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Posts tagged with: Christian

Being Smart about the Blasphemy Law

Politics is best understood as a game of chess: every pawn, rook and knight has its purpose, every move depends on the previous one. No major law or political event is in isolation; each one has a long history in a philosophy or a series of events and proponents on either side. Without an honest appreciation of this background, the ground-realities and a found understanding of the public narrative many efforts to reform can inadvertently spiral into chaos.

The current attempts to reform or repeal the blasphemy law are such moves. No matter how draconian the law may be it can not be changed so easily and so quickly, as the well-intentioned but rather naive move of proposing an amendment wrongly suggests. This proposed amendment and the legitimate outburst by Human Rights Groups in Pakistan has triggered preemptive action across the country : A cleric has offered a cash reward for murdering the accused; protests against inflation and for the return of missing people have turned into pro-blasphemy law rallies; judges have barred the government from amending the law; lawyers have passed resolutions to pressurize government to not consider this amendment, and the urdu media has its own take on the issue. Will the amendment even pass when not one directly elected MNA has voiced their support for the amendment?
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Intolerance in The Name of Religion

After Lahore blast, people will give you different reasons for the blasts; they will say that it is Pakistan and America’s fault; America and Pakistan trained these people earlier to fight against Soviets, and now they have turned against both; they will say these people have nothing to do with Islam, and Islam is a peaceful religion; they will say these people do not represent Islam. May be it is true. But somehow, somewhere religion is involved, and one can not deny that–hence, these savage killers believe that they are just about to meet 71 virgins after committing mass murder. They are doing all this in the name of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful; whether with his approval or without.

It is not just one particular religion, most religious people, whether belonging to Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism or Islam, are different from people, who let’s say have very casual attitude towards religion or do not believe in God at all. Here in USA, I have personally experienced, the more religious a person is, it is more likely that person would hate certain “others”. In the case of Christian religious fanatics in USA, they have long list of people whom they hate, but these days mainly Muslims.
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Charter for Compassion | Karachi Nov 15th – Atrium Mall

In February 2008, Karen Armstrong won the TED Prize and called for the creation of a Charter for Compassion to bring together people of different religions and moral codes in a powerful common cause.

The Charter will proclaim a principle embraced by every faith, and by every moral code. It is often referred to as The Golden Rule.

Date: Sunday, November 15, 2009
Time: 12:05pm – 3:15pm
Location: Atrium Mall -Near Avari Towers, Zaibunissa Street, Karachi. Pakistan
Facebook EVENT RSVP: Charter for Compassion & You


PR Seminar on The Blasphemy Law – Live Stream from PMA House @ 5:30pm

The Blasphemy Law: An Objective Assessment from Religious, Legal & Social Perspectives seminar organized by the Peoples’ Resistance is being live streamed from the PMA House at 5:30pm catch it live here on the blog or head over to the page at Ustream.tv

APOLOGIES: Due to a technical glitch – live feed is *not available*


Interview with Leader of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat Maulana Saeed Jalapuri about Gojra Killings

khatm-e-nubuwwatWe condemn the Gojra killings; Maulana Saeed Ahmed Jalapuri, Ameer Almi Majlis-e-Tahfuz Khatam-e-Nabuat, Karachi

“A very unpleasant incident of Muslim Christian’s riots took place in Gojra, a place near Faisalabad, on Friday, 31st July 2009. Seven people were killed and several injured while 40 houses were set ablaze. Indeed maximum condemnation of this incident becomes insufficient as it was the duty of Islamic state [of Pakistan] to protect the lives and properties of Non-Muslim citizen of the state.” This is the intro of article by Maulana Saeed Ahmed Jalapuri, Ameer Almi Majlis-e-Tahfuz-e- Khatam-e-Nabuat Karachi which he gave me for reading before the interview. Both the English and Urdu version of article “Saniha-e-Gojra, Pase Parda Muharekat” will be published on my blog soon inshaAllah.

After reading the intro of article, I cut short the list of my questions and asked who has committed this heinous crime? Is there any hand of Khatam-e-Nabuat in this incident?

Maulana Saeed smiled despite my blunt questions and replied: “Islam doesn’t allow any individual or group to take law in his hand. We can’t tolerate that our worker would take law in his hand. Khatam-e-Nabuat doesn’t believe in fanaticism. We have a long list of martyrs but you can’t name a single killer in our ranks. We haven’t killed a single Qadiani even, leave alone the Christians. We are struggling in the frame work of the state Law and will keep our struggle continued peaceful. We have neither taken law in our hand nor will we do in future.”
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An Eyewitness Account from Gojra

The curse of religious fanaticism has struck once again. Not in the beautiful valleys of N.W.F.P but in Gojra, the heartland of industrial Punjab. This was not the work of a foreign funded militant group or a separatist movement. It was actually the result of propagating religious chauvinism, intolerance of diverse communities, distorting history, glorifying the use of force and promoting obedience and militancy in the past three decades as state policy and as an integral part of our curriculum.

