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Tuesday 28 December 2010

Church graveyard illegally sold!

Original Land registry certificate.

We have received this email from a Maurice Shahbaz regarding the illegal sale of a Christina graveyard. The contents of the email is printed prima facie while we collect further information (sic)

"Dear Ministry Friends,

Greetings in Jesus!

I am thankful to God that he has chosen Prisons Mission Society to work for his kingdom and he has given us this opportunity to preach the “Good News” of Jesus in Prisons. Prisons Mission Society is officially registered and working for the welfare of prisoners in the field of Education, Health and Social Sectors and feeling proud to arrange a program for the welfare of poor and deserving prisoners and their families in Pakistan, which is a part of our evangelism in non-Christian and to promotion the education skills of prisoners as well as turpitude and makes the prisoners a useful citizen and makes them a part of development of this country. Increasing numbers of peoples in Pakistan are living below the poverty line. These peoples are not given the rights of survival, protection, development and participation.

I have already sent a letter to the Government of Pakistan with the Reference to the letter No.12525, of the Chief Secretary of the Punjab, Lahore, dated 4th December, 2010, which was addressed to the DPO & DCO, Layyah that Muhammad Yaseen (Patwari) is a professional criminal and has a routine to blackmail and tease to poor Christian community in his circle and he has already sold piece of land (10 Marlas) of the Christian Grave yard and other side his fellows are illegal occupied on the 5 Acres Church land.

Summary: For many years Christian community has been the grave yard (1 Acr) Alat No.62(Alatment No.382,64/166 dated 24-10-2003) in Chak No.75-B/TDA, Tehsil Karor, District Layyah, Punjab, Pakistan but now Muhammad Nadar Khan(Afghanistani) and his fellows are illegal occupied on the Christian grave yard. (Photo is copy attached)

1- On 26-11-2010(Evening), Muhammad Nadar S/O Qalandar Khan (Afghanistani) entered by force in my house and attacked on me in Chak No.75-B/TDA, Tehsil Karor, District Layyah, on the behalf of Muhammad Yaseen (Patwari) said nasty things and threatened me that they will make a false case of Blasphemy and kill us, now I and my relatives are unsecured. (The District Police Officer; Layyah is acquainted with the detail of the case)

2- On 27-11-2010, Muhammad Yaseen (Patwari) threatened me that with draw your case otherwise the result will very bad and he is supporting criminals specially.

It is requested that immediately action be taken against, Muhammad Yaseen (Patwari), removal of service under the E & Rules 1973 and registered case against him.

(please open the attachment to find the detail)

Please could you pray and support for action against Muhammad Yaseen Patwari and his fellows which would be great blessing and encouragement for us. We look forward for your possible co-operation in our ministry and pray that May Almighty Lord make you a part of our mission.

In Lord’s Service,
Rev.Maurice Shahbaz
Prisons Mission Society"

If anyone can corroberate this story please do provide us with further information.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Events for Christmas

Don't be alone at Christmas get to your nearest event 2010!

Event: The Gujarati Christian Fellowship United Kingdom is pleased to announce the new dates of our Christmas Celebration programme!
Date: Saturday 1st January 2011
Time: 3:00pm - 9:00pm
Venue: Sudbury Methodist Church Hall, Harrow Road HA0 2LP.
Cost: Entry is free! All are welcome.

We cordially invite you to come & celebrate the joy of Christmas on this day. This event will include Carols, Gujarati Folk Dance (Garba) and delicious Christmas Dinner! Please bring along your Family and Friends at this event. Wish you a very joyful Christmas and a blessed New Year! In Christ, Davidson Solanki


Event: Christmas Service at Ilford Church
Date: Saturday 25th December 2010
Time: 3:00pm - 5:30pm
Location: St Andrew's Church, Ilford Essex IG1 3PE

Come and enjoy a worship service followed by Dinner in our Church Hall. Everyone is welcome. Part of the service will be filmed by Zee TV.


Event: Christmas Worship Service at Church of Pakistan in Kuwait (COPK)
Date: Saturday 25th December 2010
Time: 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Location: Diwaniya, National Evangelical Church, Kuwait's premises, Kuwait City
Details: Christmas Message and Holy Communion by Revd. Renee Perkins

Posted by Mumtaz Shah
Secretary, COPK


If you are a UK Pakistani/Indian Fellowship or a Church in Pakistan, tell us about your event using the format above and we will publish details!

Awareness of Pakistani Christians increases in the UK

Candlelight service in Lahore.

One of the main aims of the BPCA is to highlight the existence of Pakistani Christians in the homeland and the UK. Today we received a copy of the Barking and Dagenham Post and they have written an article on how Christmas is celebrated in other countries. Two Photo's have been used of Christmas celebrations in Pakistan and although the statement from Wilson is not entirely correct the article has created a much wider awareness of our community.

The Ilford Recorder have agreed to cover a story on Christmas Celebrations for their next edition in the New Year. It will be a post-event article and we encourage readers in Ilford and Pakistan, to share pictures and stories with us, so that we can compile a story for them.

Here is a link to a PDF of the actual article:

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Iqra TV Debate on Blasphemy Law with Qadiani, Christian and Muslim

On Sunday 19th December 2010 Wilson Chowdhry was invited to appear on Muslim Channel Iqra TV to discuss the Blasphemy Law and in particular the situation surrounding Aasia Bibi. Reverend Napoleon John also featured and we were grateful that our Muslim Brothers in the UK were willing to discuss such divisive and important topics in such a frank manner.

Here is a link to the live programme:

After the interview we received the following comments form a member of the UK Ahmadi Community:

"Brother Wilson,

Assalamu Alaikum.

