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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Report from our Inaugral Meeting

Pray for Pakistan Will these bands be all the rage at our protest on the 19th...?
We certainly believe so!

On a wind swept stormy day in Ilford we held the first of the British Pakistani Christian Association meetings. The meeting was very successful which resulted in a commitment from Christian Social Link, Pastor Suleman Akhtar (Ilford) An officer from "Release International"and Imtiaz Khan form the Ley street centre to help with the development of the protest march to be held on the 19th December 2009.

Christian Social link were thanked by Alex Chowdhry and myself for their work in forming our community into a cohesive unit. Prior to their existence, the networking within our community was limited and it was they that have started the fervent campaigning we see in recent times - a consequence of their recent protests. To have them on board with our event is a testament to our commitment and their love for our community. Without a doubt, Christian Social Link are key players in our community now and they have helped galvanise our community into the semblance of a religious and political being. We want to support their work and hope that others will follow suit and collaborate in an effort to affect real change to the situation in Pakistan.

Atiq Chowdhry initiated the meeting with a welcome and the usual health and safety detail - what to do in case of fire and welfare facilities. He was able to use his previous experience working with British Airways to good use as he guided people to the available amenities by using sweeping gestures with his arms. Heh heh, apologies for the intentional unecessary detail...

Our Chairman talked about our group and how it was formed by 3 brothers Alex, Atiq and I who decided to pool our abilities together, to help re-shape our communities approach to tackling the atrocities in Pakistan. Alex explained, that we are looking for new members and that key positions including the chairmanship of the group, would be up for election - once we hear from interested candidates.

Alex went through the aims of our group and expanded on every item - if you missed the meeting don't worry! A film recording will be posted later today.

It was the unanmed Officer form Release International was next and he went through a very emotionally charged presentation that was bolstered by an excellent video on how "release International" is tackling the problem of International Christian Persecution. If you did not attend it is a shame as this was an inspirational call to action. Don't worry though, once again - we filmed it!

Next it was my turn I explained why we holding the Protest march, what we expected to achieve and how others could get involved. I also went through the potential wording for our petition. A copy of my Powerpoint presentation is shown in the next post and I will be posting part of the filmed presentation (camera ran out of charge).

Atiq returned and took us all through a learning activity devised to help derive the "pro's and con's" of previous protests, with a focus on how to improve for our demonstration on the 19th December 2009. All who attended participated and really enjoyed this event - it was a great learning opportunity for us all.

The feedback from the groups learning session will be posted tomorrow - in the meanwhile if you have any ideas for, or would like to get more involved with our group, or the protest march. Please do get in touch.

At the end of the meeting the unnamed officer from Release International provided me with some copies of the Release International Magazine. If you would like a copy please contact us. Release are also selling Pray for Pakistan wrist bands as modelled above. All the money goes towards their excellent work in Pakistan. Please contact us if you would like to purchase some.

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