Movies: Why films with Christian references are treated differently? No more says The CSF

January 31, 2013 by  
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As you are aware, The CSF along with community groups have been taking up issues of misrepresentation and objectionable portrayal of Christians and Christianity in the media, especially films. In most cases we have had success, Praise God – due to your support. However, in the light of 3 films being objected to by some Muslim groups, we remember the singular case of the ‘Hosannah’ song where we could not fight the money power of the film-makers and even worse some of our own politicians and sections of the clergy – shamelessly said there was nothing wrong, who did not do their bit or remained silent. Let’s not repeat it again.

We have learnt from our mistakes and urge you to in future please do join The CSF in whatever way best you can to prevent such blasphemy. Please find below brief info on the 3 films, being objected to.

Blessings & Respect.

Your brother in Christ,

Joseph Dias

Nambiar removes ‘Ya Hussain’ song from ‘David’

Poster of David movieMumbai, January 29, 2013: Director Bejoy Nambiar has decided to remove Lucky Ali’s song “Ya Hussain” from his new film “David” after some groups objected to it. However, he has retained the tune in the movie.

A section of the Muslim community had urged Nambiar to remove the song as they felt it does not befit their definition of propriety. The song accompanied a sequence in the film, which showed a Moharram procession.

“The song ‘Ya Hussain’ has now been deleted from my film. Only the music has been kept,” said Nambiar.

“They (Muslim groups) objected to the song. But they were kind enough to accept my invitation to discuss the matter. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided that it would be better if I didn’t hurt anyone’s sentiments. So I’ve decided to remove the song,” he added.

Nambiar invited the members of the community to view the song sequence, following which the director took the decision to remove the song. “If one doesn’t extend a hand of friendship, they would just go on protesting. It is better to sort it out through discussion rather than risk protests that could harm the release of the film,” he said.

The director admits feeling frustrated at the moral censorship of cinema in the country. “Sadly this is the state of the nation that we are living in. Personally, I am anguished at being restricted at even the idea level. When I was writing ‘David’ I had no intention of offending anyone. Then why am I am being put through this,” he said.

Nambiar says there was no time to put up a fight. “I know I could fight it out. But I can’t delay my film’s release. If ‘David’ was a star-studded film I could take that risk. But I can’t afford to lose my release window. The smartest thing I could do was find a compromise,” he said.

“So before the protests could get out of hand I invited the disgruntled section to see the portion of my film where the song ‘Ya Hussain’ occurs. Then we had a long discussion. And we decided to remove the vocals,” he added.

He reveals that the artists involved with the song were under stress.

“Lucky Ali was being hounded with messages. He being Muslim offending his own community was something that I couldn’t deal with. Lucky requested I do something about the situation. Neil was also being hounded. I didn’t want my artists to suffer for my creativity,” said Nambiar. The film featuring Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vikram and Vinay Virmani, releases Feb 1.

– ians

JUH objects to use of verses from Quran on Race2 posters

Race 2New Delhi, January 29, 2013: Jamiat Ulama-i- Hind has objected to the Race 2 film poster that carries verses from holy Quran. In a letter to the Prime Minister of India and Ministry of Broadcasting, Maulana Mahmood Madani, general secretary of JUH demanded immediate action to stop publication and display of such “sacrilegious” posters.

“It has been brought to our notice that that Race 2 film posters displayed in many places at Kolkata, carry Quranic verses that has caused great anger to Muslim community. It appears that certain anti- social elements have taken upon themselves to disturb communal harmony and peace by inciting the religious passion and in this context it becomes all the more duty of the law and order authorities to curb such publications as a preventive measure,” Maulana Madani wrote in the letter.

He added that some sections in the world of cinema and book publications, despite being aware of the sensitivities, deliberately target sentiments of a particular community for cheap publication. Abdul Hameed Noumani, press secretary said that it is not just this movie, but we see a trend of portraying Islam and Muslims in bad light. Some vested interest appears to be instigating Muslims all the time, and if you protest, you are accused of being conservative and narrow minded, he added.

