Saturday, September 28, 2013

God Undivided: Documentary ft. Bishop of Peshawar

In this documentary about the work of Bishop Mano Rumalshah in the Diocese of Peshawar, you can see the congregation of All Saint's Church worshiping.

The film gives a unique insight into the life of the Christian community in Pakistan.

PC Reports: Canada's Pakistani Christian Community Protests Peshawar Attack

On Thursday, September 26th, 2013; the Pakistani Christian community in Canada staged a protest outside the Pakistani Consulate in Vaughan, Ontario.

The protest was held against the rising persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan, specifically in response to the fatal violent attack on All Saint's Church in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on September 22nd; that stole the lives of approximately 85 people and wounded nearly 150 others.

Claiming responsibility for Sunday's heinous attack was the Jundullah branch of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a group that has orchestrated attacks against even muslim Shia groups. On Monday however, the TTP's main spokesman denied any involvement.

The protest was one of many echoed around the world from the UK, Australia, US, India and throughout Pakistan.

Less than 200 of the large and extremely active Pakistani Christian community was able to make it to the protest itself however in a rare display of unity much of the prominent leadership in Canada from both social, religious and political groups set aside their differences to come together for this serious cause. This was seen by most as a hugely positive and necessary achievement.

Speeches were made by many including Shadab Khokhar (Awaz International), Pervez, Masih, Khalid Gill, Peter Bhatti (International Christian Voice), Raheel Raza (Muslims Facing Tomorrow), and more. Prayers were led by various pastors including Pastor Sarwar Din (Evangelical Asian Church), and Psalms were sung before the crowd was led in chants seeking freedom and justice for Christians in Pakistan; led by Shadab Khokhar and Khalid Gill.

Me personally? I think you all can do better, but so far this is a good start. My thanks to the many groups involved in organizing this including Awaz International, International Christian Voice, Canadian Christian Association, Canadian Cultural Association of South Asians, Evangelical Asian Church, Cornerstone Asian Church, Prayer Stone People's Church, and more; and was attended by other groups including my own led by Vincent Samuel (Love Thy Neighbour International).

My sincere thanks also to Raheel Raza, Muslims Facing Tomorrow, the Ahmaddiyya Muslim community for their unwaivering support of our people and for showing your solidarity with us by being at this protest and the church vigils that were held prior to it.

I was able to interview many of the participants and will be sharing that video later today. Please continue to pray for the victim's families and for those who have been gravely wounded and are still in harms way.

Vincent Samuel speaking with Toronto's first and oldest serving Pakistani Christian Pastor, Pastor Sarwar Din (Evangelical Asian Church)
Vincent with Father Manni, visiting Canada from Chalk 424 Montgomery Wala (Gojra Punjab, Pakistan).

One of the protest organizers Wasim Iqbal (Evangelical Asian Church) fixing banners for the protest.

Although the protest began later than initially expected, soon there was a crowd of near two hundred gathered in front of the Pakistani Consulate in Vaughan.
Pakistani Christian leadership standing united to protest the recent atrocities against their community in Peshawar.

Vincent Samuel of Love Thy Neighbour International wholly supported the organizations and churches that united together to protest the terrorism in Peshawar.

Pakistani Christian leadership stand united against the terrorism their community face in Pakistan.

A crowd nearing two hundred individuals from five organizations and various churches across the Greater Toronto Area gathered for the protest.

The crowd sang Psalms to the Lord, crying out for justice and thanking Him for His hand on their community.

Vincent Samuel of Love Thy Neighbour International took part in the protest wholeheartedly.

Raheel Raza of Muslim's Facing Tomorrow, her husband and friend also joined to show their solidarity with their Christian brethren.

The heat did not faze protesters, as more people continued to arrive in support until the very end.
Tabassum Iqbal and Vincent Samuel speaking at the protest.

Rawal TV reported on the protest with an hour long recording of the speeches and interviews with some Pakistani Christian leadership (see previous post for video).

Organizations involved in organizing the protest included Awaz International, International Christian Voice, Canadian Christian Association, Canadian Cultural Association of South Asians, Evangelical Asian Church, Cornerstone Asian Church, Prayer Stone People's Church, and more.

