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.

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