Persecuted Pakistan Christian Sakharov Prize Nominee


John R. Houk

© September 19, 2017

 

Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian that has been languishing in a Pakistani jail for a better of a decade wondering if the Pakistan government will ever proceed on the death sentence passed against her for breaking the anti-religious freedom Blasphemy Law.

 

Asia has been nominated for a prestigious award from the EU that I pray places more pressure on the Pakistan government to release her with the ability of Asia Bibi and family to receive political asylum in a more civilized nation. The award is called the Sakharov Prize.

 

About the Sakharov Prize:

 

The European Parliament also supports human rights through the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, established in 1988.  The prize is awarded to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe, drawing attention to human rights violations as well as supporting the laureates and their cause. (The European Parliament supports human rights; European Parliament)

 

The nominees were announced on September 14, 2017. Here is the nominee list which Asia Bibi is listed first:

 

The nominees for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought are:

Asia Bibi (Aasiya Noreen), a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 under the country´s blasphemy law. Bibi is on a death row for almost seven years and her appeal to the supreme court has been postponed to an undetermined date. She was nominated by ECR.

Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, a human rights defender from Guatemala. She is a member from the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples (CPK), an organisation that fights to protect natural resources and human rights from the expansion of mining, logging, hydroelectric and agro-industry sectors in the territory and has been subject to threats. She was nominated by Greens/EFA.

Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, co-chairs of the pro-kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey arrested in November 2016 on terrorism charges after their parliamentary immunity was lifted. They were nominated by GUE/NGL.

Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: National Assembly (Julio Borges) and all political prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González. The situation in Venezuela has been seriously deteriorating as regards democracy, human rights and socio-economy, in a climate of growing political and social instability. Nominated by EPP and ALDE. Political prisoners in Venezuela as well as the democratic opposition in Venezuela were also shortlisted for the Sakharov Prize in 2015.

Dawit Isaak, a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer, who was arrested in 2001 by the Eritrean authorities during a political crackdown. He has been imprisoned without a trial since and was last seen in 2005. Isaak was Sakharov finalist in 2009. He was nominated by S&D as well as by Wikström and 46 other MEPs.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a Burundian human rights activist and founder of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH). He was detained in 2014, escaped an assassination attempt in 2015 and is now living in Belgium. He was nominated by EFDD. (Sakharov Prize 2017: discover the nominees; EU affairs; 9/14/17 18:05)

 

 

In case you have been out of the loop or have forgotten the idiotic reason for Asia’s death sentence, here is an excerpt from a past post which was dated 7/25/15:

 

The women said in their charge that Bibi asked “My Christ died for me, what did Muhammad do for you?” — a statement considered blasphemous in the South Asian country. (Bold Text Mine Christian Post)

 

 

Asia life behind bars has not been a bowl of strawberries and cream. Check out this excerpt from a New York Post article in 2013 that encouraged people to buy Asia’s memoir to help her now persecuted family and to pay Pakistan lawyers to working legal issues for an appeal:

 

To her neighbors, Aasiya Noreen “Asia” Bibi, a poor mother of five in the tiny village of Ittan Wali in central Pakistan, was guilty — guilty of being Christian in a nation that is 97% Muslim. For four years she has languished in a prison cell for this, facing death by hanging.

Her new memoir, “Blasphemy,” was dictated to her husband from jail, who relayed it to French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet. Fifty percent of the proceeds the book will go to support Bibi and her family. Tollet says the situation is dire. 

 Embarrassed by Bibi’s case but still refusing to release her because of angry protests by extremists, the Pakistan government has transferred her to a more remote prison, hoping the 42-year-old dies quietly behind bars, perhaps poisoned by another inmate. Already two government officials who have spoken out on her behalf have been murdered, including Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, who was killed by the Taliban. In this excerpt, Bibi explains the simple “transgression” that led to her plight.

 

 

 I want the whole world to know that I’m going to be hanged for helping my neighbor. I’m guilty of having shown someone sympathy. What did I do wrong? I drank water from a well belonging to Muslim women, using “their” cup, in the burning heat of the midday sun.

 I, Asia Bibi, have been sentenced to death because I was thirsty. I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.

 That day, June 14, 2009, is imprinted on my memory. I can still see every detail.

 That morning I got up earlier than usual, to take part in the big falsa-berry harvest. I’d been told about it by Farah, our lovely local shopkeeper. “Why don’t you go falsa picking tomorrow in that field just outside the village? You know the one; it belongs to the Nadeems, the rich family who live in Lahore. The pay is 250 rupees.”

When I got to the field, around 15 women were already at work, picking away, their backs hidden by the tall bushes. It was going to be a physically exhausting day in such heat, but I needed those 250 rupees.

A hard-faced woman dressed in clothes that had been mended many times came over to me with an old yellow bowl.

 “If you fill the bowl you get 250 rupees,” she said without really looking at me.

 I looked at the huge bowl and thought I would never finish before sunset. Looking at the other women’s bowls, I also realized mine was much bigger. They were reminding me that I’m a Christian.

 The sun was beating down, and by midday it was like working in an oven. …

 But since the river was nowhere near, I freed myself from my bushes and walked over to the nearby well. Already I could sense the coolness rising up from the depths.

 I pull up a bucketful of water and dip in the old metal cup resting on the side of the well. The cool water is all I can think of. I gulp it down and I feel better; I pull myself together.

 Then I start to hear muttering. I pay no attention and fill the cup again, this time holding it out to a woman next to me who looks like she’s in pain. She smiles and reaches out . . . At exactly the moment Musarat pokes her ferrety nose out from the bush, her eyes full of hate:

 “Don’t drink that water, it’s haram!”

 Musarat addresses all the pickers, who have suddenly stopped work at the sound of the word “haram,” the Islamic term for anything forbidden by God.

 “Listen, all of you, this Christian has dirtied the water in the well by drinking from our cup and dipping it back several times. Now the water is unclean and we can’t drink it! Because of her!”

 It’s so unfair that for once I decide to defend myself and stand up to the old witch.

“I think Jesus would see if differently from Mohammed.”

 Musarat is furious. “How dare you think for the Prophet, you filthy animal!”

… (NY Post – 8/25/13 4:00am)

(Asia Bibi Gets Execution Stay – Now Push for Political Asylum; By John R. Houk; SlantRight 2.0; 7/25/15)

 

It’s been over two years since I posted the original excerpt above. As far as I know, NOTHING HAS CHANGED! Asia Bibi (or her less well-known name – Aasiya Noreen) is still languishing in jail.

 

The closest update I have found is from an online French Catholic publication called Aleteia which also publishes in English:

 

Condemned to death in 2009 for insulting Islam, the Pakistani Catholic is still awaiting her final verdict.

 

On June 14, 2009, Asia Bibi was thrown into jail. A year later she was sentenced to death for blasphemy, and since 2013, after two transfers, she has been languishing in one of the three windowless cells on death row in the southern province of Multan in the Punjab Penitentiary. A year after the Supreme Court of Pakistan postponed her appeal amid death threats by 150 muftis (Muslim legal experts) against anyone who would assist “blasphemers,” the case has not progressed by one iota. On August 30, Asia Bibi had spent 3,000 days in prison.