– tcn

Petition against screening of ‘Vishwaroopam’ in Andhra Pradesh

Poster of VishwaroopamTamil Nadu, January 29, 2013:  Hyderabad-based businessman Mohammed Haji has filed a petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court in support of the ban on screening Kamal Haasan’s thriller “Vishwaroopam” in the state.

“The film has scenes that are offensive and objectionable to Muslim community. It is directly hurting the sentiments of our community,” Haji said in his petition.

Haji has requested the state government to submit his petition to the country’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The Rs.95-crore espionage thriller was originally scheduled to release in Tamil and Telugu on Jan 25, but a day before the screenings, the Tamil Nadu government imposed a two-week ban on the film after some Muslim groups complained that some scenes in the film portrayed the community in a bad light.

Despite the ban, “Vishwaroopam” released in places like Kerala, a few parts of Hyderabad and Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on Jan 25, but soon after the first show, the screening was banned in these states too. Meanwhile, in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court deferred the verdict on the ban of the film to Jan 28, and is likely to give its ruling.

Actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan, who has written, produced and directed the movie, was requested to settle the matter amicably with the state government of Tamil Nadu on Jan 28. This was after a judge saw the movie in a private screening on Jan 26.

Kamal, 58, described the ban as “cultural terrorism” and added that “any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose.” Following the ban in Tamil Nadu, actors such as superstar Rajinikanth, Ajith Kumar, Parthepan and filmmaker Bharathiraja along with producer Mukta Srinivasan opposed the measure, and urged members from Muslim organisations to allow peaceful release of the film.

“Vishwaroopam” features Kamal in the title role. Other members of the cast include Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah, Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur and Jaideep Ahlawat. Its Hindi version “Vishwaroop” is slated to release Feb 1.

–  ians

Christian Council for Zero Tolerance on SC / ST Attacks

January 31, 2013 by  
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Ashish NandyNew Delhi, January 29, 2013: The All India Christian Council has called for a zero tolerance policy on the protection of the dignity and identity of the Dalits and the Tribals of the country, who anyway continue kept out of the development process and see an accelerated pace of the robbing of their natural heritage.

The aicc sharply criticized the remarks made by social scientists and author Ashish Nandy at the Jaipur Lit Festival in which he insinuated that Dalits, Tribals and OBCs were more corrupt than the upper castes. He has refused to withdraw his remarks, and his explanations have only aggravated the issue.

Dr. Joseph D’ Souza, president of the All India Christian Council, said this is a test case for the law of the land, which is quick to penalize the down trodden but hesitates when it comes to the elite or the politically powerful such as Hindutva hate monger Dr. Praveen Togadia, and others like him.

Prof Nandy’s statement betrays the mind set in intellectual circles and specially in academia which has not come to terms with the rising clamour in the deprived and marginalised sections for their due share in the Indian success story. This assertion for equality at all levels and of dignity and identity comes in conflict with the ego and false pride of the upper castes and classes.

Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the Christian council, said the organisation had great respect for freedom of speech and intellectual activity, but such freedom should not become a license for hate or spreading canards about communities and people’s groups. Such remarks stigmatize an already alienated  people. In fact, it was the colonial British who identified communities as “criminal groups and tribes” and then proceeded to let loose the police on them.

The Council said Prof Nandy’s statement flew in the face of reality and was nor borne out by facts. It was indeed rooted in prejudice.
All the recent scams have shown which social groups are involved in fleecing the nation and stealing its resources. A few caste and class groups have looted the national equity.  In fact there are hardly any Dalits at the level of the Secretary to the Government of India, which remains a monopoly of the upper caste groups.

The council reaffirmed its solidarity with the Dalit-Bahujan and Tribal people of the county in their demand that India’s legal systems, parliament and intelligentsia listen to their grievance s and aspirations with greater sensitivity in the seventh decade of the adopting of the Constitution.

