Pakistan’s minority community is fighting back: Daily

March 12, 2013 by  
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Pakistan MinoritiesPakistan, March 11, 2013: Pakistan’s minority community, which has been pushed into a corner after repeated attacks, is now fighting back, said a daily Monday.

“It is with deep sadness that one contemplates how 2013 is turning out to be one of the worst years for minorities in Pakistan’s sordid history of sectarian violence,” said an editorial in the Daily Times.

Militant ire has been directed at the Shias throughout the first three months of this year and now mob frenzy has bared its teeth at a Christian colony in Lahore.

On Friday, a rowdy and angry crowd spread terror at Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore. “This violent and obviously militant crowd made its way back to the colony the very next day, Saturday, with a mission even more sinister. They reached the Christian residential area and burned to the ground 150 homes, destroying in moments of irrational aggression the lives and assets of many Christian families.”

“Just how these vigilantes were able to return to the scene of the crime the next day without any obstacle in their path is mindboggling. There was not a single law enforcement officer present in Joseph Colony – an area under obvious threat after Friday’s events – which is why this mob found it easy to ransack the place and set ablaze the homes of so many Christians,” said the daily.

The Christian minority has reacted.

“On Saturday, hundreds of protesters stormed Ferozepur Road in Lahore and different areas in Karachi, demanding that something be done about this unforgivable act. In Lahore, they attacked an office of the Metro Bus System and in Karachi, Rangers had to resort to aerial firing.”

“…this was the first time one has really seen a minority in Pakistan fighting back. Pushed into a corner after repeated attacks … the Christians turned to violent protests themselves, burning tyres, smashing bus windows, etc, to show that they had had enough,” the editorial added.

The daily went on to seek adequate safeguards for the rights of minorities.

“The fact that any Tom, Dick or Harry can accuse anyone of blasphemy without any sort of evidence to back up the claim is what is leading to this insanity in the name of religion. It is so simple and the results are so murderous that the very suspicion of blasphemy is enough to make one cower in their boots,” it said.

“Usually, this country’s minorities are targeted and most of the time the accusations are bogus – revenge, hidden agendas and provocation are the only reasons blasphemy accusations are so common, and nothing is done to stop them,” the daily added.

– tcn

Konkani Bible launched for android phones

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It be available for free download at Google play stores worldwide.

Konkani Bible launchedKarnataka, March 11, 2013: The Catholic Konkani Bible for android phones was launched yesterday.

The Bible would now also be available for free download at Google play stores worldwide.

“The thirst for the word of God has increased in the present times. And to spread the word through modern digital ways will make it better accessible,” said Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore.

The seekers of the Word of God can read the Bible while waiting at bus stands, railway stations, while traveling and other such occasions, he said after launching the Konkani Bible for android phones.

The Bible was launched with the joint initiative of Mangalore diocese and Jesus Youth.

Fr. Vijay Victor Lobo, Director of Sandesha and Canara Communication Centre of Mangalore diocese said the app would definitely be a boost to all the Konkani speaking Catholics, who can now access entire authentic Konkani Catholic bible on their fingertips.

This app comes with additional features like background music, bookmark and a unique Konkani keyboard to search Konkani words in the entire Bible making it more like a bible study tool, he added.

‘The Hindi bible was launched for android phones in Mumbai in 2012 during a national convention of Jesus Youth after Bibles in Malayalam and Telugu.

“Being inspired by that, the Jesus Youth from Mangalore had taken up the Konkani version in association with the Mangalore diocese,” said Shibu Devasya.

Devasya is a Jesus Youth member from Hyderabad who has given technical support to the Konkani bible for android phones through EthicCoders.

Fr. Lobo said the iPhone/iPad and windows version is in development stage and would be released by Easter.

“With initiatives like these sprouting, one can definitely say that the Catholic Church in India is going hi-tech way, in response to New Evangelization call by both former popes,” he added.

– ucan

Pastor & believers attacked & hospitalised in Udupi

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Pastor and believers attacked and HospitalisedKarnataka, March 09, 2013: Pastor Robert Lobo was conducting an all-night prayer in Moodubelle village near Udupi on Friday, 8-3-2013. The name of the ministry which he is serving is The Word of Victory Ministry. There were about 25 believers attending the prayer meeting. Around 10.30 in the night when the prayer meeting was in progress, a group of about 30 Hindu fundamentalists belonging to the RSS and the Bajaranga Dal, barged into the premises and started beating up the believers mercilessly accusing them of forcible conversion of Hindus to Christianity.