 

Her family lives underground. The only thing we know comes from her lawyer, the Muslim Saif ul Malook, who has visited her in recent months. He says she is doing well and is still hoping for her release. On the other hand, the Supreme Court seems to have forgotten the case, and has still not decided whether to confirm her death sentence or to release her.

 

During those 3,000 days Asia Bibi has never stopped praying and asking for prayers. As a tribute to this Christian who has become an icon for all those who struggle in Pakistan and the world against all violence in the name of religion, this is the prayer she composed last year on the occasion of the Easter celebrations, and which accompanies her in her detention:

 

Resurrected Lord, allow your daughter Asia to rise again with you. Break my chains, make my heart free and go beyond these bars, and accompany my soul so that it is close to those who are dear to me, and that it remains always near you. Do not abandon me in the day of trouble, do not deprive me of your presence. You who have suffered torture and the cross, alleviate my suffering. Hold me near you, Lord Jesus. On the day of your resurrection, Jesus, I want to pray for my enemies, for those who hurt me. I pray for them and I beg you to forgive them for the harm they have done me. I ask you, Lord, to remove all obstacles so that I may obtain the blessing of freedom. I ask you to protect me and protect my family.

 

After eight years of suffering, anguish and disappointed hopes, let us keep up our prayers and our actions of support for her, because through her we support all the persecuted Christians in their sacrifices. (Asia Bibi has spent more than 3,000 days in prison for blasphemy; By Isabelle Cousturie; Aleteia; 9/18/17)

 

The organization Prisoner Profile has a post tracking Asia Bibi’s Pakistan legal system difficulties/persecution with the dates 6/2009 through 5/2017.

 

Dan Wooding the Chief Editor of Assist News Service (ANS) sent the email alert notifying me of Asia Bibi’s Sakharov Prize nomination. Below is my cross post of that ANS article.

 

JRH 9/19/17

Please Support NCCR

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ASIA BIBI NOMINATED FOR EU’S PRESTIGIOUS SAKHAROV PRIZE

 

By Dan Wooding – Founder of ASSIST News Service 

September 17, 2017 23:58

Assist News Service

 

Free Persecuted Asia Bibi

 

Free Asia Bibi campaign

www.voiceofthepersecuted.org

 

PAKISTAN (ANS – September 17, 2017) — Pakistan’s most famous Christian prisoner, Asia Bibi, has been nominated for the European Union’s high-status award, the Sakharov Prize.

 

Ms. Bibi, a mother-of-five, who is currently behind the bars waiting for a hearing of her appeal against capital punishment, was nominated by a group of European legislators.

 

According to Madeeha Bakhsh, writing for Christians in Pakistan (https://www.christiansinpakistan.com/), “Asia has been nominated for ‘Freedom of Thought’ by the legislators who form an influential group European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR). This European Conservatives and Reformists Group is the third largest group in the European Parliament,” she wrote. “The European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), nominated Asia Bibi late on Wednesday, September 13.”

 

Sakharov on Time Mag Cover

 

Peter van Dalen, a Dutch European parliamentarian and member of ECR’s faction, ChristenUnion-SGP, said: “Her case is a symbol for others hurt in their freedom of expression and especially freedom of religion. It is good that my colleagues in the ECR and I continue to defend the rights of [Asia] Bibi and many others.”

 

Members of the entire European Parliament will soon be casting their votes in favor of their favorite candidate.

 

“If a majority casts [their] votes in favor of Asia Bibi; she could win the €50,000 ($59,670 USD) award for the Sakharov Prize, which is considered Europe’s most prestigious human rights award,” said Madeeha Bakhsh. “This award is named after Andrei Sakharov, a scientist and dissident hailing from the Soviet era.”

 

Sakharov died on December 14, 1989, and the award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg, France, on December 10.

 

Asia Bibi, a berry picker, was accused of committing blasphemy by her co-workers back in 2009. Later on, in 2010, a court in the Punjab district of Nankana found her guilty and she was sentenced to death by hanging, a verdict later challenged and upheld by a two-member bench of Lahore High Court in 2014.

 

Her appeal case is currently pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

 

“Supposedly her final appeal hearing on October 13, 2016, was meant to wind up the most high profile case of the country, however, it was delayed as one of the judges refused to be a part of the three member bench that was to hear the case,” added Bakhsh.

 

Salman Taseer meeting with Asia Bibi

 

She said that on the date of the hearing, Justice Iqbal Hameed ur Rehman, one of the three judges due to hear Asia Bibi’s appeal case, suddenly withdrew saying, “I was a part of the bench that was hearing the case of Salmaan Taseer, and this case is related to that.”

 

Asia Bibi’s husband (Ashiq Masih) and family

 

The judge was referring to the case of the then governor of Punjab, who was assassinated on January 4, 2011, at the Kohsar Market in Islamabad by his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, who disagreed with Taseer’s opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law and his support for Asia Bibi. Qadri was later sentenced to death by a Pakistani Anti-Terrorist court at Islamabad for murdering Taseer, and was executed on February 29, 2016.

 

Consequently, the hearing was adjourned and Ms. Bibi is still on death row in her lonely prison cell.

 

Note: Christians in Pakistan is a non-profit organization and a leading source of news related to Pakistani Christians. They can be contacted by e-mail at: ChristiansinPak@gmail.com.

 

Photo captions: 1) Asia Bibi. 2) Andrei Sakharov on the cover of Time magazine. 3) Salmaan Taseer meeting with Asia Bibi after her arrest. Many believe that this meeting cost him his life. 4) Ashiq Masih, the husband of Asia Bibi with some of the children. 5) Dan Wooding

 

About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist, who was born in Nigeria, West Africa, of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, who then worked with the Sudan Interior Mission, now known as SIM. Dan now lives in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for some 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder/president of the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is also the author of numerous books. He has a radio show and two television programs, all based in Southern California.

______________

Persecuted Pakistan Christian Sakharov Prize Nominee

John R. Houk

© September 19, 2017

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ASIA BIBI NOMINATED FOR EU’S PRESTIGIOUS SAKHAROV PRIZE

 

** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please tell your friends and colleagues that they can receive a complimentary subscription to ANS by going to the above website and signing up there.

 

PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609

 

About ANS, excerpted from a Hub Pages post linked from ANS:

 

The ASSIST news site gives you access to stories that are of interest to Christians worldwide, some of them would never be told without Dan Wooding’s help.  

 

Dan interviews people whether famous or intriguing every day.  He writes their stories, shares them on international radio shows, and videos as well.

 

If you have a heart for missions and helping Christians around the world, get to know Dan Wooding and his work at ASSIST Ministries today.