– press release

First time: Japan to ask UNESCO to honour Christian sites

January 31, 2013 by  
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Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures ask Culture Minister Hakubun Shimomura to submit a list of 13 Christian locations as World Heritage Sites, including Oura Cathedral, Pius IX’s ‘miracle of the Orient’, and various places where Christians met martyrdom. Evangelisation in Japan was subjected to one of the harshest repressions in history.

Japan to ask UNESCO to honour Christian sitesJapan, January 29, 2013: For the first time in the country’s history, the Japanese government plans to recommend a group of Christian locations for inclusion in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures on Tuesday submitted a draft proposal to Culture minister Hakubun Shimomura with 13 sites for consideration by the United Nations agency, which is expected to begin deliberating next year if it receives a recommendation by September.

The 13 sites include Nagasaki’s Oura Cathedral, built by two French missionaries from the Société des Missions Étrangères in 1864 to honour 26 Christian martyrs, nine European and 16 Japanese crucified in 1597 on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The building itself was declared a ‘national treasure’ in 1933, the first Western-styled structure to be so recognised.

After its inauguration, people from the village of Urakami asked Fr Petitjean, one of the two missionaries who built the church, if they could go inside to “greet Mary”. The Frenchman thus discovered that they were Kakure Kirishitans, descendants of the first Japanese Christians who went underground as a result of imperial persecution.

Tens of thousands of underground Christians followed this first group, visiting the cathedral and openly practicing their Christian faith. Told about it, Pope Pius IX called the event “a miracle of the Orient”.

In addition to the cathedral, local authorities also other sites recognised, including places where Japanese Christians were martyred and some catacombs where they sought refuge during the period of persecution.

Nagasaki was the point of entry for Japan’s evangelisation. Early Christians were eventually forced to go underground for about 250 years after the Tokugawa Shogunate imposed a ban.

– asianews

CSI to hold Bishops’ Council in Dubai

January 31, 2013 by  
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Twenty two bishops from India and one from Sri Lanka would also attend the meet.

CSI to hold Bishops' Council in DubaiDubai, January 29, 2013: The Church of South India (CSI) will hold its bishop council in Dubai for the first time, in an effort to better involve its people in the Persian Gulf countries in the Church’s programs.

All the 22 bishops from Church of South India and some 2,000 delegates from Gulf countries of Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait and UAE are scheduled to take part in the three-day event that starts tomorrow.

Besides the bishops from south India, a bishop from Sri Lanka would also attend the meet, said M. Durairaj, organizer of the event.

The common service with the holy communion will be arranged for the entire CSI congregation from the UAE and Gulf countries on Feb. 1 Friday at the Holy Trinity Church, Dubai, said Durairaj.

A general meeting of the believers will be held at 4pm on Friday in which over 2,000 representatives are expected to participate, he noted.

The council will discuss further cooperation in bringing all believers together as well as future plans associated with humanitarian efforts of the church through their Good Samaritan Fund, Durairaj added.

The organisers are chartering 100 buses to transport believers from around camps in Dubai and Northern Emirates for congregations held at the Trinity Church.

There are 22 CSI dioceses in India and one in Sri Lanka with more than five million members, he said.

Among the 22, six dioceses are in Andhra Pradesh, four in Karnataka, four in Kerala and eight in Tamil Nadu.

Durairaj said that in the UAE, the church members exceed 100,000, the second largest after Roman Catholics.

The CSI group in the UAE is largely involved in charity and humanitarian activities such as helping prisoners, visiting labor camps, helping dead body repatriation and medical support.

The group is running over 2,000 schools, over 125 colleges and 104 hospitals in different Indian states.

One of the most prominent hospitals where even Arab nationals frequently visit is the famous Vellore Christian Medical College Hospital in Tamil Nadu.

The Church recently started a new ministry for marriage counseling, a task held by the wives of the bishops.

– gulf  today

Mumbai: 37 million lights against selective abortions and violence against women

January 31, 2013 by  
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The number refers to the disparity between males and females reported in the last national census (2011). In the parishes of the Archdiocese 37 million lamps and candles will be lit. For the director of the Catholic weekly The Examiner, spiritual and sexual health formation can bring about a change in attitude that respects the dignity and sacredness of human beings. The message of the Bishops’ Conference for Indian Republic Day.