Six believers and a pastor were injured in the attack. Pastor Ramesh Poojari was seriously injured and is undergoing treatment in the Manipal Hospital near Udipi for head injury. Others who were attacked and are physically harmed are – Mr. Ramesh, Mr. Prem, Mr. Suraj, Ms Sujatha, Ms Shasikala, Mr Shantharam, and Mr. Janardhan. All of them have been admitted in the Ajarakadu Government hospital in Udupi.

Sajan K George was alerted about the incident in the dead of night around 2.00 A.M. intervened in the matter and spoke to the senior police officials in Udupi and explained to them about the serious attack against innocent Christians in Moodubelle. The police who assured him of the proper action and apprehend and arrest the culprits involved in the attack took immediate steps.

It is learnt that the Udupi District SP Dr Boralingaiah and the senior police officials from Udupi along with a posse of police officials and constables from the Shirva police station reached the spot early hours of Saturday and arrested 10 culprits involved in the attack. Names of some of the arrested are Sanjeev Poojary, Ranjith Poojary, Sukesh, Dilip, Jayaprakash, Prakash, Raghavendra Acharya, Ramesh Shetty, Satish, Vishwanath Acharya and Suresh. FIR was filed against all the attackers and after charge-sheeting them under several sections of IPC including 295-A, they were produced before the local Magistrate who sent them to Jail at Udupi. We also learn that later in the day on Saturday the Western Zone IG, Mr. Pratap Reddy also paid a visit to the place of attack.

Speaking to media persons, IGP (western range) Pratap Reddy said that immediate action will be taken in the matter. “We are taking this incident seriously. Already around 10 persons have been arrested and the rest will be caught soon. Such kinds of incidents will not be tolerated,” he said.

SP Dr Boralingaiah also assured quick action in the case and said that FIR has already been registered against the arrested people. A clear picture will emerge only after further investigations, he added.

“This prayer house has been in existence from 12 years. Bajrang Dal has given us warnings before but never attacked. Eight years ago they had attempted to attack but timely action by the police had foiled their plan,” said Roshan, claiming that the group assaulted them this time for around 45 minutes.

– persecution.in & pic by daijiworld

Bangalore Catholics protest naming university, after Tipu

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The Catholics demanded the Karnataka government to name the university after Reverend Ferdinand Kittel.

Bangalore Catholics protestKarnataka, March 11, 2103: Around 600 Catholics in Bangalore took part in a demonstration against naming a proposed university in Srirangapatna after Emperor Tipu Sultan.

The Catholics demanded the Karnataka government to name the university after Reverend Ferdinand Kittel.

“Tipu Sultan was responsible for forcefully converting about 70,000 Catholics from Udupi, Mangalore and Karwar to Islam,” said T. J, Abraham, an RTI activist.

The demonstrators displayed banners urging authors, writers and litterateurs to put pressure on the government in this regard.

“Kittel wrote the first Kannada to English dictionary. How has Tipu contributed to the literature, art and culture of Karnataka,” Abraham asked.

The protestors who are planning to submit a memorandum to the prime minister and also to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi have threatened not to support Congress if their demands are not met.

“Over 500 Christians will travel from Karwar to Madikeri covering Udupi, Mangalore and other coastal areas during the upcoming assembly elections seeking Christians of the coastal area to vote against the Congress,” said Abraham.

The protestors also added that the government can name the university after A. P. J. Abdul Kalam if they did not want it to be named after the Reverend.

– deccan herald

Pakistan textbooks raise debate about ‘curriculum of hate’

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

School in MingoraPakistan, February 28, 2013: In a public school located just outside the capital, a classroom of ninth-graders follows quietly along in their history textbooks as their teacher reads out loud about what happened shortly after the creation of Pakistan in 1947:

“Caravans that were on the way to Pakistan were attacked by Hindus and Sikhs. Not a single Muslim was left alive in trains coming to Pakistan.”

As the magnitude of the sentence registers with the students, the phrase “No Muslim was left alive!” echoes around the classroom from whispered lips. Students are clearly engaged with the subject and clearly disturbed with what history they have just learned.