 

Minorities Rights Journalist attacked in Pakistan


Intro to ‘Minorities Rights Journalist attacked in Pakistan

Edited by John R. Houk

By Shamim Mahmood

 

Shamim Mahmood (Masih) is a frequent contributor to this blog reporting on the Islamic Supremacist persecution of Christians in Pakistan. The plight of Christians in Muslim dominated areas of the world tend to get more publicity of Egyptian Muslims persecuting Egyptian Coptic Christians and the mega-brutality of Daesh (ISIS) murdering or enslaving Christians in the Syria/Iraq part of the Muslim world. Yet, Pakistan brutalizes Christians on a near state sanctioned level with the Blasphemy Law is often used as a method of Muslim/Christian retribution more than a blasphemy (according to Sharia Not Free Speech) actually occurring.

 

Knowing that Shamim’s journalism takes place in a hostile situation, I often post his requests for support from Western sources. To those of you that use Pay Pal for such contributions, it will not work in Pakistan. You will have to use a direct money transfer from your bank to Shamim’s bank. The least expensive method I have found is using Western Union for a wire transfer of money. Western Union will exchange your nation’s currency into Pakistani Rupees for you.

 

Here is the standard info that I share with readers that links to Western Union with Shamim’s info for the wire transfer:

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. First contact Shamim in case he has found an easy way to donate. I like to use Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination of Islamabad (Contact Shamim in case he has changed cities). Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

Shamim’s submission below brings to reality the danger he faces as a Human Rights Activist and Christian journalist in Pakistan. If my meager efforts failed to interest you in being a supporter of Shamim Mahmood (Masih) at least consider a one-time contribution and share Shamim’s need with your friends and family.

 

JRH 7/26/17

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Minorities Rights Journalist attacked in Pakistan

 

By Shamim Mahmood

Sent 7/26/2017 5:21 AM

 

Shamim Mahmood (Masih)

 

Dear Friends, Greetings, I hope this email will find you in your best health and spirit. I am writing this email with a heavy heart and in an alarming situation prevailing around. I hope many of you may be aware of that since 2010, I am working as a journalist and as long as I fulfillll my official responsibilities, I’ve been writing on persecution and minorities’ rights in Pakistan. Especially after Gojra incident, when eight Christian family members were burnt alive including two children and dozens of the houses were set ablaze on blasphemy allegation. Since then I devotedly writing against unlawful killings of the Christians especially in the Punjab province and persecutions.

 

Living in Pakistan as member from the minority segment, is too hard and it became more difficult when you raise voice for your rights. But living in the same society I keep writing on and facing problems on a routine basis. Now this episode of attack has shaken me and my family. Let me tell you the story.

 

On Saturday late evening, when I was travelling towards my house in my car, unknown assailants opened fire on me that hit the car. The bullets hit my car but I managed to escape. Earlier I was being beaten for writing on minorities issues after Youhanabad twin Churches bomb attack in 2015, by two unknown motorcyclist as a result my left arm was fractured and motorbike damaged.

 

It was about 2130 hours, on July 22, when I was on the way back to my home on my car Suzuki Bleno, while driving the nearby street to my house, I noticed that something hit hard on car, I was shocked and scared and managed to escape. On reaching the house, I found the dent of bullet fired on the car”. “I was as scared as it was first time that somebody attacked me and soon after parking the car and went inside the house. Next morning, I took one of my colleagues and a relative with me visit the nearby police station and filed an application narrating the whole episode. But no FIR was registered, he added.

 

Suzuki Bleno and close-up of bullet dent

 

After writing a story “Qadri Supporters have becomepolitical power, claimed Sheikh Rasheed” [Link provided by Shamim. Updated 7/27/17] I received threatening phone calls. But thought of usual matter as it is routine matter for me receiving such type of phone calls for writing on minorities’ issues and rights as Pakistani citizen.

 

It is pertinent to mention here that it is not the first threat as journalist I am facing. There are number of threatening phone calls and even harsh words exchanged with some religious extremists which has become a routine matter for writing on rights of the minorities, especially Christians. But the latest episode is unique which made my whole family worried as my wife is asking me to leave this profession, which I cannot at any cost. Though this incident has put me and my family under constant threat but I believe that God wants me to write for His people even if under stress and strain. God will take care of it.

 

I know that my credibility and objectivity rest on my ability to be proactive in highlighting issues revolving religion and victimization of religious minorities.  What has alarmed us is the fact that authorities do not extend any help or support.

 

After this incident, I planned to shift my rented house as the landlord advised me to evacuate the house. Since I am paying Rs. 21000/month in house rent, to hire a new house requires to pay at least three months advance and some other shifting expenses required to settle down at new place. At the same time, I need to look for a new school for my children studying in Grade 10, grade 6 and grade 2. My oldest son has recently passed his Secondary School Examination and is looking for college admission.

 

I am poor but passionate Christian journalist and hardly making the both ends meet, it would be hard to meet the expenses required. In this situation, if any of you can support me to shift to another house and schooling of my children. I would be highly grateful to your contribution.

 

The total cost required is approximately $2000/ U.S., including shifting and schooling of the children. If you would like to contribute please note down the bank details or you can send your contribution through Western Union.

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. First contact Shamim in case he has found an easy way to donate. I like to use Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination of Islamabad (Contact Shamim in case he has changed cities). Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

Bank-to-Bank Money Transfer

 

Account Name: SHAMIM MASIH, Account Number:  PK72ABPA0010025935800015

ABPAPKKA (Swift code)

Allied Bank Ltd. Sitara Market, Sector G-7 Markaz, Islamabad

Contact Number. +92 300 642 4560

 

Yours in Jesus,

 

Shamim Masih

_________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All source links are by the Editor

 

© Shamim Mahmood (Masih)

 

Blasphemy Law is Revenge Instrument in Pakistan


John R. Houk

© July 19, 2017

 

American 1st Amendment Truth is a Death Sentence in Pakistan

 

And yet another Pakistani Christian is being accused of blaspheming the false-prophet Muhammad as a tool of revenge in a Muslim/Christian argument.

 

Christians in Pakistan are treated as subhuman class of dirt even being denied proper avenues of education. Why? Because Muslims are taught in their revered writings – Quran, Hadith and Sira/Sunnah – that Muslims are superior are to ALL non-Muslims and those non-Muslims should be denigrated for refusing to believe in Islam.

 

Needless to say, equal justice for all people is something that is extremely absent in Islamic dominated societies.

 

The lack of justice and equal rights are particularly apparent in Pakistan’s society when Christians risk voicing their opinion that Christ is the Son of God and Muhammad is a false-prophet. This will get you beaten or killed by a Muslim mob or escaping public Muslim retribution, put in jail being charged with the capital crime of blasphemy.

 

Yet burning a Church, torching a cross or destroying a Holy Bible will not be treated as a crime in Pakistan.

 

The Pakistani Christian Shahzad Masih is finding this hatred of Christians on a first-hand basis.

 

I was first made aware of Shahzad Masih’s plight in an email alert from Assist News. I discovered greater details from World Watch Monitor (WWM) on Shahzad’s persecution. Some of the details differ. For example, Assist News has Shahzad as age 17 and WWM lists him as age 16. Assist News writes from the perspective of the mother listed as Hina Shafaqat. WWM uses the father’s perspective who is listed Shafaqat implying the last name of Masih. One should realize among Pakistani Christians “Masih” is a Christian honorific.

