Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pakistan = Injustice?

Many have now heard that Pakistan was graced with it's first Oscar via uber talented Emmy winning Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, in collaboration with filmmaker Daniel Junge. The documentary that won sparked discussion all over the internet in the days since the 84th Annual Academy Awards aired this past Sunday (Febuary 26th, 2012).

Saving Face is about the breakdown of society that leads to vicious crime, specifically in this documentary the acid violence that leads to scarred Pakistani women. I've heard and seen many interviews of women who have had acid thrown on them, Christian/Hindu/Muslim whatever the case may be; it's disturbing. The pictures are disturbing, and you would have to be one seriously Godless human being to not want to give these women justice.

How is that possible? IS it possible?

A hungry Pakistani child.
According to PEW Reports, Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world; this includes here in the Americas, as well as back home in Pakistan.. However Islam is right after it. Muslim on Muslim violence has become so disturbingly high and continues to rise with dramatic effects for the sidelined minority community.

Just today I read an article about the kidnapping of several employees of a South Korean-run hospital; Pakistani Christian employees I should say. The terrorists were looking for Koreans as the article seems to point out, but when they didn't find what they were looking for they went for what they had and kidnapped the employees.

Kidnapping of foreigners, aid workers, journalists etc. continues to rise in the Middle East and around South Asia as many terrorist groups use ransom to fund their campaigns. They kidnap "random" people to fund killing each other. And basically these Pakistani Christians just happened to get caught in the middle.

What am I getting to? Justice. How do we receive justice as Pakistanis; Muslim or Christian? Especially when the justice system is shrouded by laws dictated by Islam?

A Bible burned in Shanti Nagar, one of many regularly desecrated in Pakistan. Especially poignant with the escalating violence in the world due because of a couple of burnt Qurans. Don't bother going to kill anyone about this though, God isn't any smaller because of it.
Here's the problem: as fellow blogger Blazing Cat Fur put it yesterday: "just when I was getting used to Taqiyya" it's now been uncovered that lying or (in less offensive terms) not revealing what's completely real/true is an ingrained characteristic of Islamic fundamentals.

Perhaps you have heard of taqiyya, the Muslim doctrine that allows lying in certain circumstances -- primarily when Muslim minorities live under infidel authority. Now meet tawriya, a doctrine that allows lying in virtually all circumstances—including to fellow Muslims and by swearing to Allah—provided the liar is creative enough to articulate his deceit in a way that is "technically" true.

The authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary defines tawriya as, "hiding, concealment; dissemblance, dissimulation, hypocrisy; equivocation, ambiguity, double-entendre, allusion." Conjugates of the trilateral root of the word, w-r-y, appear in the Quran in the context of hiding or concealing something (e.g., 5:31, 7:26).

For example, if someone declares "I don't have a penny in my pocket," most listeners will assume the speaker has no money on him—although he might have dollar bills, just literally no pennies.

Following their prophet's example, many leading Muslim figures have used tawriya, such as Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, founder of one of Islam's four schools of law, practiced in Saudi Arabia. Once when he was holding class, someone came knocking, asking for one of the students. Imam Ahmed answered, "He's not here, what would he be doing here?"— all the time pointing at his hand, as if to say "he's not in my hand." Obviously the caller, who could not see Ahmed, assumed the student was simply not there.

Read the full article for information about "tawriya".

Pakistani Christian homes destroyed by mobs.
So, what can we do to get past the shadows to come to a place where we are able to seek truth in trials and provide justice for the likes of the women shown in Saving Face; or for the millions of Christians for whom we are raising our voices? We can't do it alone. At the ICV Meet & Greet Event earlier this month, I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Attique Khokhar (of Buffalo, NY) remind our community here in Toronto of Matt 18:20 - When two or three are gathered in Jesus name, He is there with them. Anywhere and everywhere our God unites us together and bids us to come out of the darkness.

We have the foundation to support, as Mr. Khokhar stated, not only our own communities; but also to better in the development of Pakistan as a whole. Foundations that (whether anyone would like to admit it or not) are the reason for which the severe breakdown of society seen in Islamic nations has NOT YET occurred in Western civilization. Christianity is based on teachings that are as valid today as they were when penned by the writers of the gospels, and the first place we need to start applying them is WITHIN OUR OWN.

Pakistani Christians walking down a street with donated quilts.
One of the biggest obstacles that my family, friends and I have come across time and time again is the disconnected concerns of those with the "upper hand" of control in our community; i.e. the leaders.

What exactly are our goals with regards to the Christians in Pakistan?
Do we want to get them out?
Do we want to build up their ability to survive within?

And who controls the choices/results?

Are we actually falling into the trap that being nurtured as Pakistani's has set for us?

Being a part of a nation that considers itself at large to be an Islamic Republic has almost "rubbed off" on our community. Make no mistake, I have no right to judge anyone faith in Christ, but I CAN tell you once again that faith without works is dead. We know each other by our fruits, and if our fruits show us to be a corrupted and disingenuous people then how are we to ever hold perpetrators accountable for the injustices that we face?

Lots of questions, lots of worries.

A wonderfully wise woman (Ms Lesley-Anne Leighton) told me a couple of weeks ago what I could do to resolve my concerns: Pray for my leaders. We need to get off our bottoms, go forward and place our hands on those that would lead this community. Pray that they encounter Christ in their lives, that they encounter Him like never before. Pray that God opens their eyes to the things that He concerns. Pray that God melts their hearts to His people and reminds our leaders WHY they had first decided to get up and make the choice to defend Pakistani Christians.. because they need it. Jesus FIRST, wisdom/ability/leadership/freedom follows.

That's how we'll get justice for us all, all Pakistanis.

A girl plays with a "Santa" toy in a Pakistani Christian village.

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