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Thursday, 16 December 2010

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.


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