I saw you on the Iqra TV discussion programme on the subject of blasphemy and was impressed by your contributions. As an Ahmadi Muslim myself, I was ashamed by the poor responses of the host and his main guest to some of your points regarding the Prophet Muhammad's clemency and believe you came across as far more sane and reasonable!

It was a shame there was no Ahmadi representative on the show but from previous experience we know we would not have been given 'fairtime' as there is a lot of antagonism towards our community, as I'm sure you're well aware.

Like all Ahmadis I'm also fully aware of the plight of our Christian brethren in Pakistan and the immense suffering they have been going through.

You were right when you said in the programme that there is no clash between Islam and Christianity and I thought I'd share a piece I wrote recently regarding the Qur'an burning threat from an American church. As it is only accessible behind the Times' paywall site, I have attached a copy."

Here is a link to his article:

Our extreme thanks go to Iqra TV for the opportunity to speak on their show, the team in particular the lead figure Rayaz Ahmed have shown themselves to be honest and open to frank discussion. Wilson was cut off when speaking about the Prophet Mohammed's clemency as the matter had been discussed in a previous show. I appreciate the comments form our Ahmaddiya brother but I feel it is fair to highlight the exemplary commitment to working towards a better Pakistan exhibited by Iqra TV.

It is rare for Christians to be interviewed by Muslim channels and debates such as these provide an avenue for increased understanding of one anothers, faith, cultures and difficulties.

Brother Waqar is entitled to his views and we have placed the comment and article on our blog to stimulate constructive debate amongst faiths - much like the Iqra TV show has done.

Thursday 16 December 2010

What threat does Islam present?

Egyptian Coptic Christians campaigning for peace!

Here is an article written by Ranbir Singh the Chairman of the Hindu Human Rights Group. It is an interesting topic that should stimulate some debate. Please comment the article has been reproduced verabtim:

While BPCA no doubt has had some impact the fact is that Pakistan has become more intolerant since 1947. While there is corruption in most Third World countries including India (with Nigeria perhaps being the worst) the Islamisation policies with their inherent disavowal of equal rights just make this worse.

Canada’s Irshad Manji is perhaps the only significant Muslim asking for a Reformation in Islam. But fact is that Islam has never had such a change. As Manji states the gates of itjihad (interpretation) have been closed since the ninth century. While it is possible to look for human origins in the Bible and archaeology has revealed finds such as Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi, and the confluence of Jewish and Hellenic thought, to do so in Islam is largely unthinkable. This cannot but have a negative effect on scholarship of this major world faith.

Saudi Arabia is perhaps more honest in that it doesn’t hide its belief that Islam and democracy are incompatible. While Christianity has had diversity coupled with doubt and uncertainty for centuries (e.g. Southern Baptist Convention was formed to defend slavery in USA, while other Baptists were vehemently anti-slavery) and has gone through Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, Islam has had precious little of this. All changes came from external pressure, including that to abolish slavery. Just as the decline in Christian belief led to dogmatic secular ideologies (Jacobinism, Marxism, fascism) the attempts to modernise Islamic nations led to the replacement of Islam with virulent nationalism. Witness how Ataturk not only continued the genocide against Armenians in his desire for a secular Turkey, but also suppressed the very identity of Kurds, Laz and Circassians. Ataturk’s aversion and mocking of Islam was well known but did his “Kemalism” usher in a more open and tolerant society? Reza Shah was inspired by the modernisation in his neighbour Turkey and felt an inferiority complex to Ataturk. Hence the rapid reforms such as banning the veil and equal rights for women. But equal rights in what context? Reza Shah centralised Iran in order to put greater power into his own autocratic hands. His partial replacement of Islam with a Farsi centred Iranian nationalism suppressed Kurds and Azeris. The parallels to fascism were to string to resist which led to his removal from power by British and Soviet forces for getting too close to the Third Reich.

Pakistan constitution stipulates that president has to be Muslim. Sharia courts have validity. Conversion from Islam is not allowed yet anyone can convert to Islam, a brazen double standard. Ahamdiyyas cannot even call themselves Muslims. The entire Jewish community of Bene Israel are virtually extinct in Pakistan. Christians, Sikhs and Hindus remain marginalised and at the mercy of any combination of mullahs, feudal landlords, the repressive arm of police and army, and the very political system which validates their subhuman status. The Kailash, a people of great antiquity, face the threat of extinction bringing to an end thousands of years of a unique culture and civilisation. These few examples show how building a civil society with equal rights is impossible as long as temporal and religious elements remain intertwined. Malaysia is regarded as a modern Muslim country. Yet here all Malays have to be Muslim, by law. Sharia is recognised. Marrying a Malay necessitates conversion to Islam. Muslims only can be head of state. Malays get discounts in housing, have share allocation, get the best jobs and scholarships. Is there even one example of an Islamic country which has modernised on a par with the west, providing equal political rights, social equalisation and an open society? Secular Turkey became more ethnically and religiously homogenous than the Ottoman Empire (Uthmani Khilafat) ever was as Ataturk drove out or butchered almost the entire Greek, Armenian and Assyrian population. Is Algeria better off now than it was under the French? Were the sacrifices against Gallic apartheid in vain? Where are the once mighty voices of reformers such as Ali Abdel Raziq in Egypt who called for laicism?