Mukhtar Masih from Gojra is the caretaker of my maternal family’s home in Karachi since 1977. He was hired by my grandmother as a cook and today his son and his family also live in Karachi. Like other migrants to the cosmopolitan, he had supported his younger siblings and had steadily built a house at Gojra. Mukhtar spent sleepless nights last weekend when his locality of Christian Colony was looted and burned. His younger brother, Javed Masih, a sanitary worker in Civil Hospital Gojra for the past 17 years narrated the following accounts to the writer.

Javed mentioned that the episode began at a Christian wedding in the nearby village of Korian on Thursday evening, July 29th, 2009. He said that people were throwing money at the bride groom’s wedding party but later neighbors alleged that torn pages of the Qur’an were used to shower the party as well. Javed questioned how was it possible for people to use pages from a holy book at a wedding reception? Why would anyone in their right mind do such a thing? It has now been learned that children had unknowingly cut pages of an old Islamic Studies textbook to use as shreds to shower on the wedding party. Those who had initially raised the claim of desecration were satisfied the next day when it was proven that illiterate street kids were responsible for unintentionally tearing a textbook, not the holy Qur’an.
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Gojra Update: by Bishop Ijaz Inayat of Karachi

Bishop Ijaz Inayat from the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Karachi shares an email with the latest update on the tragic incident which left 9 people dead in Gojra, this is more as a follow up to his earlier report that we published on 2nd of August

According to latest news five terrorist considered to be member of the core group which conspired the burning of Christians and their house in Gojra and Korian have been arrested.

These arrests were done from Sindh and Frontier provinces. In this barbaric incident over forty houses were burnt to ashes and over hundred and twenty looted, killing nine including women and children burnt alive.

The persons arrested stayed for fifteen days in the house of a local Muslim Imam (Clergy of a Mosque) named Mohammad Yaseen and had fled immediately after the incident of Gojra.
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Joint Declaration from Christian and Muslim leaders & Protest at China Chowk

A meeting was called in local Church to discuss the incident of Gojra. A notable number of 20 Muslim/Christian leadership of Rawalpindi/Islamabad attended the meeting. Meeting was facilitated by Waheed Yousuf.

Fr Rahmat Hakam welcomed the participants for and thanks for their participation on a very short notice. All participants were asked to shared their feelings and suggestion on this incident and many of them addressed the participants including Mian Aslam ex MNA, Allama Inayat Shakir, Moulana Tanveer Ahmad Alvi, Mehboob Sada, Shamsul Haq Awan, Fr Rahmat Hakim, Fr Nadeem Kamran, Malik Ansar, Shafqat Aziz, Amjad Gulzar, Aamir Shehzad, James Jan, Younus Masih, Jamil Khokhar and Basharat. The minutes of the meeting are as follows

Facts of Gojra incidents were shared

  1. Total Death toll is 8 persons, including women and children of one family, who were brunt alive.
  2. 87 houses were brunt or badly damage
  3. 150 families were forced to leave the area
  4. It was also noted that administration of the Gojra took no step to protect the lives and properties of innocent Pakistanis.

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Khatim an-Nabuwwah Fanatics threaten Gojra Activists

In an email from Farooq Tariq a spokesperson of the Labor Party of Pakistan has explained how Islamic Religious group fanatics Khatim an-Nabuwwah have threatened their workers of dire circumstances for having sided with the Christian community during the Gojra riots which left approximately 9 people dead due to intensive burns.

Khatim an-Nabuwwah [Wikipedia] or finality of Prophethood, is an Islamic belief that prophethood came to an end after Muhammad. Many Muslims believe that the line of prophets sent by God ended with the advent of Muhammad, who they believe received the final revelation in the form of the Qur’an.

The concept of the finality of prophethood of Muhammad has caused controversy. The Ahmadiyya Community, hold Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet subordinate to Muhammad. Ahmed claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi in 1889 and founded a movement in Qadian, India. His claims resulted in a violent reaction among many Muslims of the India subcontinent. The Salafi and Sunni scholars vehemently opposed him and in subsequent years a movement for the “protection of Khatme Nabuwwat” was founded. This movement, at times violent, is still very active in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries where Ahmadiyya adherents are present.