The parishes of the Archdiocese will symbolically light (in total) 37 million lamps and candlesMumbai, January 26, 2013:  The campaign “37 million lights” begins tomorrow, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Mumbai to sensitize the community to all forms of violence against women: sex-selective abortion, female feticide, dowry murders, rapes, maternal and child mortality. Today India celebrates its 63rd Republic Day, and the debate on the role of women, after the New Delhi gang rape is still alive.  The Archdiocese initiative comes in this context, to reiterate the position taken by the Church from the outset. The title refers to data from the last national census (Census 2011), which states that the disparity between men and women in the population is 37 million.

For this reason, tomorrow evening the parishes of the Archdiocese will symbolically light (in total) 37 million lamps and candles.

Fr. Anthony Charanghat, editor of the archdiocesan weekly The Examiner, told AsiaNews: “In India, sexual violence against women is ancient and widespread as patriarchy. Crimes such as rape, dowry murders, acid attacks, honour crimes, child brides and human trafficking are the order of the day. senseless violence and manic brutality inflicted on the victim [New Delhi, ed] have shaken the conscience of many middle-class citizens, who consider Gender Equality as important as the fight against poverty. ” However, “this movement must go on until justice is done for all our daughters and sisters who have been violated.”

According to the priest, protest and indignation at such crimes “must be translated into reasoned not impulsive actions”. Instead of “invoking draconian penalties or death for those who commit rape”, more than anything else “we need a change in mentality reached through spiritual and sexual health education, while respecting the dignity and sacredness of the human being.”

In his message for the Indian Republic Day, even the Bishops’ Conference (CBCI) returned to the issue of violence against women. The bishops stress that “violence against women and children – not only rapes, but all cases of female infanticide and feticide, harassment, rape, honour and dowry killings – crumble the pillars of society and the nation, stopping the path to peace and prosperity. ”

To defeat these plagues, the CBCI reiterates the importance of “total formation of the person, which should help parents, teachers, elders, spiritual leaders and authorities,” and the futility of “dehumanizing measures such as the death penalty or chemical castration. ” The desire for revenge “must give way to forgiveness,” noting that “human life is a precious gift of God, which no one has the right to take away.”

– asianews

Pak’s double standard & a convert’s interview

January 31, 2013 by  
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Muslim's should know better than to attack holy figuresPakistan, January 21, 2013: As thousands of protesters ended their anti-government sit-in near Parliament House this week, another demonstration seems to be on the horizon after controversial comments by a senior government official.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik took issue with Sufi scholar Tahirul Qadri, who returned to Pakistan from Quebec to spearhead an anti-corruption campaign aimed at disbanding the parliament ahead of upcoming elections this year.

But the ad hominen and bigoted comments revealed more about Malik than anything else.

“His outlook is like a pope. God forbid, his stole even looks like that of a pastor,” Malik said of Qadri. “He should be queried about being a semi-pope.”

Malik was not alone in criticizing the Sufi cleric. Another former minister called him a “Catholic agent,” while a news anchor compared his cleric’s cap to that of a Catholic priest.

The minority Christian population in Pakistan was deeply angered by what they perceived as maligning the office and dignity of the pope.

Twitter and Facebook users quickly responded to the remarks, made in their view to disparage Qadri by also disparaging the leading official of the Catholic Church. Numerous calls for Malik’s resignation quickly followed.

This is not the first time that Pope Benedict XVI has been insulted in Pakistan.

After controversial remarks made by Pope Benedict during a speech at a German university in 2006, in which he quoted a medieval emperor saying that Islam had brought nothing but misery through its use of jihad, there was national outrage and condemnation of the pontiff.

Joseph Francis, national director of the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, called Malik’s comments “sickening” and “intolerable.”

“We shall wage our own long march. The government will be solely responsible for any unrest if we do not get an apology,” said Francis, whose NGO provides legal aid to those accused under the country’s strict blasphemy laws.

