Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Dangers of Pakistan: Police Join in the unHoly War Against Christian Minorities

 There are reports from all over surfacing regarding peaceful Christian protests being threatened and in some cases attacked by both police and Imam led mobs in Pakistan over the days since the Badami Bhag incident --from Youhanabad to Jhulem and now in Sahiwal, Pakistan as well, things are looking grim. Please continue to Pray for the Christian community in Pakistan.

ChristiansInPakistan reports:

In line with the recent reports, the Christian protestors received threats from the Muslim community. The Christians protestors chanted slogans such as” ”Repeal Blasphemy law”“Blasphemy law is Black Law” during their protests.

Reacting to which, the Muslim clerics made a proclamation on loudspeakers to gather masses and punish them. Some influential Islamists are said to be pressurizing the Police to file an FIR under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code; for calling the blasphemy law a “black law.”

BPCA reports: 

We have received a report which we share prima facie. It was provided by Imran Anjum and is reproduced in verbatim:

Recently Police attacked at Christian village in Sahiwal, Pakistan. The DPO has rushed there to resolve the issue police attacked near the Catholic Chruch and more than 20 policemen involved"

Shamim Mahmood has also informed us of Christians in Jhelum who have been threatened by local Imams, who responded to a protest against the Blasphmey law with a call to attack the Christian community living there. Words of hatred have been preached over the local Mosque PA systems and the Christian community is fearing the worst. Many Christians have already began to flee the city and those that choose to stay are in a state of deep fear and anxiety.

Please pray for the Christians of Pakistan ah are entering a very dark period of their existence in a country that is becoming increasingly conservative and extreme.

All photos courtesy of Christians In Pakistan; taken in Joseph Colony/Badami Bhag, Pakistan.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Badami Bhag: A Pakistani Horror Story

You think it's all happiness and joy in Christian lives?

You think it's easy being persecuted? Feeling like you're worth less than the others around you because you put your faith in the TRUTH of Jesus Christ?

Isn't it easy for you to shut your eyes and turn your mind to happier prettier more colourful things --joyful things, easy to forget the brothers and sisters you have in God's Kingdom that WEEP for the injustice in this world.


Don't turn away, don't ignore them.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Badami Bhag, Lahore: A Pakistani Horror Story.

On February 6th, 1997, thousands of Muslim radicals attacked the Christian village of Shanti Nagar. Carrying posters with the words "Kill the Christians, blasphemers against the Quran and the Prophet" they indiscriminately attacked the villagers, and destroyed 785 homes and 4 churches. Over 25,000 Christians were forced to flee and lost everything they owned.

On August 1rst, 2009, thousands of Muslim radicals attacked a Christian community in Gojra. 40 houses and a church were set ablaze, and at least 7 victims were burned alive in their homes --including one woman who refused to leave the side of her ailing husband and a young child. 18 others were injured. 

And today over 3,000 clearly possessed demonic evil people --common people; not thugs or gangsters but local paperboys, store owners, family men --among their other identity: Muslim radicals, attacked over 100 (according to some reports well over 150) homes.

March 9th, 2013 marks the date of the latest genocidal attempt of the crazies to eliminate Christianity from Pakistan. Take a look at some of these happy folks as they destroy the livelihood of hundreds of innocent families. 

Pakistan is nothing like North America, you don't move. When you have a home, that could be a home that is used for generation after generation. A business is not just for you, but your family, passed onto your children for their livelihood. There's no insurance, there's no repayment. There's no restoration companies to fix memories, photographs, or fix fire damage on anything. Pakistan has no hope for these families. None.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif condemned the violence and stated that a comittee of two senior police officials have been sent to investigate the incident.. a whole two of them. He also stated that the government will provide 200,000PKR to the victims as "compensation for the damages" --that would be just over $2000 Canadian. A Christian family's home and their entire lives are worth $2000 Canadian in Pakistan. I am seething.