This Islamic fundamentalist group quote extreme about forcibly reinforcing the Blasphemy law in Pakistan, a law created more or less to outlaw the Ahmedi community in Pakistan. These Gojra riots need to be vehemently condemned and strict criminal action must be taken against these aggressors, it ironic that this organization has the audacity to hold a press conference and in turn is threatening other and also the Government to release their ‘muslim’ friends who were arrested by the police during the Gojra riots, its amazing how they have the balls to threaten after they themselves burnt alive 9 innocent people
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The Innocent of Gojra: Victims of the Half Law

Guest Blog by Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a political economist.

gojra christian women cryingThe recent incidents in Gojra are a grim reminder of how existing half laws can be manipulated for personal and political ends. Besides loss of life, property or the reputation of the country, it also reflects an opportunist political system in which strange bedfellows can be espoused for political expediency and where rule of law can be applied selectively. Worse, it exposes false claims of the provincial and federal governments over constant surveillance of banned militant outfits in Punjab.

The entire trail from Jhang to Gojra, Mian Channu and Shantinagar is littered with similar incidents of religiously fanned hatred spearheaded by banned militant outfits. Time and again such incidents take place with impunity and remarkable alacrity. It is to question why the local administration is caught sleeping and why no preventive measures manifest themselves in pre emptive actions.

There is no doubt that the working relationship between the Federal Government and PMLN Government is dysfunctional. It took the Government of Punjab three days to move into a belated action despite warnings given by Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister of Minorities Affairs. The provincial government dismissed the factual reporting of the federal minister for over two days and moved reluctantly after all the damage had been done and Faisalabad-Karachi Railway traffic blocked for two days. The Chief Minister has repeatedly postponed his visit to the city citing security reasons. Meanwhile the frustrations continue to grow resulting in resignations of one federal and one provincial minister.
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Gojra Incident: Sparked because of a drunkie being bounced out of a wedding

A summary of events as shared by Dr. Arif Alvi [Sec General of PTI] as he narrated his conversation with one of his party members who was in Gojra to investigate the horrific incident which involved the killing of seven Christians

Gojra RiotsA lot of detail has been published in the newspapers today. Brig. (R) Samson Sharaf of PTI visited Gojra yesterday and has met and interviewed a lot of people.

He informs us that the incident started at a wedding reception where there was some misbehaviour by a drunk person. On my query he said it was a Pakistani but on my insistence he just said that the person did not belong to the Christian community but of the majority religion in Pakistan. This person was, as courteously as possible in such a situation, escorted out.

But he and his friends reacted and created a scene and started making allegations. The easiest way to put non-muslims on the defensive in Pakistan is an accusation of blasphemy. It is like Karo Kari where an allegation is enough for criminals to unleash their venom.
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Bishop Ijaz Inayat Questions the Gojra Killings

I share with you an email sent by Bishop Ijaz Inayat from the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Karachi where he talks about the killing of seven Christians in Gojram Please circulate widely so that people who matter must not pay only lip service every time but come down with a heavy hand on the culprits and prevent such incidents from happening. Compensations alone though cannot compensate for the fear and terror created in the hearts of our Christian and non-Muslim brothers and sisters.

gojra christians for peaceIn reference to the news, “Seven burnt alive in Gojra” printed in Dawn of 2nd July 2009.

According to Print, Electronic media and versions from the eyewitnesses there were veiled persons in the mob that attacked “Christian Town”, Gojra yesterday burning alive persons and creation tension both for public and the Government.

The Police, Administration and the people say they could not be handled. The vital question is, who were they and why they needed to hide their faces while they were protesting the desecration of the “Holy Quran”, thought to be noble cause by the Muslims.
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Profiting from Religion: Land Grabbing Business and Christian Minority in Pakistan

Guest Blog by Silence from Islamabad Observer

Religion is basically meant to be personal belief of a person or group of people. It is outrageous, shameful and downright arrogant of the religious groups to use religion as a source of profits. However since the times immortal, criminals, religious clerics, land grabbers and even power hungry kings and democratic leaders have been using religion as a source of exploitation and profiting. “Crusade” of George W Bush in name of ‘war on terror’ and killing of innocent women and children by ‘Taliban’s’ in name of Islam are two sides of same coin. The basic goal is to exploit sentiments of religious groups for personal gains.

Religion is also a favorite tool of criminals and land grabbing mafias. The bloody episode of ‘Red Mosque’ in Islamabad, we witnessed recently, is not the only example. In every city and town, criminal gangs have occupied public or private land; they would build a ‘mosque’ on it and sell the adjoining lands for commercial or residential purposes. Even green belts, public parks and educational institutional institutions are not safe from these gangs. Whenever government authorities want to evict these gangs and demolish the illegal buildings, it would become a religious issue. If authorities demolish the illegally built mosque, it will bring a religious and political storm. The illegal mosques built on public lands in Islamabad were saved from being demolished by countrywide protests leading to interference of ‘Imam-i-Kaba’.

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