The crowd chanted "FREEDOM" for the Christian's in Pakistan, led by Shadab Khokhar (Awaz International).

Baby Petra wears her black band around her head, brought by mom and dad to protest the atrocities in Peshawar.

Although the community in Canada is enormous, and it was therefore disappointing to see less than two hundred people protesting; most in the crowd felt that uniting the leadership in Canada was a step in the right direction towards uniting the Pakistani Christian community at large.

In an attempt to ease tensions, the Pakistani Consular staff hands out cold juice and pop to the crowd protesting in the heat. This gentleman spoke briefly with Vincent Samuel stating "Aapka dukh humara dukh hai." ("Your sadness is our sadness").

Raheel Raza, Muslims Facing Tomorrow sharing her thoughts on the persecution of Christians in Pakistan.

Rawal TV's Coverage of the Canadian Pakistani Christians' Protest, Toronto, ON

Peshawar: Words Are Not Enough

Being a Canadian-Pakistani Christian blogger even I am surprised at how long it has taken for me to write about Peshawar. It's been difficult for me to come up with the right words, to find inspiration from that dark place to speak to you about what has happened to my community --another fatal, sinister terrorist attack.

On the morning of Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 nearly seven hundred people attending their local church (All Saint's Church, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) forever had their lives altered by two unknown savages brazenly dressed as local policemen.

As the service ended, the joyous voices began to filter out of the entrance towards the courtyard before the massive old church, as is customary in our culture goodbyes are not said with quick words in rushed moments. We talk to each other, fellowship with each other. Some making meal-time plans for after church, invitations being given; hugs and smiles all around. Nearly seven hundred people began to file out to start their Sundays.

For many, that morning would be their last.

Suicide bombings are so common in Pakistan that it's just about become a pass-time for the foolish miscreants that are caught up in the religious war waged by extremist clerics; who've run the nation into it's own personal hell fire. This day was no different.

Approximately eighty-five people dead, and over one hundred and fifty people injured --many severely injured, many who I am afraid will not make it given the lack of decent health care in the country as it is.  Why? Because they believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, unashamed and wholly.

The images are shocking, but nothing compares to the reality. There in the stench of blood flowing freely from torn limbs, of singed flesh burst apart by the bombs; in the shock of seeing your father, your mother, brother or sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent, neighbour lying unmoving, wide-eyed with the pain they have suffered permanently etched on their face; this is what we --you and I are unable to see in photographs. The large majority of us have experienced nothing like it. No amount of imagination is ever going to be enough to prepare me for a trial like that. And it is the inimitable reality of every poor soul that has ever stood witness to terrorism as that in Peshawar.

Here in Canada we felt the wave go through our community, as it did all over Pakistan. Shock, sadness, anger, and then sadly for many --acceptance. After all, this is what happens to Christians who have the audacity to BE Christian in Pakistan, right? How foolish.

Just try and say to me right now that "persecution happens". YES it does. It has. It will continue. And for me that means I would be a fool not to fight against it. I am not a goat, and in the end I never want to have the need to say to my Saviour what I did for the least of these --He will know.

Remember family, faith without action is DEAD.

#PrayForThePersecuted #PrayForPakistan

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

URGENT: Activists Call to HALT STONING of a Man and Woman in Iran

Shabnam Assadollahi shares:

Activists Call To Halt Stoning of A Man and a Woman In Iran
According to HRANA news agency, a man and a woman, Mr. Ali Sai Bashsiz and Ms. Zahra Pour Sai have been convicted of adultery by the head of the second branch of the criminal court of the province of East Azerbaijan and have been sentenced to stoning.

The lawyer of the accused had asked for an appeal shortly after the verdict, which was rejected by Morteza Fazel, the head of Branch 7 of the Supreme Court, along with the branch’s Counselor Mr. Azizollah Razzaghi.
The accused received the definitive verdict on December 16, 2012 in Tabriz central prison and are in danger of imminent execution by stoning.

Despite official claims that stoning has been halted in Iran which includes a moratorium by Ayatollah Shahroudi the head of the Judiciary in 2002, this practice continues in Iran. According to human rights organizations, a 30 year old man was stoned in the city of Rasht as recently as May 2009; three men in the city of Mashhad in December 2008; Mr. Jafar Kiani in the village of Agche-kand in July 2007, and a couple were secretly stoned by 100 members of the Revolutionary Guards in a Cemetery in Mashhad in May 2006.