Ibn Warraq’s Why I am Not a Muslim came out in 1995 and was compared to the famous Why I am Not a Christian by renowned atheist Bertrand Russell. But the part people miss in Ibn Warraq’s book is how the west became superior and the freedoms which we take for granted developed. This idea if better explained in End of Racism by Dinesh D’Souza (Indian born American conservative) which again stated how the west became superior, and also Keith Richburg, African-American journalist who in Out of America explained why postcolonial Africa is such a failure. Such writers explain that the freedoms which we take so much for granted in this country have a reason for their existence and it helps understand why they simply cannot be replicated elsewhere. Even in godly America where someone who is not church going will get frowned upon if running for political office, there is clear non negotiable mandate that church and state are separate. You simply won’t get that in Pakistan. Islamisation was extended by Zia-ul-haq but actually began with the whisky drinking Swiss bank socialist secular landlord Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Undermining of civil society and with it secularism and equal rights for all is regarded as progress by the majority political consensus in that country. The only opposition is from an impotent liberal elite, who in their avant-garde bohemian western lifestyle complete with American accents, designer suits, well stocked bars with the finest scotch and cognac, air conditioned villas and a ready supply of servants, are cut off from the masses whom they in fact lord it over in the manner of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

Nothing will change effectively in Pakistan or other Muslim countries until the immunity surrounding Islam is breached as it already is being by people such as Manji, Ibn Warraq, Robert Spencer, Melanie Phillips, Brigitte Gabriel, Wafa Sultan, Ann Coulter, Christopher Hitchens and Bat Yeor. The next biggest impact will be the fall of political Islam in Iran. Under the Shah all dissent was brutally suppressed by the CIA trained SAVAK, leaving Islam the only outlet for frustration as the westernised elite in Tehran lived a short distance from recent rural migrants who lived in slums. It was obscene for many to watch the Shah celebrate 2500 years of Persian monarchy as guest drank champagne and eat the finest gourmet delicacies on gold plates and crystal cut glasses, only a stone’s throw from where the disillusioned masses lived cheek by jowl and kept in check by SAVAK and a brutal police. The response of a Pehlavi royal family princess to remark why these masses could not use private helicopters to bypass the congestion of Tehran traffic was even more laughable than Marie Antoinette’s idiotic response of how come the starving poor of Paris could not eat cake if they had no bread. Yet for the very same disenfranchised and oppressed Iranian majority, 1979 under Khomeini was not just an empty parallel to Ataturk’s 1924 revolution, but in hindsight a clearly retrograde step. Iran’s Islamic regime led initially to a futile and destructive war with Iraq and years later the country suffers from rampant drug abuse, unemployment, prostitution (called “temporary marriage”) and frustration with the regime. When it collapses there will be a domino effect just as there was when Khomeini took power, but of course this time in reverse. Outside Iran many émigrés leave Islam, and seek solace in secularism or the vibrant and dynamic Farsi speaking Christian fellowships which have sprung up in Britain and the USA. This may sound far fetched but remember how the collapse of communism took everyone by surprise? The inexorable march of liberalism cannot be halted. In this age of mass communication and exchange of ideas, Orwellian style claustrophobia cannot suppress the aspirations of those chaffing under political, economic and spiritual suffocation, any more than in the developed western democracies a spiritual vacuum can find replacement in microwave TV culture of instant gratification that bares an eerie resemblance to Orwell’s fellow author who warned us of creeping totalitarianism, but this time of the warm and fluffy kind, Aldous Huxley.

What groups such as CLAAS do is plaster over the cracks if that. It is laudable to free victims of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. But long-term it is necessary to find means of overturning such oppressive laws and understanding why they exist. That can only be done by realising how Islamic societies are impervious to effective reform and why western democratic norms always create more vibrant, fair and open societies. Like I said Iran would be the key. Ataturk’s secularisation of Turkey was superficial as people of non-Muslim backgrounds (unless they converted to Islam) have never been regarded as full Turks. Egypt was in its modern heyday a leading liberal Arab country, culturally and intellectually. But since Nasser’ pan-Arabism and “socialism” (Nasser suppressed the very Ikhwan who supported his 1952 coup, yet pushed his mixture of Islam and pan-Arab nationalism to the fore and thus marginalised or expelled Copts, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, while welcoming ex Nazis like Remer) it has gone into reverse gear. Iran was on the surface a modern power but look how the Shah fled in 1979. A few crumbs from the table will not change much until disillusioned youth in Iran take action. Fortunately as Christopher Hitchens has said the demographic bulge (in war with Iraq Iranians were encouraged to have as many kids as possible in order to produce martyrs) will help destabilise the regime. Just be ready not to let history pass you by but instead be a part of it. After all people make events they don’t just happen. It is important to be aware of this and resist the seductive illusions of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four as well as Huxley’s Brave New World which will battle for our allegiance as the world remakes itself and prove that Francis Fukuyama was wrong to announce The End of History.

Waris Pura - enmity rising again!

Ever wish people would just obey God and be kind to one another?

We have received news that the situation in Pakistan is worsening. A Pastor in Waris Pura is said to have converted a Muslim to Christianity and it is starting to stir up a hornets nest. This is bad news as only recently the town suffered a siege after tormentors rampaged the small town, when two pastors were acquitted of a false blasphemy. The two Pastors were shot dead - I copy the email received prima facie (sic):

My name is Tahir and I am pastor at a local church in Faisalabad. I am writing up these details to light up the present situation in Waris Pura and in surroundings as well as the incidents in the area after the killing of two brothers, Pastor Rashid Emmanuel and Pastor Sajid Masih towards the end of July 2010, who were falsely accused of insulting prophet Muhammad.

Waris Pura in Faisalabad is well known for its resident Christian Community comprising of many sub blocks e.g. Barkat Pura, Daud Nagar, Ibn-e-Mariam Colony, Khushhall Town etc. and has always been the centre of all religious and non-religious activities among Christian people in Faisalabad. There are around one hundred thousand Christian people living in these merged areas altogether but are surrounded by all Muslim population all around. Most of the Christian people in the area are underdeveloped and marginalised, depending on ordinary jobs and sources or earning with fewer opportunities for education and skills, development and growth.

Since the killing of two brothers mentioned above, our Christian community is continuously under pressure of threats by surrounding Muslim extremist elements. There have been a series of shootings, riots, violence and tensions on both sides. Although all of these problems have always been there but have become more vigorous particularly after the incident of killing of two pastor brothers. Such incidents have a very strong effect on many individuals and families, many have been beaten or attacked, many fought for their safety, many have fled the area and other living under constant threats to their lives.