The only problem? That description in the students’ books is highly misleading.

Though the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 was indeed one of massive violence, Mubarak Ali, who has written several books on India-Pakistan history, says this is a one-sided account of events and an exaggerated version of the truth.  In fact, it was the Pakistani side where the communal riots started, and in reaction, Indians responded, he says, adding: “But very few trains were attacked. And many more made it alive, which is not taught.”

Dr. Ali says that such content should be expunged from school books, much as India has managed to do.

“Instead of teaching Pakistani youth that Hindus from India are to be blamed for everything, textbooks should critically look at this communal violence, which can actually be traced to the way both Muslims and Hindus responded to British imperialism before the independence. We should not glorify this division but rather criticize it, because Muslims and Hindus coexisted peacefully for centuries before,” he says.

Across Pakistan, government-sanctioned school textbooks contain blatantly anti-religious-minority, anti-Western material. And many are worried the curriculum  is fueling intolerance, especially among youths – leading to violent behavior and even sympathy for the Taliban.

“Such textbooks try to create and define Pakistani nationalism in a very narrow sense. It tries to define it in term of an Islamic identity,” says Abdul Hameed Nayyar, a well-known historian, activist, and former physicist who is part of a Lahore-based campaign to encourage teachers around the country to raise awareness about this issue by calling it “the curriculum of hatred” and encouraging teachers to stop using the textbooks.

After the teacher finishes reading, he asks another student to continue reading aloud from the next chapter, which focuses on why Pakistan came into existence: “Narrow-mindedness of the Hindus and the conspiracies of whites led to the call of this Islamic country, Pakistan.”

When asked later about his opinion of Hindus and Christians, the student reiterates what his textbook said. “I think Hindus are against Pakistan, against Islam. Hindus are like that. And even the British and the non-Muslims – they still oppose Pakistan,” he adds.

That type of reaction is a problem, say activists, who note that school history texts are used by impressionable children and should be based in fact, not opinion, as students form their own ideas about the world. “These books try to show Pakistan and Muslims are victims of all kinds of conspiracy, from lots of people from many countries, which results in making people very paranoid,” says Mr. Nayyar. “And they become infused with narrowmindedness,” which can lead to extremism, he adds.

‘The subtle subversion’

Each province has its own textbook board, which reviews and approves textbooks for use in both public and private schools.

The current curriculum came into use following the end of colonial rule and bitter break with India, which was considered an enemy.  Later, during the rule of Gen. Zial ul-Haq, the curriculum was further radicalized, introducing the Soviet war in Afghanistan as “a new front for jihad.” Haq’s vision was to Islamize Pakistan, inspired by Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islam.

Nayyar, who co-wrote a 2003 study called “The Subtle Subversion” that points out historical faults in textbooks and how the inaccuracies affect children, has been struggling for more than a decade to change them. The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), a minority rights organization, estimates that nearly every school in Pakistan uses the textbooks.

“During the early years of Musharraf [Pakistan’s last military dictator] rule, I was asked by the government to give in my recommendations to improve the curriculum, which were incorporated in the syllabus,” says Nayyar.

One of the changes he suggested and that was made was to redefine the word “jihad” in textbooks. Though the textbooks have it as “waging a holy war against infidels,” the literal meaning of the word means “struggle,” or “striving,” a meaning, he says, that deserves a much broader definition. He proposed that textbooks should explain that the term should refer to “fighting evils inside oneself.”

But his changes were short-lived.

Pressured by religious parties from whom he was seeking political support, Musharraf restored the original curriculum a few months later.

Rejuvenated efforts

But the NCJP approached Nayyar recently, knowing he had led the fight to modernize Pakistan’s textbooks for years.

Now Nayyar and the NCJP have come up with an updated analysis of Pakistan’s curriculum in both public and private schools by detailing lessons from the books sentence by sentence, highlighting content that is biased against ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan, as well as hypernationalism against India and the West.

In many chapters outlined by NCJP, modern Hindus are referred to as “gangsters” and Christians are referred to as “violent crusaders.”