“The government should make sure its leaders … abstain from hurting our religious sentiments. We remind them that no Pakistani Christians have ever insulted the imam of Kaaba the most sacred site in Islam] or any other Islamic personality.”

Pakistan’s controversial law on blasphemy is a sensitive topic and has been used repeatedly to justify extra-judicial killings.

Allegations of desecrating the Qu’ran or insulting the Prophet Muhammad have resulted in the torching of people and whole villages.

Only on Thursday, the Supreme Court heard a petition filed against Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, charging the diplomat with blasphemy during an interview with a news channel two years ago.

Rehman had introduced a private member’s bill to the National Assembly against the death penalty in cases of blasphemy in 2010 but was forced to withdraw the bill after receiving death threats.

It is unlikely that Malik – or indeed any official – would withdraw or apologize for any perceived slight to the Roman Catholic Church. Even the Catholic Church in Pakistan has largely ignored the remarks and requested that the Christian community remain calm.

Fr Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan has appealed to all leaders to keep dissent and political battles within the limits of decency, the violation of which reflects poorly on democratic culture.

“The remarks were unnecessary and provocative, as there is no comparison or link between the two personalities; one being the largest faith group in the world and another with credentials prerogative of Pakistanis and Muslims to ascertain,” he said in a statement.

However the deeply rooted religious affiliations that have become a hallmark of our nation cannot be rooted out no matter what religion they belong to. And Muslims are to be blamed for much of the influence.

The charred ruins of cinemas and broken government buildings left by waves of destruction that followed the posting of a trailer for an anti-Islam film posted on YouTube still remind us that we exist in a society where religion is the order of the day. The latest hearing in the country’s top court shouts the same mindset prevalent in assemblies and those assigned to provide justice.

The Catholic Church has never supported a law against insulting Christian personages and has always stood with the movements for democracy and human rights. But the attitude displayed by the interior minister, who is otherwise assigned a responsible task, will not help in improving harmony and peace in the country.

Our leaders should be careful in making controversial and nonsensical statements when speaking of religious personalities, especially if they are Muslims.

Silent Thinker is a journalist and commentator based in Lahore

– ucanews

Pak Islamic convert receives threats from extremists

Ayub MasihPakistan, January 29, 2013: Converted from Islam receiving threats from extremists that they will kill them and their families.He has received threatening letters from different Islamic Organizations, told Ayub to LEAD. He also added that his meetings were conducted with different Christians organizations and with foreign delegations but not a single one helped us.

Ayub Masih has come to LEAD office and told his story of conversion from Islam to Christianity. He also said how he had spent his four years in Christian faith. He is living in hidden. He has no job or any kind of work for earning his livelihood. He added ” I and my wife are satisfied that we have Jesus in our lives “.

Muhammad Ayub (Christian name Ayub Masih):
Family Back Ground:

I have four sisters and one brother ,my father was died in 1996 and my mother is alive. My family belongs to tribe of Jutt (tuddy). I was married in 1998. I have two children one son and daughter. My son is 11 years old and my daughter is 4 years old. My family is learned family and have well knowledge of religion.

How I accepted Christianity:

I was working in Sahiwal as cable net work as a recovery in-charge. Some Muslims Colleagues told me that there was one Muslim who accepted Christian religion and denounced Islam. I was surprised and as well as shocked to know this story of conversion from Islam to Christianity. I told that informer that I wanted to meet him face to face.  My message was conveyed to that person. The person who accepted Christian religion his name was Zubair Shah and after accepting Jesus his name was changed as Emmanuel Shah. Emanuel Shah was reluctant to meet me and in this way four months passed away. After making satisfaction that I was not going to create any problem for him then he was ready to meet me in person and willing to talk with me. I had asked some questions to Shah sahab that why you had changed his religion and how you changed his religion which was the surety of Paradise. I put many questions regarding his conversion from Islam and tried to reconvert him towards Islam. He never ever tried to influence me towards Christian religion that I would accept Jesus Christ. One day he gave me Holy Bible for reading but I returned him saying that I did not know any thing about Bible. I asked him that If you made me satisfied from Holy Quran then I would accept. One my this question he gave me many references from Holy Bible regarding the personality of Jesus Christ and references about earlier Holy Books. He gave me Bible and told me to read it you would find all answers of your questions. I read the Bible and read Quranic references about Jesus and Mary. I made comparison of different topics such as Day Of Judgement, Salvation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ , while comparing Bible and Quran I found that Jesus Christ had the all Authorities. This was my turning appoint towards Christianity.