For the last few weeks particularly in Waris Pura, Faisalabad, many people and churches are under investigation and threats for preaching gospel or sharing their faith. The fears spread after a pastor has been accused of converting a Muslim to Christianity for some financial or other gains. The incident has put many people and churches under pressure and scrutiny by various agencies and police.

However, these threats are common in all parts of the country anywhere you can find the presence of Christian individuals as well as Christian community as a unit. Christian community lives under constant fear and threats of violence on religious grounds mainly. Such incidents occur every second day somewhere to the Christian people, some are reported, and highlighted, some are ignore or twisted, some are pressed down and others go unknown. They face imprisonments, violence of their equal citizen rights, disgrace to our places of worship, attacks by extremists and even death penalties on sectarian rivalry, enmity, religious differences and false accusations of insulting Islam, Quran or the prophet Muhammad. They all seek for justice, peace and harmony, safety and security, access to their basic and fundamental rights, but cant find in a place where even the authorities are not secure enough to secure others.

Recent blasphemy case of Aasia Bibi in Lahore, Pakistan, who has been sentenced to death penalty, is another perfect example of religious hatred and the stake every Christian is at facing humiliation, tortures and death sentences for the deeds they even never think about.

I appeal to the Christian brothers and sisters to pray continuously for the individuals and families affected by these situations and living under constant fears and threats.

May God and His grace be with you all.


Wilson Augstine - Pastor beaten and burned in Sarghoda

Yet again another Christian has suffered at the hands of Muslim Extremists. Wilson Augustine a newly ordained pastor was distrubuting leaflets to door to door on the 13th December 2010, to Christian homes. Whilst undertaking this innocent task he was set upon by 6 Muslim men who beat him with belts and clubs and then set him on fire.

More details here:

BBC Local Radio interview with Wilson Chowdhry

The BBC recorded a 30 minute interview with Wilson Chowdhry on the Tuesday following our protest. the full length interview was played on BBC Local Asian radio stations across the UK- over the weekend. It has been played internationally now and a snippet has been include on the podcasts, provided below:

Hi Wilson

Hope you're well.

Just to let you know the interview went out to the BBC Local Radio Asian programmes last weekend. I also used part of the interview on our BBC Pick of the Week podcast - Desi Download, It's free, international and each edition is available for 4 weeks.

The link to the podcast is below - it's the last piece in. I've also provided the RSS feed should you wish to post a link on your own website or blog.

Thanks for your time and do keep in touch. I hope the trip in January goes well.


Link to podcast (DATE 15TH DEC)


The shortened interview can be found close to the end of the podcast at the 25 minute mark.

Monday 13 December 2010

Muslim Reporter seeks clemency for Asia Bibi

I received an email from a Muslim friend of mine he was very disturbed by the controversy around the detention and death sentence of sister Asia.  He has sent me an email link to a story via Rauf Klausra formerly with the Jaang Newspaper now reporting for  Express News.  In his meaningful and revealing commentary, Rauf talks about the need for forgiveness.  He talks of how when Muhammed was once being stoned an Angel asked Muhamnmed if he wanted his assailants terminated.  It is said that Muhammed asked for clemency and that the assailants were later converted to Islam. 

The story was the first article written by a Muslim reporter in Urdu the language of the masses in Pakistan. and caused a real stir.  However, overall perceptions of his article have been favourbale and have not led to the awful death threats that we have become used to in recent times.  

A comment form my friend who is a close associate of Rauf said (sic):

"Nobody dared to write on the subject in Urdu. Everybody feared the wrath of the semi-educated masses misled by ignorant mullah. Rauf was the first to dare to plead her case fully. Now there are more columns in Urdu press after Rauf wrote on the subject. The good thing is a positive response on the article from his readers. He received 80 emails. 70 of them appreciated him. 10 of them argued and tried to plead the other way round. But none of them threatened Rauf. That is a positive note."

The article leads readers to think that a crime has been committed and that a real blasphemy occurred.  I am reticent to support the notion having read about the recommendation from the Minster of Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti.  However, irrespective of this Mr Klausra has supported clemency and is promoting an agenda of peace and mediation.  As such he deserves our support.  Read the article (in urdu) by clicking the link below:

Working together with moderate Muslims we can make the situation in Pakistan a more fair and equal one.  However, don't expect anything soon - there is much to correct!

Saturday 11 December 2010

Christian Church attacked looted and destroyed!

Christians gather at the location of their former church.
Former church reduced to rubble.

Christian raise the cross in a spirit of strength and courage.

The building may have fallen but believers still have their faith.

We have received the report below from Pakistan the story is printed prima facie (sic):

"His love, peace and abundant blessings to you and your family.

Dear brother in Christ there is a very sad news that two weeks ago some Muslims extremists came with  heavy  weapons, crane and bulldozer. And they entered in our  Church as we were worshiping the Lord they started to beat our congregation and myself. They hurt us with weapons to our women and Children some of them were hurt very badly and threw out the entire congregation out side the Church Building. And then with heavy crane they demolished the whole church building.

There were many Bibles, musical instruments, sound system and other equipments also destroyed.

We tried to called the Police but they did not help us and did not come to help us and then with the help of some political leaders we have submitted our report in Police station and court. 

As you know all the police men are Muslims so they are supporting these fundamentalists Because of low sources we don't have legal assistance to follow our case.because the Government of Pakistan is not providing us help and security.

Dear brother now these fundamentalist Muslims are threatening and putting pressure on us to leave this area with our families. They said that we will kill your family.

Dear brother our lives are in danger please pray for us. Please convey our voice of sorrow to international community for help. 