So now let's go over apparently WHY this happened, I find it offensive to even bother sharing why because really there is NO excuse for it. But here's what the media's reporting:

Sawan Masih, a Christian in his mid-20s was accused by one Shahid Imran, of speaking ill of the prophet of Islam. He was arrested once the clearly false allegations against him were brought forward but that wasn't enough. A riled up mob led by Shafiq Ahmen, wanted the police to hand him over to them. They didn't find him but did assault his 65-year-old father Chaman Masih, and burn his house down before going on to loot and destroy some shops --and then got really excited and burn down hundreds of other people's homes too. Things kept getting worse after the Muslim Friday prayers as groups from the mosques around and in other areas started collecting to claim justice against the infidel blasphemers.

Masih states that he and his accusers got into an argument while they were drinking, at which point the drunk fools decided to publicly accuse him of blasphemy as comeuppance for having the audacity to talk back to them. If convicted, Masih faces the death penalty.

Please pray for the victims of this disgusting violence, and pray for the perpetrators. We may not get even a tenth of them into a jail cell talk about bring them to justice, but God is watching. He will not remain silent forever.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

More News On Pakistan's Prejudiced School Curriculum

Government-sanctioned textbooks across Pakistan contain numerous examples of anti-minority and anti-Western language, prompting activists to encourage teachers to stop using them.

By Taha Siddiqui, Correspondent / February 28, 2013
This file photo shows a boy looking out of a classroom while attending school in Mingora, located in Pakistan's Swat Valley, 161 miles northwest of Islamabad.
Faisal Mahmood/REUTERS/File
In a public school located just outside the capital, a classroom of ninth-graders follows quietly along in their history textbooks as their teacher reads out loud about what happened shortly after the creation of Pakistan in 1947:
“Caravans that were on the way to Pakistan were attacked by Hindus and Sikhs. Not a single Muslim was left alive in trains coming to Pakistan.”
As the magnitude of the sentence registers with the students, the phrase “No Muslim was left alive!” echoes around the classroom from whispered lips. Students are clearly engaged with the subject and clearly disturbed with what history they have just learned.
The only problem? That description in the students' books is highly misleading.
Though the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 was indeed one of massive violence, Mubarak Ali, who has written several books on India-Pakistan history, says this is a one-sided account of events and an exaggerated version of the truth.  In fact, it was the Pakistani side where the communal riots started, and in reaction, Indians responded, he says, adding: "But very few trains were attacked. And many more made it alive, which is not taught."
Dr. Ali says that such content should be expunged from school books, much as India has managed to do.
"Instead of teaching Pakistani youth that Hindus from India are to be blamed for everything, textbooks should critically look at this communal violence, which can actually be traced to the way both Muslims and Hindus responded to British imperialism before the independence. We should not glorify this division but rather criticize it, because Muslims and Hindus coexisted peacefully for centuries before," he says.  
Across Pakistan, government-sanctioned school textbooks contain blatantly anti-religious-minority, anti-Western material. And many are worried the curriculum  is fueling intolerance, especially among youths – leading to violent behavior and even sympathy for the Taliban.
“Such textbooks try to create and define Pakistani nationalism in a very narrow sense. It tries to define it in term of an Islamic identity,” says Abdul Hameed Nayyar, a well-known historian, activist, and former physicist who is part of a Lahore-based campaign to encourage teachers around the country to raise awareness about this issue by calling it “the curriculum of hatred” and encouraging teachers to stop using the textbooks.
After the teacher finishes reading, he asks another student to continue reading aloud from the next chapter, which focuses on why Pakistan came into existence: "Narrow-mindedness of the Hindus and the conspiracies of whites led to the call of this Islamic country, Pakistan.”
When asked later about his opinion of Hindus and Christians, the student reiterates what his textbook said. “I think Hindus are against Pakistan, against Islam. Hindus are like that. And even the British and the non-Muslims – they still oppose Pakistan,” he adds.
That type of reaction is a problem, say activists, who note that school history texts are used by impressionable children and should be based in fact, not opinion, as students form their own ideas about the world. “These books try to show Pakistan and Muslims are victims of all kinds of conspiracy, from lots of people from many countries, which results in making people very paranoid,” says Mr. Nayyar. “And they become infused with narrowmindedness,” which can lead to extremism, he adds.