According to the report, the hate content in textbooks has more than doubled since the last time they were revised. For example, some 30 Grade 5 to 10 textbooks published in Punjab,  examined in 2009, were found to have 12 instances of biased material that could be considered “hate content.”  In 2012, the textbooks underwent a curriculum revision. After another review, the total number of quantifiable instances of questionable or factually incorrect material went up to 33, according to Peter Jacob, the study’s author.

Curriculum authorities respond

When Pakistan’s Federal Textbook Board – a government body that authorizes and reviews content published in schoolbooks – was contacted, at first they denied that there was such content.

When a Monitor correspondent confronted them with the latest report by NCJP, Riaz Ahmad, head of the government curriculum committee, promised to look into it.

“We try our best to check such content, but since our society belongs to religious people, it is tough to bring [such] changes,” Dr. Ahmad says, adding that the curriculum has to respect the society it is being taught in.

In the meantime, some schools have begun to write their own textbooks. One such private school, Indus Valley School of Learning, based in Rawalpindi, has come up with its own curriculum. It has yet to find a publisher, which makes education here expensive, but appears to be promoting understanding among the youths studying here.

Yasmeen Ashraf, the owner and principal of the school, says, “ The extremism that we have seen in Pakistan can be beaten through the school, through the education system by properly developing curriculum.”

– cs monitor

Pak: 25 Christian houses burnt over blasphemy

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Pakistani police officials examine the burnt out houses of members of the Christian community attacked by Muslim demonstratorsPakistan, March 10, 2013: A mob enraged over alleged blasphemy set on fire a number of houses belonging to Christians in Badami Bagh on Saturday.

There was no casualty as members of the Christian community, including women and children, had left the neighbourhood on Friday night after police advised them to do so.

A church and several shops were also torched by the mob. Police put the number of burnt houses at 125. Around 25 were arrested.

The blasphemy suspect was identified as 26-year-old Sawan Masih. Police took him into custody in the small hours of Saturday. Later a magistrate sent him on judicial remand.

Thousands of protesters armed with sticks, clubs and stones ransacked Joseph Colony, which is surrounded by iron warehouses, and then set over 100 residential properties as well as some motorcycles and rickshaws on fire.

A clash between the police and the arsonists left a number of people injured from both sides.

Fire-fighters succeeded in dousing the flames after battling for several hours.

A heavy police contingent cordoned off the area for rescue work.

As soon as businessmen saw the mob, they shuttered their shops and warehouses.

Witnesses and police said an angry crowd ransacked and burnt the entire locality comprising 175 small houses, a day after all Christian families left the area because police had alerted them to the possibility of an attack.

They said a majority of attackers who had lodged a protest a couple of days ago assembled on Noor Road, facing Joseph Colony, and started setting houses and shops on fire.

The affected people accused police of doing nothing to pre-empt the plunder.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif issued orders for suspension of two police officers and for making two others OSD.

City SP (Operations) Multan Khan, who was made OSD, said the arson attacks began at around 11:30am and up to 7,000 people took part in it.

He said the accused and the complainant had quarrelled under the influence of liquor on March 7, but the latter painted it as a case of blasphemy.

The case was registered on March 8 under Section 295-C of the Blasphemy Act.“I returned after dropping my children at their school around 8am and saw people gathering at the roundabout. They later started throwing furniture and crockery from houses and burning them,” said Muhammad Safdar, a local resident.He said most of the attackers belonged to the Pakhtun community.

According to him, tension gripped the locality after Imran Shahid, a barber, and blasphemy accused Sawan exchanged hot words on Thursday.Safdar said most Christian families had left the area after Sawan’s house was attacked on Friday evening.

A group of protesters visited the police station on Saturday morning and asked police to identify the accused. Later people gathered outside the colony and ransacked houses, he added.Imran Shahid accused Sawan of making blasphemous remarks about Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) after the latter came to his shop.However, Dilawar Masih, who lost his house and shop in the attack, said: “Both Imran and Sawan are close friends and the former has made the allegation only to settle a personal score because they had quarrelled over some petty matter.”

Dilawar wondered why the attackers burned their houses after the accused was handed over to police by the mob.He said a few policemen deployed on Friday evening fled the next day after the angry crowd attacked the houses.A local woman, who identified herself as midwife Riaz, claimed Imran and Sawan dealt in liquor business and the former got the latter implicated in a fake blasphemy case. She said Sawan was handed over to police by local people, including Christians, on the demand of Muslims.