 

I am cross posting Assist News first for getting the story to me and then the WWM article which has better details.

 

JRH 7/19/17

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ISLAMISTS IN PAKISTAN ACCUSE CHRISTIAN MINOR OF BLASPHEMING ISLAM’S PROPHET

 

By Dan Wooding

July 19, 2017 03:39

Assist News

 

Shahzad Masih – Morning Star News courtesy of family

No motive given for alleged comment.

 

LAHOREPAKISTAN (ANS — July 18, 2017) – A member of an Islamic extremist group in Pakistan has accused a Christian minor of blasphemy after the boy had an argument with a Muslim, sources said.

 

Hina Shafaqat, mother of 17-year-old Shahzad Masih, told Morning Star News (http://morningstarnews.org) that her son had been wrongly implicated in the case by a Muslim colleague with whom he had a quarrel 10 days ago, and the family has not been able to locate him since his arrest.

 

Working as a sweeper at Shamim Riaz Hospital in Dinga town, Gujrat District, Punjab Province for the past nine months, Masih had an altercation with hospital pharmacy employee Ishtiaq Ahmed Jalali, she said. A senior medical officer at the hospital intervened and calmed the quarrel, but “Jalali nurtured a grudge against my son and has now plotted this case against him to settle the score,” she said.

 

“I’ve raised Shahzad as a devout Roman Catholic – I’ve never taught my children to hate people belonging to other faiths, which is why I am sure that my son is being wrongly accused of blasphemy,” she said. “The police arrested my son on Friday [July 14], and since then we have been trying to locate his whereabouts.”

 

Neither the Dinga police nor the Kharian police said they have him in their custody, she said.

 

“We have searched so many police stations but have failed to trace him,” she said, adding that police were torturing the family mentally by not disclosing her son’s location or revealing his well-being.

 

According to the Pakistan correspondent for Morning Star News, Masih, the oldest of five children, is the family breadwinner along with his father, a daily wage mason. Shahzad Masih went to school until grade four, after which his family could not afford to further education.

 

“We, and the family of my brother-in-law Rafaqat, had to relocate to a relative’s house on Friday [July 14] to avoid any backlash from the local Muslims, who are being instigated by an Islamist outfit,” she said.

 

More than 30 other Christian families also live in Mohalla Railway Station of Dinga town.

 

Dinga Police Station House Officer (SHO) Inspector Shahbaz Ahmad dodged questions about facts of the case, telling Morning Star News only, “The accused has committed blasphemy.”

 

Morning Star News stated that the police official did note that a First Information Report (FIR No. 273/17) was registered against Masih under Section 295-C, which calls for death or life imprisonment to those found guilty of blaspheming against Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

 

According to the FIR, complainant Nadeem Ahmed – president of the Dinga chapter of Islamist outfit Tehreek Tahafuz-e-Islam Pakistan – alleged that he was sitting in his electronic appliances shop when Ishtiaq Ahmed Jalali came and informed him that Masih had uttered derogatory remarks against Muhammad. Jalali is also a member of Tehreek Tahafuz-e-Islam Pakistan.

 

“Upon hearing this, we sent a boy to Shahzad Masih’s home and asked him to come to the Popular Mobile Shop for clearing the issue,” Ahmed alleged in the FIR. “When Masih came there, we asked him about the accusation, to which he again started abusing and cursing the Holy Prophet. Some people who had gathered at the shop by then also witnessed the blasphemy done by Masih.”

 

Ahmed alleged that the Christian boy “managed to escape from the shop.”

 

Inspector Ahmad declined to comment on why he thought Masih had committed blasphemy or if he had admitted to it.

 

“You know very well I cannot repeat the blasphemous words,” he said, avoiding questions as to what could have motivated the Christian to do such a thing. He also did not offer any plausible explanation as to how Masih was able to flee from the scene in the presence of a large number of upset Muslims.

 

“Talk to the SP, because we just registered the case and forwarded it to him for further action,” he said before putting down the phone.

 

Repeated attempts to reach Superintendent of Police (SP) Maaz Zafar failed as his telephone operator said that the senior official was busy and would return the call later. At this writing, however, Zafar had not contacted Morning Star News.

 

Attorneys Riaz Anjum and Kashif Naimat from the Pakistan Center for Law and Justice (PCLJ) told Morning Star News from Dinga that they had offered legal and financial assistance to Shahzad Masih’s family as he was one of the main providers of income for the family, and his arrest had badly degraded their finances.

 

“The case is clearly fabricated, because the FIR does not state any motive for Shahzad Masih’s alleged blasphemy,” Anjum said. “It’s very unfortunate that Pakistani police book people in blasphemy cases before even trying to ascertain the facts. Now the boy will be made to suffer in prison like so many other innocent people who have fallen victim to the harsh blasphemy laws.”

 

He said that their investigation had corroborated the account of the Christian family.

 

“It is true that Masih had a fight with a pharmacy worker over a week ago, and the matter was resolved by a doctor,” Anjum said. “Local sources told us that Jalali bore a grudge against Masih, and he had connived with the complainant, Nadeem Ahmad, to settle his personal score with the Christian boy.”

 

+++

Pakistani Christian boy, 16, charged with blasphemy for discussing his faith

 

By World Watch Monitor

July 19, 2017

 

Pakistani Muslims call for the hanging of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy since 2010, at a protest in Karachi on 13 October 2016. That was the day Pakistan’s Supreme Court delayed her appeal after one of the judges stepped down.

 

A 16-year-old Pakistani Christian boy has been charged with blasphemy for talking with a colleague about his belief in Jesus, the second such incident in a month.

 

Shahzad Masih, 16, a cleaner at a hospital in the city of Dinga (near the religiously conservative city of Gujrat), was arrested on 13 July after his colleague, Ishtiaq Ahmed Jalali, accused him of insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad, a crime punishable with death in Pakistan.

 

A month earlier, on 15 June, Ashfaq Masih, 28, was arrested in the nearby city of Lahore for saying he believed Jesus to be the final prophet.

 

The latest incident took place at the Shameem Riaz Polyclinic. Jalali, who works at the hospital pharmacy, is a member of Tehreek-e-Tahfuz-e-Islam Pakistan, an organisation that strives to protect the name and honour of Muhammad. It belongs to the Barelvi school [Blog Editor: Barelvi extremist Islamism has developed according Left-Wing news site HuffPo] of Islamic thought, which is considered “moderate” and has even faced criticism from other Muslims for its “polytheism” of worshipping at shrines. Barelvis are known for the special respect they afford to Muhammad – more so than any other Islamic school of thought – and are chief supporters of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

 

Shahzad Masih’s father, Shafaqat, who works as a labourer, told World Watch Monitor that the argument related to who Christians worship.

 

One of the relatives of Shahzad Masih’s colleague Ishtiaq Ahmed Jalali, a leader of Tehreek-e-Tahfuz-e-Islam Pakistan, told a local TV station a day after Masih’s arrest: “If the blasphemer is acquitted of the charge then each member of our organisation would attack him.”