Please help us to provide security for our families from these extremists, help us to provide legal assistance and help us to build our church again.

May His grace and favour be with you.

Looking forwarded for your kind support.

In Christ

Pastor Sarwar
Light Of The World Church
Sardar Town Bhobhatian Raiwind Road Lahore Pakistan

Friday 10 December 2010

All Nurse Magdalene and her family wanted were safety!

So much pain yet even more to come!

Having spoken to a legal professional in Pakistan I have clearer details of the situation surrounding Nurse Magdalene. It would seem that under the strain from threats from supporters of Dr Jabbar Memon the family requested safe asylum transfer out of Pakistan on humanitarian grounds. When groups working with her could not guarantee such safety it would seem from reports that the mother fearful of further attacks on her family agreed to a cash out of court settlement.  This allowed the bail to be given to the sadistic Dr Memon at the Karachi Session courts today.
Our correspondent said (sic):

"Magdalene, like the complainants of Gojra cases, demanded to be sent abroad having plea of the case. However, we cannot send people abroad and lack this ability and also desire that people have internal flight but not be sent abroad".

He added:
"At the moment the case is in the trial court. Hence, no decision has come yet. We need to wait until to court proceeding finish and the judge gives his verdict. . Her father has passed away years ago. To our information she has stuck a deal with Dr. Abdul Jabbar Memon. One SHO told us that she has received money for that, maybe more than a million."

I do not blame this family for pulling out of a dangerous case that has destabilised their life and could have had major repercussions.  This family is one without a father figure and as such the strength and resilience of the family would have been tested.  Especially in the patriacal society that exists in Pakistan.  I imagine that groups would have advised her of the best interests for her family and that the Mother would have agreed to rescind the action, based upon their advice. 

Personally,  I feel it is a shame that the Pakistani Government and aid agencies could not have found a way to afford better protection and safety for the family - with a promise of a new future abroad. 

The failure of this lawsuit illustrates the deficiencies in the Pakistan legal system and highlights the ongoing inequalities of a plutocracy, in which the wealthy and powerful have impunity for any action they choose, despite comprehensive constitutional and legal frameworks. 

This family will have to live with an awful stigma and in a country where the purity of a woman is a pivotal factor when arranging marriages, I fear that Magdalene has more to suffer yet.

Rapist of Nurse Magdalene receives bail today!

Magdalene fights a critical situation to receive poor justice!

I have tragic news Nurse Magdalenes rapist was freed on bail today after Nurse Magdalene refused to identify the perpetrator of the awful crime against her. 

You will all, no doubt, remember this poor victim who was thrown out of a window after an ordeal of rape and torture, whilst locked in Dr  Jabbar Memom's office for two days.

It would seem that the threats and persecution that Magdalene and her family have been subjected to, has won over.  Yet another Christian Girls life is ruined, while an evil sadist has escaped justice. 

This is a shameful indictment of the type of law, the culture of persecution and the adversity that minority groups and the poor in Pakistan are subjected to.

For those of you that have forgotten the story her is a useful link:

Wednesday 8 December 2010

BBC Radio will cover Asia Bibi's story in more detail!

Engrossed in the interview....

Satisfied in the progress of our campaign another media bite that might influence positive change in Pakistan!

"I'm a reporter for the BBC's Local Radio Asian Programmes. I'm looking to get some reaction to the case of Asia Bibi from British Pakistani Christians, and was wondering if you would be available for a short interview this week - or you could suggest someone who maybe."

The reporter is responsible for local radio Asian programme broadcasts across the UK.  Many of you will be able to pick up the story from Friday listening to your usual local BBC Asian broadcasts. Moreover the reporter has informed me that she was impressed with the interview, which will be used during highlights of this weeks international broadcast.

We will furnish you with more details including times and frequencies to listen out for in our next posts.

Monday 6 December 2010

Kamran Michael fails to support Minority Ministers on walk out!

Kamran can speak well when he wants to (facing 20 mics) - why did he fail to speak up for Asia?

Minority leaders walked our of the Parliament House after being refused permission to speak about the Case of Asia Bibi.  Kamran Michael did not support the boycott and listened as a prominent Muslim Minister called supporters of Asia Bibi blasphemers.  Even the Governor of Punjab has now been labelled a blasphemer.  How long will the rot continue......

Follow the links below for more info:\12\04\story_4-12-2010_pg13_1

Two Afghan Christians - face death sentence under Apostasy Law

Here is an email received from Nadeem Sarwar posted prima facie, highlighting the plight of Two Afganistani Christians (sic):

Today, in Afghanistan ... Two threatened with death, they had converted to Christianity

Charged with two Afghans, two, from two employees in the Red Cross, to convert to Christianity could face the death penalty, according to a lawyer for the prosecution Sunday. The lawyer said prosecutors in charge of the west of Kabul cleric Mohammed Qureshi said Mr. Moussa (45 years), Ahmad Shah (50 years) are being held in the Afghan capital, awaiting trial.

He said they were "accused of apostasy for their religion, which is a crime under Islamic law. If found guilty, two face the death penalty or life imprisonment." He said the master, who works for the International Committee of the Red Cross, admitted the charge against him, as there is evidence against the Shah.

A spokesman for the Red Cross in Kabul Bijan Fredrid Varnaudi arrest, Lord, and said he was working in the organization since 1995. He noted that officials from the Red Cross visited the master in prison. He said, "During the visits, met with the International Organization Mr. Moses several times and intend to continue to visit in the future."

He was arrested Syed Shah late May and early June, days after a local television broadcast pictures of men performing Christian prayers in Persian and Iemdan in a house in Kabul. The government has launched investigations and aid agencies have suspended all work is "the Norwegian Church Aid" and "Church World Service, the U.S." after telling a local television station that they are spreading Christianity which is an order violates the law of the State of Muslim militant group.