Raja Asif, standing outside his burnt house, said around 165 houses were destroyed.Religious scholars, led by the prayer leader of Badshahi Masjid, visited the place on Saturday and persuaded the mob to disperse.The Badami Bagh attack is the second such incident during the tenure of the PML-N-led Punjab government.A few years ago, people burnt a Christian colony in Gojra (Toba Tek Singh) over alleged blasphemy.

INQUIRY: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf have ordered an immediate inquiry into the attacks.

“President Zardari called for a report into this unfortunate incident and said such acts of vandalism against minorities tarnish the image of the country,” his spokesman Farhatullah Babar said in a statement.Prime Minister Ashraf also ordered an “expeditious inquiry and measures to stop recurrence of such incidents”, his office said in a statement.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the government would not spare those involved in the attack.“These people committed a serious crime… there was no moral, legal or religious ground to indulge in such an act,” he told a TV channelThe exact number of houses in Joseph Colony was not immediately known but police and rescue officials said they belonged to low to middle-class families from the minority community.“At least 160 houses, 18 shops and two small churches were burnt by protesters,” Dr Raza, who was busy in rescue operations in the area, said.

Zohra Yusuf, chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, put the number of houses burnt at over 100. She criticised the provincial government in a statement and said “it totally failed in providing protection to a minority community under siege”.Shamaun Alfred Gill, a spokesman for the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, also condemned the incident and called upon the government to ensure safety of life and limb to Christians.

Pakistan Christians rally over Lahore attacks

protesters threw bricks at Christian houses

Pakistan, March 10, 2013: Angry protesters threw bricks at Christian houses after setting them on fire in Lahore [AP] Dozens of Pakistani Christians have protested in Karachi, hours after mobs ransacked a Christian neighborhood in Lahore and torched dozens of homes.

Mobs on Saturday caused widespread damage in the eastern Pakistani city after hearing reports that a Christian man had committed blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad, according to a police officer.

The group of Christians in Karachi said the Punjab government should have given the Christian community more protection in Lahore following the allegations of blasphemy.

“It’s very very sad and that’s why I want to appeal to the government; please look into the matter and see also that the people who are affected, their properties are burnt,” Father Peter John, from the Saint Patrick Church in Karachi, said.

“They should also get some sort of compensation.”

Blasphemy is a serious crime in Pakistan that can carry the death penalty, but sometimes outraged residents exact their own retribution for perceived insults of the prophet.

Homes ransacked

On Friday night, a large crowd from a nearby mosque went to the home of the Christian man in Lahore accused of insulting the prophet, and police took the man into custody to try to pacify the crowd.

Fearing for their safety, hundreds of Christian families fled the area overnight.

Police said the mob returned on Saturday and began ransacking Christian homes and setting them ablaze.

The police spokesperson said no one in the Christian community was hurt, but several policemen were injured when they were hit with stones as they tried to keep the crowd from storming the area.

Pakistan is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, with Christians making up around two percent of the population.

Christianity in the Middle East

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Christianity in the Middle EastMarch 11, 2013: At First Things, Peter J Leithart has made some interesting observations about the state of Christianity in the Middle East. Once the heartland of the Christian faith, this area of the globe has been a hard place for a Christian to live in the last 50 years or so.  Just read the list provided by Leithart:

“According to Walter Russell Mead, more than half of the Christians in Iraq have fled the country since 2003. Today it’s happening in Syria. Swedish journalist Nuri Kino reports on a ‘silent exodus of Christians from Syria’ in the face of ‘kidnappings and rapes.’ It’s a regional trend. Two years ago Caroline Glick reported that ‘at the time of Lebanese independence from France in 1946 the majority of Lebanese were Christians. Today less than 30 percent of Lebanese are Christians. In Turkey, the Christian population has dwindled from 2 million at the end of World War I to less than 100,000 today. In Syria, at the time of independence Christians made up nearly half of the population. Today 4 percent of Syrians are Christian. In Jordan half a century ago 18 percent of the population was Christian. Today 2 percent of Jordanians are Christian.’”

This is sad reading, especially when you consider that the reason for this collapse in the native Christian numbers is largely due to persecution.  However, these were not the interesting observations that I wished to highlight. Unfortunately, reports of Christians fleeing countries where the belief in the resurrection of Christ has been around for two thousand years are all too commonplace nowadays. What was interesting was the other half of the story that Leithart identifies: that of Muslim conversion in the Middle East to Christianity.