 

“My son told him that we follow Jesus and then their discussion became sour, at which point a doctor intervened and calmed them down,” he said.

 

The police complaint was lodged by another man, Nadeem Ahmed, who claims to have called Shahzad Masih from his mobile phone repair shop, which is beside the hospital, to ask him about what he’d said. In his report, Ahmed states that Masih repeated his “abusive words” against Muhammad and then fled.

 

Police reports in Pakistan, called First Information Reports (FIR), are often key in court cases, though the veracity of the claims in such reports is often the subject of contention.

 

Shafaqat Masih says that two days prior to the lodging of the FIR, his son’s colleague, Ishtiaq Jalali, told his son that Christians worship at the shrines of Muslim sages.

 

“My son told him that he didn’t know about this and he would ask me about it,” Shafaqat Masih said. “Then on 13 July, I was at work when he called me at around 4pm. He had returned from hospital but they asked him to come to the mobile phone repair shop, which is in front of the hospital.

 

“I told him that it would take me some time to get there, so he should call his uncle, Rafaqat, whom I also called on the phone to go to him. I arrived at around 7pm at the hospital, where they all had gathered. We tried to intervene, but they did not let us talk. Then they told us that they did not want to make the matter public and wanted to settle it amicably. At the same time, they kept calling others to join them and a large number of clerics gathered while we three were all alone [Shahzad, his father and uncle].

 

“One of the clerics told me that the head of a nearby madrassah had called them to the madrassah to settle the matter, after which the entire mob went there.

 

“[His uncle] Rafaqat and I also went there, but I sent Rafaqat to go inside along with Shahzad, who they had in their custody. The leader of the group argued that the crime committed by Shahzad was punishable with death alone. While they were discussing this, two police vans arrived. The chief policeman asked for Shahzad, but they were reluctant to give him up and only handed him over on the promise that the decision would be taken the next morning. As I was standing outside, I saw the police taking Shahzad along with them, but since then they haven’t allowed us to see him.”

 

The police chief, Shahbaz Hinjra, told a local newspaper that Masih was in their custody and that they were investigating the matter.

 

Former Punjab parliamentarian Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, leader of the largest Christian political party, told World Watch Monitor that he had personally investigated the matter and found that initial argument had centred over Shahzad Masih’s colleague’s attempts to convert him to Islam.

 

“When our people try to defend themselves and their faith then often it becomes an issue and later such cases are lodged,” he said.

 

One of Jalali’s relatives, Muhammad Saqib Shakeel Jalali, a leader of Tehreek-e-Tahfuz-e-Islam Pakistan, told a local TV station a day after Masih’s arrest: “If the blasphemer is acquitted of the charge then each member of our organisation would attack him.”

 

Pakistani Muslims line up to visit the tomb of [assassin] Mumtaz Qadri on the outskirts of Islamabad on 1 March 2017. Qadri was hanged in February 2016 for the murder of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who criticised Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and defended Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy since 2010.

 

Masih’s father says he and his family have been on the run ever since. “We don’t even know what to eat and where to live,” he said.

 

His uncle, Rafaqat, told World Watch Monitor that there are about 25 Christian families in the area and no such incident had ever taken place before.

 

The Tehreek-e-Tahfuz-e-Islam Pakistan website claims that no suspect has yet been awarded the death penalty under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, even though the Christian woman Asia Bibi has been on death row for blasphemy since 2010. The website also says that liberal Muslims want to amend the current blasphemy law and must be stopped – a key reason for the organisation’s founding 10 years ago. In April, a Muslim student was beaten to death in the city of Mardan following an accusation of blasphemy.

 

Several blasphemy cases have been registered before in Gujrat, one of the most conservative areas of the Punjab province. In August 2015, 15 Christians were accused of blasphemy after they used the word “apostle” to describe a pastor who had died years before. Then in July 2016, a Christian man was accused of blasphemy after a religious argument on the messaging service WhatsApp. Both cases are still pending in the court.

 

The Aasiya Noreen story

Aasiya Noreen, commonly known as Asia Bibi, received the death penalty in 2010 after she allegedly made derogatory comments about Islam’s prophet Muhammad during an argument with a Muslim woman.

While the two women were working together, the Muslim woman had refused water from Bibi on the grounds that it was “unclean” because it had been handled by a Christian.

The Muslim woman, together with her sister, were the only two witnesses in the case, but the defence failed to convince the appeals judges that their evidence lacked credibility.

In the High Court appeal hearing in October 2014, Bibi’s lawyer, Naeem Shakir, argued that the main complainant in the case, the local Muslim cleric Mohamed Salaam, had not heard Bibi blaspheme, and that his original complaint had been lodged five days after the women’s quarrel. Shakir argued in his appeal that during the trial the only reason given for this delay was “deliberation and consultation”, and said that Salaam had acknowledged this in court.

Salaam was filmed by an international film crew who made a film about Bibi in May/June 2014, saying that it is his religious obligation to defend the dignity of Muhammad and that is why he decided to be a witness before the court. He only heard Bibi allegedly confess to blasphemy when she had been brought before a village council several days after the quarrel.

Her other main accuser, Mohamed Imran, the owner of the field in which she worked, had not been present at the time of the quarrel either; he was away from the village.

Bibi’s case attracted widespread global attention, much of it critical of Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws, which critics contend are routinely abused as a pretext to settle personal scores. Two prominent Pakistani politicians were assassinated in 2010 after they spoke publicly in Bibi’s defence.

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Blasphemy Law is Revenge Instrument in Pakistan

John R. Houk

© July 19, 2017

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ISLAMISTS IN PAKISTAN ACCUSE CHRISTIAN MINOR OF BLASPHEMING ISLAM’S PROPHET

 

About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books and has two US-based TV programs –- “Windows on the World” (with Garry Ansdell) and “Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding” — which are both broadcast on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv/), and also a weekly radio show called “Front Page Radio” on the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com).

 

You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please tell your friends and colleagues that they can receive a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above ANS website and signing up there.

________________

Pakistani Christian boy, 16, charged with blasphemy for discussing his faith

 

Copyright © 2011 – 2017 — World Watch Monitor. All Rights Reserved. 

 

About WWM

 

World Watch Monitor reports the story of Christians around the world under pressure for their faith.

 

Freedom of belief, guaranteed by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, plays a critical part in the unfolding, complex story of the 21st Century. We exist to tell this part of the story with accuracy and authority. We respect and uphold everyone’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; Our focus is on the global Christian Church.

 

World Watch Monitor is particularly concerned with reporting on the underlying causes of persecution. We aim to connect the dots to reveal the forces behind acts of violence and injustice.

 

We strive to be the most trusted and consulted source of news about Christians who suffer for their faith. World Watch Monitor editors commission journalists around the world to report on persecution, from READ THE REST

 

Comment to ‘Walaa wal Baraa & Kafir’


Emmanuel Christian shares his experience with the Islamic concept of Walaa wal Baraa.