He and members of parliament expressed outrage on Thursday over the issue, so much so that one member of Parliament in Herat called to the execution of two men in public. The Constitution prohibits the Afghani, which was adopted after the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, apostasy from Islam, and can issue a death sentence on apostates theory.

But Afghanistan has not implemented the death penalty against any person charged with apostasy in the contemporary history. It is believed that the latest issue of apostasy in Afghanistan, the issue of Afghan Abdul Rahman, who was arrested in 2006 for his conversion to Christianity. And was later released and received asylum in Italy after a wave of international protests.

Free Sarabjit Singh

A Sikh brother has asked me to highlight the plight of a victim of Pakistan's justice system.  Here are some details from his blogsite:

Mr Sarabjit Singh is an Indian National who was convicted and sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan in 1991 for his alleged involvement in terrorists attacks in Pakistan.

He has been in solitary confinement for over 19 years in a small cramp cell without insufficient space for him to stand upright. Until the recent intervention of a human rights group from Canada, Mr Sarabjit Singh remained shackled in his cell.

Mr Sarabjit Singh has maintained his innocence from the outset. He continues to maintain he is farmer from a village near Amritsar in the Punjab, married with two daughters both of whom were toddlers at the time of his arrest.

Mr Sarabjit Singh’s Sister Mrs Dalbir Kaur has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of her brother since his arrest and continues to do so to date.

Mr Singh does not have the benefit of a legal team in India. His current lawyer in Pakistan is Mr Awais Sheikh who is a human rights lawyer.The original mercy peition was filed by by the previous lawyer and was rejected by president Pervaiz Musharaf on the grounds it was out of the statutory limitation period.

Mr Sheikh has filed a fresh petition with the President Asif Ali Zardari , immediately after review petition was dismissed in Supreme Court following the failure of the previous lawyer to attend the hearing.

The mercy petition lodged by Mr Sheikh is currently waiting to be determined by President Asif Ali Zardari. A letter written by Sarabjit Singh praying for mercy ( handed over to Mr Sheikh at his recent meeting with Mr Sarabjit Singh in Jail) has been annexed to the mercy petition together with the letter from his sister Mrs Dalvir Kaur in support of the mercy petition. Mr Sheikh has continued to passionately defend and highlight Mr Singh’s plight in the media. Mr Sheikh has waived his legal fee.

Click here to read more about the case. (Amnesty Report)

Pakistani Christians have a strong history of support from Sikhs and I challenge readers of this blog to sign their petition.  The petition can be signed by clicking the link below:

To sign it just click add comment!

Amnesty International call for Stronger Government strategy to resolve Blasphemy Law Abuse!

Pakistani Christians protesting Asia Bibi's death sentence ©Demotix/Hussain Jan

Blasphemy’ death sentence controversy another wakeup call for Pakistan government

By Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International Programme Director for the Asia-Pacific

The international outcry over Asia Bibi, the Christian Pakistani woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, has set off an internal backlash against perceived Western influence in Pakistan.  This has put the government in a difficult position – but one of its own making.

The Lahore High Court has ruled that the country’s president can’t yet pardon Asia Bibi, as her case is still being appealed. The government had been making moves towards a pardon, but the ruling has taken place amid pressure from conservative political parties and the street, including protests calling for Asia Bibi’s immediate execution.

The more international condemnation Pakistan faces for discriminatory laws or persecution of religious minorities like Shi’as, Ahmadis, and Christians, the more these cases fuel the anti-Western mood – and from there they can take on a life of their own, in which no-one can predict the outcome, either inside or outside Pakistan.

The religious extremists are no longer even limiting themselves to attacking religious minorities – they have also turned on Sunnis whom they view as insufficiently extreme, such as various Sufi groups that have been part of the region’s variegated religious culture for centuries.

Out of wariness of provoking religious extremists against the government, and desire to avoid making clear decisions either way, the Pakistan government has procrastinated on dealing with the blasphemy laws.  But this has just meant that they have failed to prevent patently outrageous injustices that ‘go international’ like the Asia Bibi case: a festering human rights problem that generates terrible PR and can only be solved through – yes – clear decisions.

How can the Pakistani government get away from this destructive dynamic?  The Zardari government holds the solution, but has been sitting on its hands, much like its predecessors in General Musharraf’s military government.

After the burning alive of at least seven Christians and the destruction of Christian homes the town of Gojra in August last year, carried out by extremists under pretext of outrage at an alleged act of blasphemy, the Prime Minister announced he would have a committee review “laws detrimental to religious harmony”.  A welcome announcement, but so far there have been no concrete results.

The Zardari administration needs to ally with human rights friendly forces within the government and civil society, who have also been embarrassed, if not outraged, by the recent surge in attacks on minorities, ranging from the Asia Bibi case to bomb attacks against Sufis and assaults on girls’ schools and women’s health care clinics.  They too are calling for the fulfilment of promises made on the blasphemy laws.  Pakistan needs to amend or abolish them, particularly section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code which carries a mandatory death penalty for anyone found guilty of blasphemy.

The vaguely formulated and arbitrarily enforced blasphemy laws are typically employed to harass and persecute religious minorities.  For example, in January this year, five Ahmadis, including one minor, were detained on spurious charges of blasphemy in the Layyah district, with no evidence or witnesses to support the charges against them.  Even a Pakistani government minister has already said that Asia Bibi’s charges appear to have resulted from a petty squabble at the community well.

As so little evidence is required, blasphemy accusations tend to be unfounded, and too easily motivated either by petty conflicts or mendacious reasons. Although no-one has been executed under the blasphemy laws, there have been unlawful killings of blasphemy suspects in prison, allegedly by guards or other prisoners.