How I was baptized:

I was under pressure while I changed my mind to accept Jesus because of Apostasy and fear of killing and other problems from Muslims. At the end I put all my worries on God thinking that God would guide me through dream what is right for me and what is wrong? I had a dream and saw that my father , who died 18 years ago, was sitting on the bench of Church and asked me that why you had not swept and cleaned the Church. I was satisfied that Jesus had given this Good News to my father and this was my encouragement to accept Jesus Christ. I told to Shah sahab about this and he gave me the reference of Pastor Munir Phool and he baptized me.

How My wife came to Jesus:

I often read Bible and my wife often asked many questions about Bible why I read this Book. One day I shared with her about my accepting of Christian Religion. My wife told that did you know that after doing this our relationship as husband and wife would be dissolved. I shared that all my matters and problems I had put on God , He would guide me what I had to do. We both spent that night in silence and on morning she told that what you had done you should have not to show and tell any body. This was between you and your God. In this way we spent one year. We both did not force each other regarding religion. After one year she showed her interest in Christianity and shared with me that she also wanted to accept Jesus Christ. In this way she was also baptized by Pastor Munir Phool. We both willing to get baptized of Children too but Pastor told that Children would be baptized when they would be matured.

How my family came to know about our new life in Jesus:

After our baptism, Mr. Emmanuel Shah shared with some Christians families about our conversion from Islam to Christianity.The news about this conversion spread within our area and locality during this my family also came to know about our conversion. My brother asked me about this conversion and I told him truth.I also started to preach him ,he became agree to accept Jesus Christ on our exchange of coversation,but he shared with our brother in law and after that he retracted from conversion.

Threats and hardships which I and my family suffered:

I had received many threats from family members and also boycotted from my family. They also kicked out from my house and also deprived of from my father’s property. In this way many Muslims came to know all this story of my conversion.I received many unknown phone calls and warned to accept again Islam otherwise i would be killed. I also received some threatening letters from different Islamic organizations. One night we were sitting in street because the light was broke down and weather was hot. Two men on motor bike came to our house and one of then said that this was the man who was sitting and the other one who was at the back of bike sitting fired at me, I was luckily saved but they thought that i had hit by fire and they ran away. After this incident we were very scared and fearful which is still going on.

I got into contact with Sohail John by Pastor Munir Phool. I told him all this incident and my problems which I and my family is facing until now. They have arranged many meetings with different foreigners and told them our problems which we were facing due to our Christian faith. He has not helped me and supported me until now.
My request to LEAD:

I request LEAD , please help me and my family and save our lives. I will be very thankful.

– LEAD is a Pak Christian relief, development and advocacy organization

The Coal Basket Bible

January 31, 2013 by  
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The Bible and the Coal Basket

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountainsof  Kentucky with his young grandson.  Each morning,  Grandpa was up early  sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old  worn-out Bible.  His  grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to  read the Bible just like you  but I don’t  understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I  close the book.  What good does reading the Bible do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and  said,”Take this coal basket down to the river and  bring back a basket of  water.”