 

Just a small refresher: Walaa wal Baraa = Islamic Apartheid. The essay is an intro to an Elsa Schieder newsletter which she explains how this Islamic Apartheid works. My intro makes the effort to show the Moderate Islamic thinking (or is propaganda thinking) as well as it used often used brutally in this day and age.

 

Here is negative concept of Islamic Apartheid that is essentially practiced in Muslim majority nations from my intro:

 

You can imagine that Islamic Apartheid is the practice of Muslims relegating minority religions to discriminatory second-class citizens which is a horrible life under Islamic Supremacist Sharia Law.

 

I think that is enough info to feel the distress that Emmanuel Christian (this might be a pseudonym) feels as a Christian living in Muslim majority Indonesia.

 

JRH 7/8/17

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Comment to ‘Walaa wal Baraa & Kafir

 

Emmanuel Christian

July 4, 2017 at 1:44 AM

 

I live in Indonesia, and I just found out about this phrase today.

 

So, in December 2016 a huge mob of Muslims stopped a Christmas service in Bandung City, Indonesia. The local police helped the mob in dispersing the Christians having Christmas service on ground of “doing a religious activity on public space”. It was held in a function hall of a public government university.

 

Several months later, Zakir Naik came to Indonesia and preaches hatred, and promotes ignorance towards people who are not Muslims in the same type of function hall in another public government university, and the police stood guard to help Zakir.

 

Just today, daughter of Indonesia’s 4th president, criticized the government officials (civil servant and police force, etc.) for hindering people of minority religion of their equal right and having freedom to perform religious duties.

 

you can see the news article about it here ==> http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2017/07/04/09442431/yenny.wahid.pelanggaran.kemerdekaan.beragama.masih.terjadi ***

 

And there you have it, on the comments section, someone had commented that Yenny Wahid should have not criticized the officials, because the officials are Muslims and the deed are done to non-Muslims. The comment also quotes “al wala wal bara” in justifying his thoughts.

 

So, hello truth. I was born in Indonesia to a Christian family, and now I know so much more about what was happening all around me. This walaa stuff is the cause of so much things that happened to me and went unanswered and repressed.

 

***Blog Editor: The link Emmanuel provide is in a language from Indonesia. Here is the Google Translation into English.

 

Yenny Wahid: Violations of Religious Freedom Still Happen

 

Yenny Wahid

 

By NABILLA TASHANDRA

July 4, 2017 0 9:44 WIB

Kompas.com

 

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Director of the Wahid Foundation, Yenny Wahid see violations of religious freedom is still a lot happening. He also regretted how the Government and officials also became actors in the practice.

 

The Wahid Institute survey in 2016 revealed that the Government and many apparatus became perpetrators of freedom of religion.

 

At least, there have been 130 violations of the actor being part of the Government and the authorities. While 74 violation events conducted by community organizations.

 

“We still see the majority of minority tyranny,” Yenny said in a discussion of “One Table” in Kompas TV entitled Fitrah, Tolerance and Diversity, Monday (3/7/2017) night.

 

(Read: Obama: My Step Father Is A Tolerant Muslim)

 

In the regions, he continued, minority religious groups are often the victims of the majority clothe in the region. For example, in areas in Java where Muslims are the majority, non-Muslims are often victims of violations of religious freedom.

 

Another small example is the exclusion of the right of a group of people who are considered to be perverted or perverted.

 

“For example not given ID cards, or other rights to build houses of worship,” he said.

 

He sees, there is a wrong concept related harmony. Such harmony often gives too much rights to society.

 

(Read: Adjacent to 45 Years, Church and Mosque Mutual Tolerance)

 

“Instead of a conflict in the area saying ‘yes it’s a minority problem’, it’s a sacrifice. This is a misconception,” he said.

 

According to him, the need to grow an awareness in society that all citizens have the same rights in the eyes of the law.

 

Such awareness, not exceptions, must also be demonstrated by the Government and the apparatus who are involved as actors of religious freedom violators.

 

That awareness is considered not yet grown in the hearts of citizens who are still perpetrators of violations of religious freedom.

 

“I think because these actors have no awareness, the basic constitutional rights of the state that every citizen should have in any background,” Yenny said.

 

Copyright 2008 – 2017 PT. Kompas Cyber ​​Media

_________________

Emmanuel Christian’s commented is edited by John R. Houk and spellcheck. I left the Google Translate “Yenny Wahid: Violations of Religious Freedom Still Happen” as is.

 

 

Ehab Jaber Must be Investigated for Islamic Terrorism


John R. Houk

© April 22,2017

 

 

Ehab Jaber Wanted to go Jihad on Worldview Weekend

 

On the 17th of April I posted about the crazed South Dakota male Muslim (Ehab Jaber) who stalked a Christian Conference entitled Worldview Weekend. Security asked Jaber to leave and he complied. But then the crazy started.

 

Ehab Jaber went into his vehicle a videoed his displeasure about Christians daring him to leave. At the time, he claimed he was streaming it live on his Facebook page. There seems to be some question of the veracity of the livestream. I did find a Facebook embed on PamelaGeller.com. I had uploaded the 1:43 profanity laced tirade on my Youtube channel, but Youtube informed me I violated the part of their TOA which prohibits the post of threatening content. (I wonder how many Muslims and Leftists get a Youtube pass for threatening videos.)

 

The most disturbing part of the story is the police REFUSED to do anything about the numerous guns displayed on video threatening Christians!

 

I have since learned Ehab Jaber has been arrested according to a report from local news station KOTA TV:

 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KOTA TV) – A Sioux Falls man who posted a Facebook video showing him brandishing several guns has been arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat.

 

Ehab Abdulmutta Jaber, 45, was involved in an incident April 9 at an anti-Muslim event in Sioux Falls.

 

Jaber was videotaping the event and was asked to leave. According to a release from the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, Jaber reportedly was carrying a handgun at the time.

 

After being escorted out of the event Jaber did a Facebook livestream showing he was armed and that people should be afraid. He was wearing a t-shirt that said “I am an American,” “I am Muslim,” ”I open carry … And conceal carry,” and “I am only dangerous if you are stupid.”

 

The FBI determined that Jaber posed no threat and that it is legal to carry concealed weapons in South Dakota.

 

However, Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman said he would investigate the incident.

 

If convicted of the terror charge, Jaber could be sentenced to five years in the state penitentiary.

 

This case is being investigated by the Sioux Falls Police Department and being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office and the Lincoln County State’s Attorney.

 

During a search of Jaber’s residence, law enforcement seized firearms as well as methamphetamine.

 
The possession of methamphetamine case is being prosecuted by the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney. (Sioux Falls Muslim man arrested on terror threat charge; KOTATV.com; Posted: 4/21/17 7:00 PM | Updated: 4/21/17 10:58 PM)

 

VIDEO: Ehab Jaber Arrested for Islamic Terrorist Threat

 

Posted by John Houk

Published on Apr 22, 2017

 

Original KOTA TV title: “Sioux Falls Muslim man arrested on terror threat charge”. (http://tinyurl.com/l2mjmy8). I felt it was too politically correct for the actual incident.

