Monday, 10 February 2014

Shanti Nagar Christians remembered by UK church 17 years after being attacked by extremists.

Wilson Chowdhry, Mr and Mrs Saleem Dutt, Martin Bashforth and Lord Mayor of Bradford Khadim Hussain


Saint Andrews Methodist Church, Undercliffe, Bradford held their 16th Shanti Nagar remembrance day, on Sunday 9th February 2014.  The programmes was organised by Martin Bashforth the Senior Circuit Steward for Methodist Churches in Bradford, The Saleem Dutt family who are former residents of Shanti Nagar, their Muslim friend Faisal Khan and the Congregation of St Andrews.

The event was a time of reflection on the violence meted out upon impoverished, vulnerable and innocent Christians, after a false allegation of blasphemy against Muhammad and rumours that Christians in the town had become spies for the "enemy in the West".  The attack saw 4 churches destroyed, 250 homes razed to the ground during a 1000 strong mob attack, that caused in excess of 2500 Christians to flee their homes, only returning weeks later to find all their possessions had been stolen.  A further 16 churches in the local area also suffered severe vandalism.

A guest list representing a variety of faiths and other diversities listened to impassioned speeches calling for peace, unity and tolerance.  Distinguished speakers included;

Program Host:
Faisal Khan, NatWest Bank Manager

Guest list:
Lord Mayor of Bradford, Khadim Hussain
Dean of Bradford Cathedral, Very Reverend Jerry Lepine
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman British Pakistani Christian Association (London)
Hannah Chowdhry
Mohammed Rafiq Sehgal, President of Bradford Council of Mosques
Former Lord Mayor, Mohammed Ajeeb
Former Lord Mayor, councillor Howard Middleton
Former Lord Mayor, councillor Naveeda Ikram
Councillor Mohammed Shafiq 
Councillor Ruth Billheimer
Asif Khan PTI
Shirjeel Malik PTI
Shiraz Akhtar PTI
Qasem Awan Pakistan Society of West Yorkshire
Rizwana Jamil, Bradford Labout party

Martin Bashforth described the annual gift from St Andrews Church, that provides medical treatment and other social support to people in the impoverished community of Shanti Nagar.  He read a modern version of the parable of the Good Samaritan and called for better unity amongst people of all faiths.  Images of the destitution and poverty of the Shanti Nagar people highlighted the need for constant aid.

Mayor of Bradford Kahdim Hussain lit a candle to remember victims of Shanti Nagar.  He described the heinous attack on the innocent community, as the work of extremists that represent no faith.

Wilson Chowdhry an invited guest speaker described how Christians supported the formation of Pakistan from the outset.  When a stalemate in the assembly vote for joining Pakistan occurred (in which all 4 Christians MP's voted for Pakistan), the decision lay with the speaker of the house, SP Singha - a Christian. He declared in favour of the formation of Pakistan.  This pivotal decision allowed the process of secession, as without Punjab the land mass and population of Pakistan would simply have been too small for consideration.  How would he feel now, to see how his people are now treated?  Mohammed Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan  promised a free society where all could worship the faith of their choosing, free of state interference.

Wilson said;  "A succession of extremist powers within Pakistan have shattered that original vision.  They have created biased laws and a constitution that is Islamist precluding Christians from senior national roles. This has created a vulnerability for Christians and other minorities who are often caricatured and demonised within school text books and extremist media."

Wilson described some current legal positions in Pakistan.  

In November 2013 Younis Masih was released after being incarcerated on false blasphemy charges since 2005, the holistic objections to Rimsha Masih an 11 year old child with a severe mental condition, caused senior Islamic clerics within Pakistan to support her release.  She was eventually released on bail for a large sum and escaped to Canada.  Whilst abroad she was finally exonerated. Theses positive moves were countered by a regressive decision in December, by the Federal Sharia Court of Pakistan - the religious court that examines whether the law of Pakistan complies with Islamic Sharia Law.  They have called for an end to Life sentences for Blasphemers in favour of a straight death sentence.  Whether this law is sanctioned through Parliament or not, it will certainly stir up more hatred towards minorities and trigger further attacks.

Wilson Chowdhry added;

"Every glimmer of hope for minorities is tarnished by overt acts of legalised intolerance.  Victims such as Asia Bibi remain incarcerated under false blasphemy charges, and victims such as those from Shanti Nagar, have seen perpetrators escape justice and have had to rely on aid donations from international groups such as St Andrews Church, after being overlooked by the Government elected to protect them.  I thank St Andrews Church for their annual gift to Shanti Nagar and their anniversary events that serve to highlight the ongoing maltreatment of minorities and promote global unity."

Hannah Chowdhry (10 yrs)  repeated words spoken by founder of Pakistan Mohammed Ali Jinnah, during his speech at the Constituent Assembly in Lahore, 11th August 1947;

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”


Lord Mayor of Bradford Khadim Hussain lights a candle for victims of Shanti Nagar.


Hannah Chowdhry reads words spoken by Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan, during his speech at the Constituent Assembly August 11th 1947.


Over 200 people packed the church in Bradford.


Wilson Chowdhry called for people of good conscience to set the hearts to bring peace in their communities.


Dean of Bradford the Very Reverend Jerry Lepine.



Mrs Dutt and two children with messages of peace.


Martin Bashforth reads a modern depiction of the story of the Good Samaritan.


Assembled visitors hold banner for Shanti Nagar.


People of all faiths came together in unity calling for an end to intolerance.


Saleem Dutt described the current situation in Pakistan.


Mohammed Rafiq Sehgal, President of Bradford Council of Mosques.





12 comments:

  1. Saleem Dutt and mrs Saleem Dutt are cheeters.

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  2. Saleem Dutt and mrs collect money and send pakistan for criminal activities.check them strickly .come team shantinagar and check these activities.they prepare furger docoments and use them for collect pounds.they prepare forger docoments for assilam.they are cheeters. so i request british people and government check them all records strickly

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  3. i have docoments that prove them cheeters.so reply me.

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  4. My email address is wilson@aasecurity.co.uk

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  5. My email address is wilson@aasecurity.co.uk

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  6. I really appreciate the bold step taken by Mr. Saleem Dutt to support the Christians who are being persecuted in Pakistan every day. Anyone in Pakistan who condemns or raises his/her voice againt the abuse of sharia law has been killed brutally. You are doing great work by supporting the innocent Christians in Pakistan who become victim of this Sharia Law by wrongfully accused. Mr. Saleem and his family are really brave people who have jeopardised their lives and discussing this sensitive issue so openly. God Bless You for doing the great work. Keep it up

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. I entirely agree with Amir shehzad

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  9. sharoon saleem who are u?u control ur self.

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  10. Saleem Dutt and Mrs are cheeters

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  11. Mr.Saleem Dutt is playing a trick on the people abroad there and is making all of them a big fool.He takes the money from the NGO for a ministry but that's not ture he takes the money and gives it to his brother Kaleem Dutt and he uses the money for criminal activities. They took the money in the name of church and for the poor people but instead of making the church they built a house for them selves. And Sharoon Saleem is a very close relative of Mr.Saleem Dutt . So its a request to the people abroad please if it is possible come and check the activities which are taking place in the Santi Nagar and ask the people about what they are doing over there and Kaleem Dutt which is the right hand of Saleem dutt. If the ministry is not concern about the matters of Saleem Dutt so we will understand that the NGO knows everything and is also involved in it.So please check them strictly or the people there will be in a big loss.

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