“An Iranian dissident told [Joel] Rosenberg that there may be as many as 4.5 million converts in Iran. New Testaments and other Christian literature have flooded Iran, and Iraqi pastors cannot keep up with the demand for Christian books and pamphlets. Out of the carnage of Sudan, as many as a million have become Christians since 2000. By 2005, there were reportedly 100,000 Christian converts in Saudi Arabia. Because of vicious persecution, it is impossible to tell how many Christians there are in Afghanistan, but some have estimated as many as 20-30,000, and there is a similar number in Uzbekistan, a country that twenty-five years ago had only a handful of believers. Accurate numbers are difficult to find and more difficult to confirm, but even if these are inflated, there’s little doubt that something remarkable is happening.”

This has not gone unnoticed in the Muslim world:

“The trend is alarming enough to provoke a reaction from Islamic regimes. Ahmad Al Qataani startled a journalist in a December 2001 interview by saying that “every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.” In 2004, a Shiite apologist, Hasan Mohammadi, was sent out to high school students to preserve their faith, since “on average every day, fifty Iranian girls and boys convert secretly to Christian denominations in our country.” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to stop Christianity’s spread in Iran, and under his watch Christian leaders have been kidnapped and murdered.”

Go and read the full story and see some of the reasons that Leithart identifies for these conversions. The one thing that is lacking is any statistics or analysis of the denominations that are proving most successful in these countries. While no one is suggesting that Syria and Egypt of the fourth century are going to reappear, stories like this do give one to pause. From my position of external ignorance I subconsciously tend to view Islam as a monolithic bloc, perhaps even unchanging. This is not the case – there is change and movement within Muslim countries. Despite persecutions and violence against Christians, some brave Muslims are not afraid to convert. Furthermore, it does help to correct the view that Christianity is mainly a Western, white religion. (This is something that commentators routinely forget in the West.) Actually the demography of Christianity has changed remarkably in the last few hundred years, is continuing to change at this moment and will continue to change in the future. Perhaps we will live to see a Nigerian Archbishop of Canterbury? Or another Syrian Pope?

– mercatornet

Story: Facing trials

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Today’s Scripture

Scripture

 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3 (NIV).

 

Thoughts for Today

My son sauntered from his room, proudly announcing he was ready for his test the next day. “I’ve studied all my notes, and I’m gonna ace that test,” he proclaimed.

“Great!” I replied. “Grab your notes and let me give you a little quiz.”

TestingWe settled down at the kitchen table and I proceeded to ask questions. One question after another was met with a shaky answer, most of them wrong. With his inadequate preparation revealed, he headed back to his room, notes in hand. After another period of study, he did indeed sail through the questions.

The pop quiz I gave made my son very uncomfortable. He was sad that he wasn’t ready, and sadder that he had to go back and study harder. My intent was certainly not to hurt his feelings, but to reveal the weak areas of his study so he could tighten the gaps and be ready for the real test.

Just as I tested my son, God tests me. He often puts me in uncomfortable positions to uncover weak areas. God doesn’t point out my weakness to take advantage of me. Instead, His testing is to reveal areas that need work, so I will be strong enough to persevere and eventually succeed in what He’s called me to do.

TestingGod uses all kinds of life situations to test us. Testing can take the form of difficult people in our lives, times of waiting, or a challenge to step outside our comfort zone to be obedient. Will we avoid the situation? Will we suffer through it and quit because it’s too hard? Or will we persevere and overcome?

We might think God gets frustrated with us when we “fail” a test. I sometimes wonder if God wants to give up on me when I repeat the same mistakes. But just because my son didn’t know the answers on our mini-quiz didn’t mean I would give up on him. Just the opposite! I wanted him to succeed and was willing to give him test after test to make sure he was ready.

God’s testing can be to prepare us for something more important, and often more difficult. He wants to see if we can sustain the pressure in preparation for something big. So, the next time your Heavenly Father calls you up for apop-quiz, consider His desire to see you succeed. If a weakness is revealed,thank Him for helping you move to the next level by strengthening you.