KOTA TV posts a portion of the offending gun toting Facebook video less Jaber’s threatening profanity laced audio.

 

So, kudos to the Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman. In case the Sioux Falls Police Department drops the ball, I’m still posting the ACT for America rally call below. Also, here is State’s Attorney Tom Wollman’s contact info:

 

Thomas Wollman
Lincoln County
104 N. Main St., Suite 200
Canton, SD 57013-1708
(605) 764-5732
(605) 764-2931 (fax)
twollman@lincolncountysd.org

Lincoln County State’s Attorney Link: http://www.lincolncountysd.org/Page.cfm/Departments/15/State’s-Attorney

 

I came across an ACT for America action alert email drumming support for Americans to contact the South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley to do something about Ehab Jaber’s Islamic terrorist threats.

 

JRH 4/22/17

Please Support NCCR

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URGENT ACTION ALERT: Demand Immediate Investigation of Ehab Jaber!

 

Sent by ACT for America

Sent 4/21/2017 11:41 AM

 

A South Dakota Muslim named Ehab Jaber, who was escorted out of a Christian conference after using foul language, took to Facebook to issue explicit threats towards innocent civilians, while brandishing firearms and his Koran.

Jaber is clearly not mentally stable enough to carry a firearm, and shows alarming signs of Islamic radicalism.

Call South Dakota AG, Marty Jackley at 605-773-3215 and demand Jaber be investigated thoroughly and promptly!

Jaber is originally from Saudi Arabia.

Perhaps it’s perfectly okay in Riyadh to go around threatening Christians, while holding an AK-47, but here in the United States, we don’t tolerate it.

Contact the South Dakota AG, Marty Jackley at 605-773-3215 ASAP and demand that Jaber be investigated immediately!

Your action on this could save lives.

How many more of these mass shootings by radical Islamists must we endure before we start taking pre-emptive action against such threats?

Of course, leave it to the MSM to turn this potential jihadist into a victim. We’re not having it!

Again, please call South Dakota AG, Marty Jackley 605-773-3215 ASAP.

For Freedom,

ACT for America

 

_______________

Ehab Jaber Must be Investigated for Islamic Terrorism

John R. Houk

© April 22,2017

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URGENT ACTION ALERT: Demand Immediate Investigation of Ehab Jaber!

 

DONATE to ACT for America

 

About ACT for America

 

ACT for America is committed to recruiting, training, and mobilizing citizens community by community to help protect and preserve American culture and to keep this nation safe.

 

ACT for America stands ready to take effective action as the only national security grassroots organization in America. If each of us does just a little, together we can accomplish a lot. We are America.

 

Who We Are

 

ACT for America is the NRA of national security. We are the nation’s largest nonprofit, non-partisan, grassroots national security organization with 500,000 members and 1,000 volunteer groups focused on educating, engaging, and mobilizing citizens and elected officials to impact legislative outcomes to protect America.

 

What We Do

 

ACT for America educates citizens and elected officials to impact public policy and protect America from terrorism. As a result, ACT’s grassroots network has  READ THE REST

 

Silencing the Dissent


Repressing Free Speech

Minorities are still being persecuted in Sunni Islam-dominated Pakistan. This is especially the case for Pakistan’s Christian minority. Adding to the repression is a process of silencing online social media.

 

JRH 8/10/16

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Silencing the Dissent

 

By Shamim Mahmoud

Sent 8/8/2016 5:32 PM

 

Pakistani minorities under the leadership of Federal Minister for Human Rights, Kamran Michael are planning to celebrate Minorities’ Day on August 11. The Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) former government had declared August 11 as minorities’ day; however, some minority groups chose to observe August 11 as black day to register their protest over the abuse of minority rights. Following the footsteps of the PPP government the present PML-N government has also announced to dedicate August 11 as minorities day.

 

On August 11, 1947, the founder of the nation Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah had announced the freedom for the minorities living in new born Pakistan. But it is very unfortunate that after sixty-nine years, Pakistan is ranked sixth on the list of the countries where Christians are most persecuted, according to the World Watch List 2016.

 

The survey conducted by Open Doors, an organization working to help persecuted Christians and churches worldwide, highlights the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as Christians. The report found that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws continue to be abused to settle personal scores, particularly against minorities, including Christians. A Christian couple was thrown into the brick kiln where they worked and burned to death after being accused of blasphemy, orphaning their four children. Two churches in Lahore were bombed, killing 25 people and wounding dozens. An estimated 700 Christian girls and women are abducted every year and often then raped and forcibly married to Muslims,” the report added.

 

The list ranks North Korea as the most oppressive place in the world to live as a Christian. It adds that in 2015, the persecution grew most rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa, while in the Middle East Islamic States and Pakistan violence increased the migration of the Christian population from the region. The index measures the degrees of freedom that Christians have to express their faith in six spheres- private, family, community, national and church life, while also measuring levels of violence.

 

The European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance has released its annual report for 2015 and showed serious concerns over the minorities’ situation in Pakistan, especially the issues pertaining to the country’s blasphemy laws. Giving reference of the assassinated Punjab governor Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti for raising their voices against the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, especially in the Asia Bibi case. The report expressed that although the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a positive development has expressed its concerns about widespread misuse of blasphemy laws and issued a detailed judgment warning against false blasphemy accusations and stating that in Islam a false accusation can be as serious as blasphemy itself, but unfortunately, criticizing the reforms to blasphemy laws in public was still dangerous in any Pakistan society. The report further stated that terrorist groups like Taliban have continued to severely persecute religious minorities, especially the Christian community, considering it an agent of the West and in revenge of the western intervention such as US drone strikes in Pakistan areas. The report also gave the reference of blasts and firing in churches in Youhanabad and Iqbal Park on the eve of Easter celebrations.

 

Earlier hundreds of the Christians houses in Gojra and Joseph Colony, Lahore were set ablaze. And twin blasts in Peshawar Church killed at least 80 and hundred were injured.

 

Where is Quaid’s Pakistan?

 

The report further disclosed that due to religious persecution, around 11,000 Christians are seeking asylum in Thailand. A Hindu parliamentarian claimed that 5000 Hindus emigrate from Pakistan every year due to discriminatory treatment, forced conversions and fears of their safety. The report stated that in the months of April and May 2016, it was also reported that as many as 18 Christians’ girls were kidnapped and forcefully converted in the Punjab province alone.

 

Due to the religious persecution thousands of Christian families are looking for their future in Thailand. It is pertinent to mention that European countries do not encourage Pakistani Christian visitors. Even these countries adopt stricter policy when find the applicant from the same faith. Most recently “World Youth Day 2016” was held in Poland and reportedly there were more than six thousands of applicants but the Poland embassy rejected a maximum amount of visa applications on frivolous grounds and granted only 400 – 500 visas to Pakistani Christians. The weird part of the story is that journalists’ visa applications were denied without any cogent reasons.  The officials in EU countries on the condition of anonymity said the visa officers had orders from the “higher level” to reject the maximum number of visas from the Christians background. It means, poor Pakistani Christians face the same behavior from the either side.

