened for traffic. 

Abduction and Forced Conversion: It is very strange for us how the persecutors of Christians create and adopt a new ways to persecute Christians in Pakistan. Recently a case came on surface that a Christian girl namely Muskaan who was working as domestic worker at one Muslim home to support her poor family. She was hostage in the house of Muslim and stopped to pay her wages and when the parents of girl went to Muslim house to stop to work for them and demanded to give back their daughter. They flatly refused by saying now she has converted to Islam and you are Christian hence she is not willing to go with you at your home. 

Human trafficking: Pakistani victims of human trafficking are asking for help. A Pakistani Christian activist is sharing on social media that around 50 girls and young women have been returned but many still are trapped in China and asking for help. He has said that Pakistani authority has not done enough to help the victims. He requested NGOs to raise their voices and bring the girls back.