'The subtle subversion'

Each province has its own textbook board, which reviews and approves textbooks for use in both public and private schools.
The current curriculum came into use following the end of colonial rule and bitter break with India, which was considered an enemy.  Later, during the rule of Gen. Zial ul-Haq, the curriculum was further radicalized, introducing the Soviet war in Afghanistan as “a new front for jihad.” Haq’s vision was to Islamize Pakistan, inspired by Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islam.
Nayyar, who co-wrote a 2003 study called “The Subtle Subversion” that points out historical faults in textbooks and how the inaccuracies affect children, has been struggling for more than a decade to change them. The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), a minority rights organization, estimates that nearly every school in Pakistan uses the textbooks.
“During the early years of Musharraf [Pakistan’s last military dictator] rule, I was asked by the government to give in my recommendations to improve the curriculum, which were incorporated in the syllabus,” says Nayyar.
One of the changes he suggested and that was made was to redefine the word “jihad” in textbooks. Though the textbooks have it as “waging a holy war against infidels,” the literal meaning of the word means “struggle,” or “striving,” a meaning, he says, that deserves a much broader definition. He proposed that textbooks should explain that the term should refer to “fighting evils inside oneself.”
But his changes were short-lived.
Pressured by religious parties from whom he was seeking political support, Musharraf restored the original curriculum a few months later.

Rejuvenated efforts

But the NCJP approached Nayyar recently, knowing he had led the fight to modernize Pakistan’s textbooks for years.
Now Nayyar and the NCJP have come up with an updated analysis of Pakistan’s curriculum in both public and private schools by detailing lessons from the books sentence by sentence, highlighting content that is biased against ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan, as well as hypernationalism against India and the West.
In many chapters outlined by NCJP, modern Hindus are referred to as “gangsters” and Christians are referred to as “violent crusaders.”
According to the report, the hate content in textbooks has more than doubled since the last time they were revised. For example, some 30 Grade 5 to 10 textbooks published in Punjab,  examined in 2009, were found to have 12 instances of biased material that could be considered “hate content.”  In 2012, the textbooks underwent a curriculum revision. After another review, the total number of quantifiable instances of questionable or factually incorrect material went up to 33, according to Peter Jacob, the study's author.

Curriculum authorities respond

When Pakistan’s Federal Textbook Board – a government body that authorizes and reviews content published in schoolbooks – was contacted, at first they denied that there was such content.
When a Monitor correspondent confronted them with the latest report by NCJP, Riaz Ahmad, head of the government curriculum committee, promised to look into it.
“We try our best to check such content, but since our society belongs to religious people, it is tough to bring [such] changes,” Dr. Ahmad says, adding that the curriculum has to respect the society it is being taught in.
In the meantime, some schools have begun to write their own textbooks. One such private school, Indus Valley School of Learning, based in Rawalpindi, has come up with its own curriculum. It has yet to find a publisher, which makes education here expensive, but appears to be promoting understanding among the youths studying here.
Yasmeen Ashraf, the owner and principal of the school, says, “ The extremism that we have seen in Pakistan can be beaten through the school, through the education system by properly developing curriculum."

Disabled Christian Man Shot in Pakistan by Hardline Muslims

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

Christians face uncertain future in heavily Islamic Pakistan.
Christians face uncertain future in heavily Islamic Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)-- A Christian disabled man in Pakistan's Punjab province "cries out for justice" after he was shot and stabbed by influential Muslims, his supporters told BosNewsLife Wednesday, February 27.

Khalid Masih, 35, was attacked February 6 in the district of Faisalabad, but local authorities and police refused to investigate the case "as he is a Christian", said Pakistani rights groups Masihi Foundation and Life for All.

Rights activists claimed the publicly identified suspects Irshad Gujjar and his cousin Aslam Gujjar took the Christian man "forcefully" to an area, several miles outside his district village.

They then "dragged him from the car and stabbed him several times with a knife, injuring his hands and lips [and also] shot his knee caps twice," the rights groups explained in a statement.

Nearby farmers, who heard the shots, rushed to the scene and brought the abandoned, injured, man to Civil Hospital in Faisalabad, Christians said.


Though he was released from hospital following successful treatment, Masih will require medical attention for some time, according to Christians familiar with the case.