In recent years, human rights defenders have saved a number of individuals from stoning through successful campaigns both inside and outside Iran by bringing this agonizing form of capital punishment to the attention of the international community. World criticism reached a strident pitch in 2011 when reports stated that a married woman, Ms. Sakineh Ashtiani was about to be stoned on charges of having “illicit relationships” with two men. As the result of one of the most successful international campaigns Iran halted her stoning. Ms. Mokarameh Ebrahimi, Zohre and Azar Kabiri-niat have also have had their sentences suspended for now.

We, the undersigned, are very concerned about the fate of Ms. Zahra Pour Sai and Mr. Ali Sai Bashsiz who are in danger of being secretly stoned at any time. It is estimated that 12 people are awaiting stoning in Iran at the present time. We ask all the international human rights organizations and their governments to pressure the Islamic republic of Iran to put an end to this antiquated and heinous practice of stoning. 

Shadi Paveh, Ottawa
Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay, Ottawa
Shabnam Assadollahi, Ottawa
Mina Ahadi, Germany

Verses and Photography to Get You Through Your Day!

Friday, August 23, 2013

LTNI Talks: Why should you care about the Persecuted Church?

We talked to some of the amazing people that came out to our 2nd Annual Charity BBQ and Yard Sale and asked them about why THEY think it's important to care and support.

Here's what they said!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Charisma News: Pakistani Christians Angered by Sweeper Comment

It's easy nowadays for us to gasp in shock hearing the usual derogatory words. Prejudice it seems is everywhere --in fact the politically correct mainstream adds to the list of things we can't say daily. Then I read articles like this, and it reminds me that there is REAL discrimination out there. People even today think that they can box an entire population into their prejudices.

All Christians are not sweepers, just like all Muslims are not above sweeping. Break the cycle, learn to look at people by the worth of the life God has given them and not the circumstances they were born into.

Origional article found HERE
Pakistani Christians have been angered by a statement by the chief minister of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that only “non-Muslims will be recruited as sweepers.”
The province, known for short as KPK, borders Afghanistan. Its chief minister, Pervez Khattak, who is in former international cricketer Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), says that he was quoted out of context and misinterpreted.
Khattak denied that he intended anything derogatory. He said he was only responding to minorities’ concerns over access to jobs they have traditionally taken now being denied by applicants who claim that as Muslims they cannot do “unclean” jobs anyway.
Nevertheless, the Christians’ anger (sparked when a local Urdu channel, Capital TV, reported the statement) went viral and has hit national headlines because it highlights long-entrenched discriminatory practices rooted in the Indian subcontinent’s history and still faced by Pakistan’s Christians and low-caste Hindus.
Christians took Khattak’s remark to be deeply offensive, with many saying that it showed the “true” stance of PTI, whose election slogan in May was “Justice, Humanity and Self-Esteem.”
Khattak is PTI’s first-ever provincial chief minister. In May, PTI surprisingly won the militancy-hit northwestern KPK and now runs its first coalition government there.
Christians are the main minority in Pakistan, although a small number of Hindus and Sikhs also live there. Hence, Christians took the chief minister’s statement as a direct reference to them, although others add that non-Pashtun ethnic groups, such as Persian-speaking Hazaras, might also have been implicated.
As the Christian community took offense, the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Napoleon Qayyum on July 11 filed a petition for an apology in the Lahore high court. The petitioner made Khattak and the two Capital TV talk-show hosts parties to the “offensive statement.”
Albert David, chairman of the Pakistan United Christian Movement, asks how Khattak could say that Muslims are not eligible for sweepers’ jobs and that only members of the minority communities could perform this task.
“Whatever the context, it is very insensitive to say that the jobs of sweeping would only be given to minorities,” he says.
Article 27 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan says, “No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth.”

Charisma News: Pakistani Christians Ensure Police Arrest Key Murder Suspect

A father killed in front of his children, their land stolen, justice evades the Christian community once again.

It's true, often persecution of Christians is not just because of their faith --but their economic status, their inability to defend themselves, and most of all the fact that perpetrators know that they CAN get away with it.