Asia Bibi’s case is yet another wakeup call for the Pakistani government to deal with the religious extremism that is blowing great holes in the country.  But with attacks on minority targets escalating in recent years, like this year’s Lahore bombings of a famed Sufi shrine and an Ahmadi mosque, the Pakistan government has received wakeup call after wakeup call.  When will it stop sleepwalking toward disaster, and fix the country’s shameful blasphemy laws?

Here is a link to the Amnesty Story:

BPCA Protest 4th December 2010

The gathering started of small and grew slowly.
As we cried out for justice led by Gerald Sunny people stopped to listen whilst seeking our flyers.

People of all races joined us to call for Justice for Asia Bibi.

Toby Iweka from Christian Concern led the clamour for Freedom for Asia
As he led us we spread out. The 35 people that came focused on distributig literature to optimise our effect.

Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Group joined us and provided a rousing speech on Equal Rights!
Toby provided a short sermon, a prayer and led us in worship.

Toby challenged the President of Pakistan to see justice done for Asia!
We chanted slogans for freedom and worshiped God with equal intensity! If you look closely Alan Craig is the man hunched over behind the banner...
The cold weather could not stop those committed to see justice done.
Stephen Green also led the worship, prayed and gave a short sermon as we claimed the streets for Jesus.
The protest grew slowly and reached a peak of close to 35 people - brave enough to call for justice and freedom for Asia, despite the potential extremist threat and cold weather.
I stood on Tip Toes as I tried to hug my new found friends...Ruby Akhtar (Christian Wing EDL), Pastor Samuel Noel (Southall Baptist Church), and Stephen Green (Christian Voice)
Pastor Samuel Noel's Colleague joined us too!
We had an interesting Post-protest conversation with Stephen Green who has committed to attend our next protest.
Stephen Green will encourage more of his group member to join our protest on the 2nd July.

Our protest on Saturday though small was very effective.  Since distributing leaflets and informing the BBC,
Premier Christian Radio and other media of our protest, we have noted that there have been an additional 200 signatures to our electronic petition.   Directly after the protest we noted 6 new comments on our blog and lats night on the BBC 10 O'clock News (closer to 10:15), for the first time ever, a Pakistani Christian Minority concern featured on mainstream news.

That's right a full 5 minute feature including an interview with Ashiq Masih the husband of Asia ensued.  We have been plugging the BBC with stories since the outset of the scandal and cascaded Ashiq's contact details (via solicitors working on the Asia Bibi Appeal) to BBC Reporters) and believe wholeheartedly that our group has been a main trigger for the BBC coverage, that occurred last night. 

The protest went well despite the low turnout of around 35 people (much due to weather and travel impediments), Those that came enjoyed the outing and claimed a spiritual victory for Asia.  All day Premier Christian Radio and BBC Asia Network highlighted our protest to the wider public - we are grateful for their contribution. 

Some of the speakers could not make it due to the weather, however the following guest speakers did attend:

  • Stephen Green (Chriistian Voice)
  • Alan Craig (Leader Christian Peoples Alliance)
  • Ranbir Singh (Hindu Human Rights Group)
  • Ruby Akhtar (Christian Wing EDL)
  • Samuel Noel (Heston URDU Fellowship- Southall Baptist Church)
We will continue the challenge for Asia Bibi's freedom and remind you all of the protest we intend to hold on the 2nd July.  We expect over 300 attendants as we will be joined by the Christian and Jewish wing of the EDL, Stephen Green will be encouraging more of his members to attend and we are confident that the Pakistani Churches will have no conflict of interest, having been informed 1 year in advance.

This was a short snap protest and had great impact despite being small in number, your BPCA remains committed to the cause for better peace, unity, equality and justice in Pakistan.

Here is one write up about our protest:

Here is what Premier Christian Radio said (this is a short snippet of a much longer interview that was aired):

Here is what a BBC Radio Interview said about the situation in Pakistan (Flick to section on Asia Bibi):

Friday 3 December 2010

Sofia Hayat to lead worship at our protest tomorrow!

Sofia Hayat world renowned singer, dancer and model has offered to lead the worship songs at our "Save Asia Bibi" protest tomorrow. 

Sophia performed at Redbridge Carnival this year after the BPCA Flood Appeal for Pakistan became their chosen charity.  Her performance can be viewed by clicking this link kindly donated by Pukaar News:

Sofia has just returned from India where she has spent a month shooting a lead role for a forthcoming Bollywood Movie.  She has had a whirlwind in India, where she has shot in Bhopal and Mumbai.  The press have been vary favourable towards her and the film is tipped to be a Bollywood Blockbuster!

Sofia's Debut Dance Single reached number 15 in the UK Dance Charts - under her own Label.

Sofia heard about the plight of Asia Bibi and returned to help with our protest.  She is calling out to other Christians to join the throng and to clamour for the immediate pardon and freedom of Asia.

Sofia feels strongly about crimes against women and herself recently converted from Islam to Christianity. 

Like Asia Bibi and many other Christians in Pakistan, Sofia adheres to the Catholic faith.

Learn more about Sofia here:

Stephen Green From Christian Voice will be speaking at our Protest!

Stephen Green the National Director of Christian Voice will be speaking at our event.

"Christian Voice is a ministry for those Christians who are fed up with the way things are, who have had enough of secularist politicians imposing wickedness on the rest of us and who are not satisfied with trying to get ‘Christian influence in a secular world’ because they know ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein’ (Psalm 24:1). If you want instead to lift high the Crown Rights of the King of kings, you have found the right place!"

"Christian Voice is a prophetic ministry in the ‘forthtelling sense’. We attempt, with God's grace, to analyse current events in the light of scripture, proclaim God's word to those in public life and provide the information Christians need in order to pray with the mind of God and witness in these dark days. We are not ‘conservative’. We don’t want to conserve this present darkness. Yes, we may have to ‘Hold the Fort’, but we are looking to take the battle to the Lord’s enemies. We are radical, urging repentance, a better way, God’s way."