PrayerPrayer :
Our Loving Heavenly Father, thank You for caring enough about my character and life to test me. Help me to see Your testing as a sign of Your love, and to be thankful for it. I pray for strength through Your Holy Spirit to walk in obedience and persevere. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, In Jesus Loving Name I Pray, Amen.”

fwd – daily dose devotionals

Encourage one another daily – Hebrews 3:13

CJP condemns attack on Bangla Hindus and Pak Christians. The CSF Joins Protest

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Attack on Pakistani ChristiansMarch 10, 2013: The Citizens for Justice and Peace Mumbai condemns the attack on innocent Hindus in Bangladesh over the past week and Christians in Pakistan yesterday by a angry mob of 7,000 and more. We appeal to all Indians and the wider human rights community to join us  in condemning these dastardly attacks.

While condemning the targeted and  violent attacks against Bangladesh’s minority Hindu community, the CJP calls upon the Indian government and international organisation to ensure that the Bangladeshi authorities provide them with better protection. There have been disturbing reports that individuals taking part in the protests called by supremacist Islamic parties (including reportedly led by Jamaat-e-Islaami, Bangladesh) have vandalised more than 40 Hindu temples across Bangladesh, scores of Hindu homes and shops have also been burned down, leaving hundreds homeless. The attacks have come in the wake of protests to implement the findings of the country’s ongoing war crimes tribunal, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT). The role of the Jamaat-e-Islaami-Bangladesh has been pointed to in the recent anti-minority attacks. In Pakistan, regarding the targeted attack against a group of Christians in Lahore, the CJP urges the Indian government an dinternational organisations to lend voice to their demand that the   the Punjab government should have given the Christian community more protection in Lahore following the false allegations of blasphemy.

All of us undersigned condemn these dastardly attacks and call for the immediate punishment of those guilty. It is long overdue that the demands of human rights activists from all countries in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal. Afganistan, Srilanka, Burma and Bhutan are met and a South Asian Commisison/Authority for Human Rights  Protection is established that looks into all instances of cross border human rights  violations, atrocities against women and children and traffking, caste atroctries and attacks on identities, ethnicities and religious minorities. CJP has been part of efforts to set  up this kind of mechanism for over a decade.

– Teesta Setalvad
– IM Kadri, Raghunandan Maluste, Arvind Krishnaswamy, Alyque Padamsee, Cyrus Guzder, Javed Akhtar, Anil Dharkar, Rahul Bose, Javed Anand, Ghulam Pesh-Imam, Cedric Prakash, etc.

Protect Bangladeshi Hindus, says Amnesty

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Amnesty International has made an urgent appeal to the Bangladesh government to provide its minority better protection.

Attack on Bangladeshi HindusDhaka, March 08, 2013: “The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at extreme risk, in particular at such a tense time in the country. It is shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religion. The authorities must ensure that they receive the protection they need,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty’s Researcher.

Survivors told Amnesty that the attackers were from the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.

In the report, ‘Bangladesh: Wave of Violent Attacks Against Hindu Minority’, Amnesty gave the country’s war crimes trial as the context to the violence against the minority.

The report said attacks on Hindus and other minorities were often reported from Bangladesh, especially from the far-flung areas. The latest attack took place on March 6 at Daudkandi in Comilla, where a Hindu temple was vandalized and burnt down. It said on Feb 28 a minority village of Rajganj Bazar in Noakhali was set on fire by the Jamaat supporters. According to Amnesty, Bangladesh’s Hindu minority constitutes only eight per cent of the population and has historically been at risk of violence. They suffered heavily during the 1971 liberation war and again after the 2001 parliamentary elections, when BNP-Jamaat coalition came to power.

– the hindu

Bangladesh: Jamaat continues attacking Hindus

March 06, 2013: Jamaat-Shibir attacks on Hindu community and their temples continued in different parts of the country yesterday creating widespread fear among general people living unprotected in rural areas. Reports of arson, vandalism and physical assaults on members of Hindu community and also on Awami League activists have been rampant since Thursday, when the International Crimes Tribunal-1 had awarded death penalty to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee. Yesterday in Khulna, more than 300 Jamaat-Shibir and BNP acitivists brought out a procession from Chad Ali Bridge in Amadi Bazar area of Koyra upazila around 10:30am, during the BNP-called hartal. Locals said the focus of the procession suddenly turned to Dhopapara, an extremely poor locality with predominantly Hindu population traditionally making a living on washing clothes. Within minutes, eight houses belonging to Hindus were set ablaze. While the Hindu men, women and children ran for safety, the attackers looted whatever they could put their hands on.