The boy did as he was told, even though all  the water leaked out  beforehe could get back to the house.  The grandfather laughed and said,  “Youwill have to move a little faster next time,”  and sent him back to  the  river with  the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the  basket was empty before  hereturned home. Out of breath, he told his  grandfather that it was”impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went  to get a bucketinstead. The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of  water; I want a basketof  water.  You can do this. You’re just not trying hard  enough,” and hewent  out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was  impossible, but he wanted to showhis grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he  could, the water wouldleak out before he got far at all.  The boy scooped  the water and ranhard,  but when he reached his grandfather the basket was  again empty. Out  of  breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” the old man  said.  “Look at the basket.” The boy looked at the basket and for the  first time he realized that  thebasket looked different.    Instead of a dirty  old coal basket, it wasclean. “Son, that’s what happens when you read the  Bible.  You might notunderstand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change youfrom the inside out.”  That is the work of God in  our lives.   To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform usinto the image of His son.

Take time to read a portion of God’s word each day, and remind a  friend by sharing this story.”Live Simply, Love Generously, Care Deeply,  Speak Kindly, Leave the Rest  to God.”

– joe eruppakkatt

Do not judge whats on the outside

January 29, 2013 by  
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Do Not Judge

Do Not Judge

Do Not Judge

Do not Judge whats on the outside

Sometimes people are quick to judge others,
when what you see isn’t really all there.

People have different moods different personalities
different desires, so what you’re really seeing
is only a mask, of what others want you to see.

On the inside, we all have the same desires,
a kind smile,a warm heart,a tender soul,
all wanting to be reached on the inside.

We’re all not perfect,only  human, we’ll have ups and downs
like a merry-go-round, we’ll make many mistakes.

But just remember, the next time you see a person,
do not judge whats on the outside, we could be having a bad day.

Try and see on the inside, and you will see, the kind smile,
the warm heart, the tender soul, reaching out….

Do not Judge whats on the outside

– vc mathews

Sawantwadi Prayer Meet Targeted. Police fail to act

January 29, 2013 by  
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Sawantwadi Christian prayer meeting disrupted. Over 600 believers targeted

Sanathan Sanstha suspected of disturbing communal peace in Sindhudurg

The CSF finds police mute spectators, with allegations of communal bias

Sawantwadi Christian prayer meeting disrupted. Over 600 believers targeted

The CSF, India’s activist community NGO has urged the chief minister and home minister of Maharashtra to ensure that Christians in the state, particularly in the Sindhudurg region are protected. According to Joseph Dias, the CSF general secretary, who undertook a fact-finding tour of the coastal belt, Hindutva fundamentalists are hyper active in the area, threatening Christians from attending prayer meetings. His visit came in the wake of the most recent attack on over 600 believers in the Sawantwadi Municipal Hall on 11th January, 2013 prayer meeting. The CSF suspects fundamentalists active in the Sanathan Sanstha and anti-minority political parties or forces are responsible for such communal disturbances.

Joseph Dias said that ” in view of the communally charged situation in the Sindudurg district all prayer meetings are being held under police protection and need police permission, which is a gross violation of a Christian’s constitutional right to freedom of religion. But even, worse is the fact that the police are mute spectators and at times even appear to have colluded with the attackers. Pastors from different parts of the region came forth with various complaints and were mortally afraid to air them out openly, since their lives have been threatened, as have been that of hundreds of believers.

The Christians in the entire belt live in fear and are not able to practice their religion freely due to eminent possibility of renewed attacks. Joseph Dias in his report to the chief minister and home minister observed:

1. In the Malvan attack even a 8.5 month pregnant woman, was hauled by the police and she gave birth 15 days later. A man suffering from diabetes was not spared and he died weeks later.

2. The police in Sawantwadi clearly appeared to side with the fundamentalists and threatened cross cases, if Christians did not settle with the attackers of the prayer meeting and who were not interested in any dialogue.

3. The communal groups like Sanathan Sanstha and fundamentalist politicians are suspected to be behind the attacks – instigating and carrying out the pre-planned attacks, through their foot-soldiers in the Sindhudurg region.

4. The local vernacular media is tipped of the attacks and carry one-sided false reports, flaming communal passions and turning the majority against the Christians, with their coverage. The police can easily identify and act against the culprits, but don’t.