Muslim anger over his Christian faith was not the only reason why he was attacked, investigators suggested.

Local Muslims were reportedly also furious that he watched a controversial deal between Babar Masih and Irshad Gujjar, a local business man.

On February 2 the Christian apparently saw that Gujjar exchanged his horse for Babar Masih's scooter, with both men signing a document to make it official.

Yet, "the next day Irshad Gujjar returned furious and claimed that the horse was worth more than Babar Masih's the scooter, so he demanded more money," the rights groups said.


Unable to find him, Gujjar instead threatened the Christian man and threw away his crunches and later returned for a more violent attack,  according to rights investigators.

BosNewsLife wasn't able to reach the suspects involved in the alleged violence. Local police reportedly refused to register the case, telling Masih to "keep quiet about the matter" because he "is a Christian, a minority, who doesn’t have a say in anything."

The "Gujjars are influential Muslims. Masih kept on demanding justice from the authorities, but no one heard his cry. His assailants are at large and unpunished," the rights groups told BosNewsLife.

The groups said they would go to court to demand a criminal investigation, the detention of "the culprits" and "an inquiry against the [police] officers for negligence to duty for not registering a case."

This is no isolated incident. "Punjab is a hub of religious discrimination, thousands of [Christians like] Khalid Masih are discriminated on a daily basis" in the what is Pakistan's most populous province, added the Masihi Foundation and Life for All.

"Many cases go unreported. It is time to keep a check on the growing religious intolerance," the rights groups said about the situation of minority Christians in this heavily Islamic nation.

Female Christian Servant Tortured by Police on Allegation of Theft

Lahore, March 1, 2013. 

A Christian has been implicated in a theft case for allegedly stealing from a family that she had been a servant for, for over eight years. The accusers have alleged the stolen amount to approximate 550,000 PKR ($5758 CAN). 

On 13 February 2013, a theft complaint was filed against Arshad Bibi (age 35), domestic servant of a wealthy Muslim family, at the police station of Muslim Town, Lahore (FIR No.52/13 under section 380 PPC) by the master of the house Lady Zahida Perveen. Perveen stated that items including jewelry had been stolen from a cabinet which was locked. She told police that she believed it was her female servant, a Christian woman who stole the items. 

Arshad BiBi was taken into custody and told LEAD (a Christian relief organization) that the police had abused and tortured her and forced her into a confession. She denied ever having stolen anything from the accuser.

The police did not complete any investigation and registered an FIR without any evidence, based on the Muslim woman's word.

On 25 February 2013, Arshad Bibi was miraculously released on bail when the police was pressured by LEAD for having no evidence against her. LEAD and Arshad Bibi's family are hoping that her trial will provide some justice to this poor woman.

Christian Murdered for Defending Faith

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – Roshan Masih, a 45 year old Christian, was shot dead after an argument over religion in Lahore, capital of Punjab Province. Fides learned that the episode, on 16 February, brought bewilderment and grief ito the local Christian community : it was an act of murder in cold blood: Roshan’s defence of his Christian beliefs compared to Muslim beliefs, may have been considered ‘blasphemous’. Roshan Masih had converted from Hinduism to Christianity and about 20 ago settled in Lahore. Days before the murder he had a heated argument over religion with a local Muslim, Sohail Akhtar. The latter waited for his opportunity, and, on 16 February, seeing Roshan sitting outside a shop run by Sadiq Masih, another Christian, Sohail Akhtar, armed with a rifle, shot him dead there and then. The case was reported to the “Legal Evangelical Association Development” (LEAD), which in turn filed an official First Information Report with the police, accusing Sohail Akhtar of premeditated homicide. The assassin was arrested and taken into custody by the local police which has undertaken a serious investigation, after which the case will probably pass to the Legal Courts. “This is truly a tragedy: an innocent man is slain for defending his faith in a simple argument. The episode is emblematic of the conditions of Pakistani Christians. The authorities have a duty to guarantee the basic rights of Christian minorities”, Fides was told by lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, of LEAD, the organization which defends and promotes Pakistan’s religious minority groups. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/2/2013)