The attackers soon swooped on to nearby Amadi Bazar. They broke into eight to 10 shops belonging to local Hindus and looted them before being dispersed by Border Guard Bangladesh and police personnel around noon. Meanwhile, the attack left a woman and a young man injured. They were admitted to the local health complex. Amiya and Apurbo Das, who lost their home in the attack, said neighbours had tried to douse the fire but their thatched house stood no chance. Others who lost their houses to the arson include Subodh Das, Kartik Das and Sona Das. Each of the victim families had more than one thatched house. The attackers also torched a prayer room set up inside a house. “We do not know what to do and are living in fear of further attacks,” said Apurbo Das. Locals said the attackers also unleashed violent assaults on several residents.

Officer-in-Charge (OC) Khairul Kabir of Koyra Police Station said they had arrested two Shibir activists from the area. “Two to three houses were torched and looted and about eight shops were looted during the attack,” said the OC. Superintendent Golum Rouf Khan of Khulna police said BNP and Jamaat-Shibir men had set fire to thatched houses and a semi-concrete structure, and vandalised shops belonging to local Hindus. The ploy in which attacks on Hindu temples and idols were executed, bear striking similarity in most cases throughout the country. At Rotherpar village in Aditmari upazila of Lalmonirhat, religious fanatics entered the Sree Sree Shoshan Kali Mandir [temple] some time early hours yesterday and vandalised the temple smashing the idol of goddess Kali. President of the temple committee Subhas Chandra Roy said they had lodged a written complaint with the police and it was now up to the law enforcers to take action.

At Lakhirpar village under Kotalipara upazila in Gopalganj, zealots set fire to a temple of goddess Kali on Monday around 7:45pm. The fire partially gutted the temple and destroyed four idols of the goddess. The arson instantly drew protests in the area. Kotalipara police detained five suspects in this connection. In Natore, Jamaat-Shibir men are strengthening themselves in the border areas of Lalpur upazila where Awami League activists and members of the Hindu community are living in fear. On Monday evening, Jamaat-Shibir men in a bid to spread further panic set fire to a temple of Shoair village under Singra upazila and destroyed the Hori Protima [the idol of god Hori]. Isahaq Ali, secretary of Lalpur upazila unit Awami League, said Jamaat-Shibir men were capitalising on the innocence of the villagers through anti-minority propaganda.

“The situation is such that we cannot even go to the border areas of Char Jazira, Horir Char and Gorgoria where on the one hand, gangs of Jaamat-Shibir rule and on the other, outlaws roam around at large,” said Isahaq Ali. In Chittagong, Hindu temple Sarbajaneen Magadeshwari Mandir at East Rupkania of Satkania upazila was torched early yesterday. Sukumar Nath, a local resident, said the arson took place around 2:30am. “We woke up by the sound bamboos cracking in fire and witnessed our holy temple burn to ashes,” said Nath, adding, “We do not know who did it.” Sub-Inspector Nazmul Alam of Satkania Police Station said the pattern of all the arson attacks leads police to suspect that Jamaat-Shibir fanatics had been involved in the act. Since Thursday, Jamaat-Shibir men had wrecked havoc in the area, mainly targeting the Hindu community.

The fanatics have changed their tactics for attacks on the state mechanisms. In Jhenidah, Lalmonirhat, Satkhira and elsewhere they shielded their attack force by luring rural women and children in the front line of the processions with religious propaganda. In Uzirpur upazila of Barisal district, miscreants tried to set fire to Guthia Sarbajaneen Kali Mandir [temple] under Guthia union early yesterday. President of the temple committee Sudhir Malakar said some miscreants had thrown burning torches of straw and tree branches inside the temple and fled the scene. The fire died automatically as the branches and straw were not so dry but yet it partially damaged the fences said Sudhir, adding that they had informed the local upazila parishad chairman of the incident. Officer-in-Charge Anwar Hossain of Uzirpur Police Station said a general diary had been lodged with them and that they had visited the spot and started investigating the arson attempt.

– the daily star

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