5. Any prayer meeting in the district needs police permission and restrictions are placed on venues being rented out for prayer meetings. Police no objection is asked for to pray and Christians are finding it difficult to rent out venues for meetings.

6. The areas around Malvan and Sawantwadi that are sensitive, include – Oras, Kudal, Banda, Kankavli, Pinguli, etc. and police need to be vigilant, with the Collector instructed to act immediately against communal forces and protect life and property of Christian victims, rather than threatening the community members.

7. The district has not had a history of communal violence and with a view to consolidate the Hindu vote, politicians and communal organizations are targeting minorities, especially the Christians who are a soft target. Inspite of The CSF cautioning the authorities in the aftermath of the Malvan and Palghar attacks, little attention is being paid by the police.

Joseph Dias describes the latest incident a worship meeting being disrupted in Sawantwadi on 11th January, 2013, as below:

Date: 11th January, 2013
Place: Sawantwadi taluka, Sindhudurg district, Maharashtra state

Brief : The New Life Grace Ministry Church was conducting a thanksgiving prayer service for the year past and the year ahead. Pastor Benjamin Gomes was leading over 600 believers who had gathered in the Sawantwadi Municipal Hall in prayer. The permission was taken and police also informed of the same, as the Christians were anticipating trouble. In the middle of the worship a group of hoodlums barged into the hall and disrupted the prayer meeting. The Hinduva fundamentalists abused and threatened the Christian villagers. They then beat up the believers mercilessly, including many women, children and aged Christians, ultimately forcing them to stop worship and look helplessly to the police.

The media was present to report on the attack on the Christians and the believers were threatened in front of the police, with the police taking no action against the attackers. In spite of prior intimation and the incidence of crimes against women and the minorities being highlighted, the police offered no protection and it appeared that the culprits were given a free hand.

No FIR or case was registered against the Hindutva fundamentalists and the Christians are reduced to running from pillar to post. Even worse, is the fact that the communalists threatened to disrupt and stop any Christian prayer meetings in the district, which has made the believers not want to complain out of fear.

Some videos recorded clearly show the Christians quietly expecting the police to come to their assistance, but they did not. The culprits also can be easily identified, but to date no action has been taken. A section of the vernacular media was one-sided in its reporting, not mentioning the Christian point of view.

No evidence for the allegations of conversions made by the attackers can be produced and false FIRs or cross complaints are being threatened by the police.

– csf

 

China: Gao Zhisheng’s family members allowed first prison visit since March 2012

January 29, 2013 by  
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Gao Zhisheng’s family members allowed first prison visit since March 2012 China, January 23, 2013: The younger brother and father-in-law of Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng were allowed to visit him at Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on 12 January, the first family visit he has received since March 2012. In a phone conversation with Human Rights in China (HRIC), Gao’s wife Geng He reported that Gao’s mind seemed ‘clear’ and he spoke normally.

Gao Zhisheng, a prominent Beijing human rights lawyer who has defended Falun Gong practitioners and house church Christians, was first detained in 2009. Following international pressure Gao reappeared in March 2010, during which time he told Associated Press that he had been severely tortured whilst in detention. He disappeared again in April 2010 and nothing was known of his whereabouts until 16 December 2011 when the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Gao had violated the terms of his probation and had been returned to prison for 3 years. Gao’s brother Gao Zhiyi has repeatedly requested permission to visit him in prison.

This month’s visit is important confirmation that Gao is still alive. In August 2012 two rights defence lawyers who travelled from Beijing to meet with Gao were told that he did not want to see any family or lawyers. Then in November 2012, on the eve of the 18th National Party Congress, Gao’s family received a letter purporting to be from Gao himself instructing them not to visit him.  His brother thought the letter was strange and became worried for Gao’s safety.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “CSW is very pleased that two members Gao Zhisheng’s family have been allowed to visit him in prison. However, we remain concerned about the lack of information about Gao’s well-being and the schedule for his release. We urge the Chinese authorities to allow Gao’s family and legal representatives access to him in prison and to ensure that he is treated in line with the standards set out in the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners”.

– csw

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