More details on Christain Voice can be gained through their website:

Jinnah Institute calls for amendment to the Blasphemy Law

From the Jinnah Institute web:

“The current Blasphemy Law is mis-used for injustice.”

Islamabad, November 30: Members of civil society, religious scholars, lawyers, NGO representatives and the Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, gathered to discuss the amendments to the Blasphemy Laws in light of the recent case of Aasia Bibi and the blatant abuse of the legislation to persecute minorities. The event, organized solely by the Jinnah Institute without the involvement of foreign donors, led to a lively and informed debate.

Under discussion also, was a bill submitted by Sherry Rehman, former federal minister, and President Jinnah Institute. The Bill seeks to amend the Blasphemy Laws, sections 295A-C and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCrP) as amended under General Zia. It is intended, that the Bill will ensure that all citizens of Pakistan have an equal right to constitutional protection and that miscarriages of justice in the name of Blasphemy are avoided at all costs.

“If laws are to be made, they must be made for the protection of the people, not to exploit the people in the name of religion,” these comments were made by the renowned Muslim scholar, Professor Javed Ahmed Ghamdi via Video Conferencing at a Round Table meeting organized by the Jinnah Institute . Professor Ghamdi categorically stated that blasphemy laws are contradictory to the teachings of both Quran and Sunnah. According to Professor Ghamdi, in Islam, the death penalty can be applied by a court as punishment only in the case of intentional murder or “fasad fil-ardh” (spreading of mischief in the land).
The blasphemy law has been in place since the Colonial era but only a limited number of cases resulted in convictions during that time. However, religious scholars and leaders gained access to policy making during General Zia’s rule and a new set of stricter blasphemy laws were passed, after which the number of cases escalated. This religious lobby wanted to promote its political agenda. According to Professor Ghamdi, the Prophet(PBUH) does not need law making to defend him and the blasphemy law that exists is based purely on our emotions and not on Islamic jurisprudence.
Dr Khalid Masood (Former Chairman, Council of Islamic Ideology) provided a scholarly summary of the contentious laws in relation to Islam, explaining that the definition of blasphemy or ‘sab-o-shitam’ is unclear and that the severe penalties provided by the legislation do not find any reference in the Koran or Hadith.
Dr Masood stated that in the Quran there is no ayat that justifies saza on tauheen e risalat, not to say that it is condoned and pardoned. It has been said that God will give punishment. In fiqh, all moslim scholars have different views, to think that all say the same in incorrect.

A minority syndrome existed in India, where muslims were fewer in number and were on the defensive. Where in a society where the muslims are now in a majority they should preferably have a different response to this issue. We must keep in consideration that whatever law is made, it does not lead to the disrepute of Islam. Whoever the accused is, he should be given a fair chance, issues should not be solved through hollow slogans.

Sherry Rehman noted that as the law currently stands the definition of the term blasphemy is vague, yet it carries a mandatory death sentence under section 295C. The Amendment to the Blasphemy Laws Act 2010 will not only rationalize the punishments prescribed for offences relating to religion provided under section 295 and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code but ensure that the concept of criminal intent is taken into account when charging an individual with this offence. Other amendments include new sections (198E and 203A) to ensure that charges brought frivolously under the Blasphemy Laws will be punished. Similarly, advocating religious hatred will be penalized. Cases brought under these sections will be heard in the High Court to ensure more public scrutiny.

Sherry Rehman, made it clear that it is essential not only to “remove the teeth and infamous use of the Blasphemy Laws but to understand the way forward for our society, as minorities and vulnerable communities remain the most exploited members of society.” She sais that “we need to seek out a way of removing these laws from the statute books”.

Ali Dayan Hasan (Human Rights Watch and Board of Advisors Jinnah Institute) compared the ongoing persecution of minorities under the Blasphemy Laws to apartheid in South Africa.  Dr Anis Haroon (Chair NCSW) also spoke in detail about, the case of Aasia Bibi, a Christian labourer sentenced to death under s.295C of the PPC. Anis Haroon said that “We live in such an intolerant culture where mosques take over the role of the judiciary…any laws which take away the rights of any culture should be repealed.” Aasia’s case is a glaring example of how innocent people can be wrongfully charged and sentenced to death under these unfair laws.

Leading members of the Christian Community, including Group Captain (retd.) Cecil Chaudhary and Joseph Francis provided detailed examples of injustices suffered by their community under the auspices of the Blasphemy laws. Members of the Christian communities felt that their homes are targeted and their lives are threatened on a daily basis due to these laws.

Asma Jahangir stated that “if we believe in rule of law, we must believe that laws should protect the religious rights of minorities rather than as a tool to exploit religion.” She said that we need to rethink our laws in the name of justice and compassion. She exhorted the gathering to ‘please not twist the law because these judgments create a precedent.’

Shabaz Bhatti, the Minister for Minorites, thanked the Jinnah Institute for organizing this important meeting. He highlighted the difficulties surrounding the Aasia Bibi case and explained that if the withdrawal of the blasphemy laws is not possible then amendments must be made to prevent the continuing suffering of people under these laws. He expressed his personal support of the Bill and said he would seek the support of the Government of Pakistan in moving it forward. He was vocal about the discriminative justice that is meted out to the minority communities in Pakistan and called for change in this country with a move towards Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan.

The meeting ended with representatives of the Christian community calling for the repeal of section 295 and the engagement of civil society in providing an adequate response, which goes further than just repeal. Emotional appeals for assistance with specific cases were also made. Sherry Rehman concluded that it is important for civil society and legislators to work hand in hand.

Read the JI Briefing Pack: Amendments to the Blasphemy Laws Act 2010