 

Cyber Crime Bill 2015

 

The Cyber Crime Bill 2015, tabled by the Minister of State for IT aims at regulating the online conduct of individuals/organizations. The Bill passed by the Senate now awaits final approval by the NA [National Assembly] before the president enacts it into law. The controversial Bill has been criticized by the IT industry and civil society for curbing human rights and giving enormous power to law enforcement agencies. It certainly intended to leash in the power of social media, given its increasingly transformational role in shaping public opinion and holding rulers accountable. No doubt, it aims silencing the dissent.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Mahmood

Diplomatic Correspondent

Islamabad

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. First contact Shamim in case he has found an easy way to donate. I like to use Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination of Islamabad.

Shamim Masih 4

Blogger and Human Rights Activist
http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/

+92-300-642-4560

__________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All text enclosed by brackets as well as source links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

About Shamim excerpted from a past email:

 

Greetings to you! Let me introduce myself first, though many of you are witness to my professional work. I am the only Christian journalist in this arena with diverse work experience with different media outlets like Independent News Pakistan (INP), as columnist with “Daily Times” for two years, two years with one of the leading Urdu daily, “Khabrain” & Channel 5, Daily Mail and now with Pakistan Today. I have been working as lead Reporter for “British Pakistani Christian Association” since 2010. As stringer I have worked with BBC world service. Being a Christian journalist, I have been writing on minority rights and working as a social reformer/peace maker as well.

 

Scorching Heat, Ramadan and Pakistani Minorities


If you are an adherent of Islam (God have mercy on your eternal soul), you aware that Ramadan is upon you:

 

Ramadan (/ˌræməˈdɑːn/Arabic: رمضان‎‎ Ramaḍān, IPA: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn];[note 1] also transliterated RamazanRamzanRamadhan, or Ramathan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar,[2] and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief.[3][4] This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.[5] The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.[6][7]

 

The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ,which means scorching heat or dryness.[8] … ([Some Wikipedia links removed] Ramadan; Wikipedia; page was last modified on 6 June 2016, at 08:12.)

 

If you live in Pakistan and happen to be a Christian, Pakistani law forces you to observe these ungodly Ramadan rules even though your faith says Jesus Christ the Son of God is the only path to God. The fasting portion of Ramadan in Pakistan often results in massive heatwaves affecting Muslims, Christians and other Non-Muslim minorities that forbid water! Last year in 2015 this resulted in deaths numbering in the thousands. Christians in Pakistan are stuck doing the grubby jobs that Muslims find either abhorrent or beneath their privilege. You can imagine the devastation faced during Ramadan restrictions placed on poverty stricken Christians.

 

Pakistan Christian Poverty

Pakistani Christian Poverty

 

JRH 6/6/16

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Scorching Heat, Ramadan and Pakistani Minorities

 

By Shamim Mahmood

Sent: 6/6/2016 3:00 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a Muslim dominated country, where, it is imposed to respect Islam and if any one talk about its forced imposition, it can be considered as blasphemy. Minorities of the country are already living under the 24/7 threats and being dealt as second class citizen. Many people are being indulged in blasphemy laws and thousands have been facing such an insulting environment that made their life hell. Discrimination and hate are a daily routine matters, at work places, public places, eating places and other areas. Though protection is given in the constitutions the ground realities are different.

 

This evening, when every Muslim was greeting each other for the blessings of Ramadan, I was thinking about the minorities of Pakistan because willing or unwillingly, minorities’ living in Pakistan have to fast with their fellow Muslims. By means of the law the country forces everyone to go hungry during the month of Ramadan. In Pakistan, it is unlawful to drink, eat or smoke in public places during Ramadan. You can be sent to jail, heavily fined or may even be beaten by vigilantes. It’s a peak heat wave in Pakistan during June, with temperatures rises in the different regions routinely around 40 and above degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and the days are at their longest of the year. The government is trying to alleviate the hardships of the month long sunrise-to-sunset fast.

 

Last year, a brutal heatwave killed dozens of people in Pakistan. Many of them died of dehydration while fasting in sweltering temperatures. Even then the respect of Ramadan is mandatory for all citizens of Pakistan.

 

During the military dictator Zia ul Haq the Ehtiram-e-Ramadan (Respect of Ramadan) bill was imposed that prescribes punishments of up to three months in jail and a fine for people who drink or eat publicly. According to the tenets of Islam, [non-Muslims] are under an obligation to fast, they shall not eat, drink or smoke in a public place during fasting hours in the month of Ramadan, [as defined by] Pakistan law.

 

Nearly every restaurant is closed from dawn to dusk, and a shopkeeper can only sell take away food items.  And if you are hungry or thirsty the only place for you is home. At offices, public and private places, [non-Muslims also] are not allowed to eat.

 

Basharat Khokher, social activist, said that the law is inhumane and violates fundamental human rights. Those who want to fast have the right to do so, but those who don’t want to fast have equal rights also. I am religious and respect Ramadan, but it also is not intended to make you sick or put you in danger. Sometimes it’s so hot, that we can’t touch the metal poles on the scaffolding without gloves. A laborer cannot work in these conditions without water, he added.

 

“We cannot allow the liberal people to secularize our country, our society,” said Omar Bhatti, a student of Islamic research. “The respect of Ramadan is mandatory for all citizens of Pakistan. There can’t be any compromise on it.” As for religious minorities; they live in an Islamic country and must have to obey its rules.”

 

Those who do not fast should behave as if they are fasting, Qari Abdul Qadir, a cleric said. “Non-Muslims and elderly or sick Muslims can eat but they should show respect for fasting Muslims and avoid eating or drinking openly” he said.

 

With the growth of Islamic outfits such as the Taliban and its representation in the region, situation have become worse in the past years. Religious extremism and intolerance are on the rise in this region. Now even hospital cafeterias and bus stands don’t serve food during Ramadan. And if someone found around eating or drinking might accuse of blasphemy.

 

Maryam Khushi, a beautician, said forget about Ramadan, I have to be careful about what I do in public throughout the year. What I say, what I wear. People become more pious during Ramadan and I have to be more careful, she added.

 

Ramzan Qadir, a liberal Muslim in Islamabad, said respect needs to be two-way street. “If the religious people can’t respect my rights, I am not ready to respect theirs. It is simple as that he told. “And when these people go to Europe and the US, they insist on their rights. They protest against veil ban in France, but they don’t allow Christians in Pakistan to live freely. I found it hypocritical.

 

The tiny liberal community in the country is not powerful enough to challenge the Islamic laws. Occasionally observed, it is not just involving Ramadan, fanatic Muslims have taken the law into their own hands and have punished Christians and Hindus for a perceived lack of respect of Islam. In either case, minorities of Pakistan [are forced] to respect Ramadan.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Mahmood

 

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Diplomatic Correspondent

Daily Times, Islamabad

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Edited by John R. Houk

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© Shamim Mahmood (Masih)