This is just another reason why it's so important to strengthen these communities. It's not a "religion thing" it's a HUMAN RIGHTS issue.

Original article found HERE
Hundreds of Pakistani Christians braved scorching summer heat for three days and two nights in agricultural fields to ensure that police would register the alleged murder of a Punjabi agricultural smallholder in front of his two children.
Ishaq Masih, 45, a resident of a village in the Okara district, near Lahore, was shot dead on July 27, his children say, by a man named Muhammad Luqman (alias Ranjha) who, accompanied by others, had illegally occupied Masih’s land.
Fearing the police would not follow due process, as a minority Christian was involved, local Christians rushed to the scene. They then refused to bury the body for three days (contrary to Pakistani practice of burial the next day) until police had agreed to register the murder, arrest two of the suspects and conduct an autopsy.
On July 29, police promised they would arrest all other suspects (including Ranjha) within a week, but only if the Christians would bury Masih and then disperse peacefully. The protesters agreed, and Catholic Fr. James Bahadur buried Masih that night.
Police, however, failed to arrest prime suspect Ranjha by their self-imposed deadline of Aug. 5, the outcome Bahadur and others had feared. (Meanwhile, seven suspected accomplices were released on bail.)
According to Masih’s children, events leading up to his death went as follows.
On the morning of July 27, Masih learned Ranjha had illegally occupied one acre of his agricultural land and was sowing sweet corn seeds. Masih went with his 12-year-old daughter, Saima, and 15-year-old son, Irshad, to see for himself.
Saima told World Watch Monitor, “As we reached [the field], suddenly about eight men on motorbikes encircled us.”
Irshad added, “About four men started beating my father and dragged him around. They threw him on the ground, and then Ranjha fired a shot at my father, which hit the right side of his chest.”
The teenage boy said that as soon as his father had been shot, about four of the assailants led him to a nearby farmhouse.
“They beat me and pressured me to confess to the police that I killed my father, or else they would kill me,” Irshad said.
Only 12-year-old Saima was left with her father gasping in agony.
“We were carrying some food and water. When my father asked for water in his pain, I hurried to give it to him, but Ranjha slapped me and slopped the water on the ground,” she said.
While Masih was dying, Saima said one of his assailants called the emergency services and urged them to attend. She said he told them Irshad had killed his father in a family fight, after which the men had held the boy.
People had already gathered by the time the police arrived. Onlookers told the police that Ranjha had taken Irshad hostage after Ranjha shot Masih. The police then set Irshad free but did not arrest Ranjha or any of his alleged accomplices at that time.
Soon, Christians from nearby villages gathered and decided not to bury Masih’s body until the police arrested the alleged assailants.
Okara is the main district in Pakistani Punjab where the peasants’ movement for land rights is very strong and mainly organized by Christian leaders. This alleged murder of a landowner, therefore, has larger implications for that movement as well as the local Christian community.
The chairman of Anjuman Muzareen Punjab (Tenants’ Association of Punjab), Younus Iqbal, citing local political and criminal “undue influence,” alleged that the police “never arrested killers of Christians.”
In 2008, Javed Masih, a Christian politician, and in 2012 Akram Masih were both killed in Okara; in both cases, police let the suspects go with impunity, Iqbal said.
“The killing of Christians will stop when culprits will be brought to justice. So, this time we decided not to bury the dead until the suspects were arrested,” he said.
Local sources told World Watch Monitor that the local police station registered a First Information Report (FIR) after yielding to the adamant stance of the Christians. The police then conducted raids and initially arrested Muhammad Sultan (alias Kali) and Muhammad Ramzan, Ranjha’s brothers.
Deputy Superintendent Saadullah Khan told World Watch Monitor that the police had pledged in writing to arrest all the remaining suspects by Aug. 5.
Such assurances, according to Aneeqa Maria Akhtar, coordinator for The Voice, an organization working for religious freedom through litigation, are “unique” but have now proved to be false. 
Akhtar said her legal team would contest the bail petitions, to be heard on Aug. 24.
An autopsy carried out at the Okara District Headquarters Hospital confirmed that the death was caused by a wound inflicted by a “firearm weapon.”
Akhtar said that while the autopsy report agreed with the FIR, she had little hope the police would be impartial.
“If the police station will not be impartial, then we will get the investigation changed,” she said.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

LTNI's 2nd Annual Charity BBQ & Yard Sale

On August 17th, 2013 Love Thy Neighbour International (LTNI) hosted our 2nd Annual Charity BBQ and Yard Sale at 168 Bluebell Crescent in Ancaster. We would like to thank everyone that came out to join us raise funds towards our James 2:8 international development project; building a health clinic and school in an extremely impoverished Christian community of over 100thousand people in Pakistan.

