Pak’s double standard & a convert’s interview

January 31, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

 

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

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