The event was a huge success, raising over $1200, and raising much needed awareness within the Ancaster and Hamilton community about religious freedom and human rights around the world. Between the spicy sausages, delicious samosas, fresh baked goods, picnics on the lawn, the yard sale, and our amazing henna artist it was a day packed with fun and great fellowship.

We were pleased to be able to host our local MP David Sweet, as well as PC MPP candidates Donna Skelly (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale) and Bryan Vanderkruk (Hamilton Mountain); many thanks to them and the board members from both ridings who were able to come out and support us.
Thanks to the Scenic Woods community for their support and to Victory International Church, the entire congregation and Dr. Peter and Pastor Tracey Marshall for how they have continued to bless our ministry from the beginning!

Our board also extends a special thanks to all of our incredible volunteers including Matthew Barracosa, Joie Grace, Jason Athan, Rubin Nundy, Amandeep Chouhan, Heidi and Detlef, and Amy Lalani. Without all of you and everyone who helped to set up in the morning, run the event, and clean up in the end this wouldn’t have been possible!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Insanity in America - MSNBC talking head suggests that Life begins when parents "Feel" it does.

According to this person from MSNBC, life begins when the parents get hugely positive feelings about having a baby.

It seems like intelligence, or even a basic understanding of the topic you're about to discuss live on national television is not a requirement for being a reporter on this network. Life begins when there is life present. End of story.

Read more about this travesty here:

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24th Devotional: Think About It (Phil 4:8)

Have you ever heard that phrase: “garbage in, garbage out”? I've heard people in the health and fitness industry use it a lot to explain how junk food affects our bodies, they often say it with “you are what you eat”; but in today’s devotional I think it can be argued that you are what you think! When you put garbage into your thoughts, garbage comes out through your actions! 

It’s a fact y’all.

The way that you think ultimately always makes the difference in who you are, how you do things, your level of joy, peace and success –or your distraction and destruction. This morning as you get ready for the rest of your day let’s take a moment to heed the advice of Paul in Philippians 4:8. Think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy –because as it says in the next verse when you do this the God of peace will be with you!

And is that not who we are all called to be? People of peace, those who with God’s help, have mastered the difficult task of self-control; because they consciously regulate what they put into their minds, peace prevails in their lives.

Try it today, when your mind wanders where you know it should not –whether that’s towards something that upsets you, angers you, gives you confusion or unrest, towards anything that brings you away from God’s Will in your life –think on these things. Give the verse a repeat in your mind if you need to. You will see a shift in everything you do and how you deal with the situations and people around you, I know I have.

Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Be set apart.

The Prodigal Son Returns: A Muslim Convert Realizes the Truth of Christ

Umar Lee --a man who "grew up Christian" but "found Islam" later in life, but after becoming radicalized he comes to the realization that what he left was what he needed all along-- Jesus.

If you check out his actual YouTube page and see the videos he uploaded there it's pretty crazy, this man was in up to his eyes in negativity. Take a lesson here folks, God CAN bring your loved ones back. Don't give up, don't stop sharing the truth.

This is a very cool witness. Props to Mr. Lee for having the courage to make this.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Brother the Islamist

"Eye-opening documentary in which a man discovers that his brother has unexpectedly converted to Islam, and begins to hate the West."

If you haven't seen it yet it's definitely worth a watch, really shows us why it's important for us to know what we believe in. If you stand for nothing, you will fall for something.
"The worst of the muslims in better than the best of the kafir." 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Some Blessings To Light Up Your Day :)

I've been MIA for quite some time, so for a change I thought I'd share some blessings to brighten your day!! Here in Hamilton it's already pretty bright though --glad to see the sun shining after a LONG winter :)