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Saturday 29 October 2011

Christian Woman sentenced to 25 years for 'defiling Quran'

BPCA has been alerted this prayer request coming from 'International Christian Concern' :

We're asking for urgent prayer on behalf of Ruqqiya Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for "defiling the Qur'an" by touching it with unwashed hands. After eight months in prison, she is now applying to be freed on bail.

We are hopeful that her appeal will be granted - her husband, Munir, who was also imprisoned for the same crime, was released on bail in December of last year.

Please pray:

  • For the judge to grant the bail to Ruqqiya during the hearing on November 10.
  • For the safety of Munir Masih. Though he has been freed on bail, he still faces vigilante attacks at the hands of radical Muslims.
  • For the children of Ruqqiya and Munir to be comforted and strengthened by God as they witness the injustice suffered by their parents.
  • For Pakistani Christians to continue in their faith in Christ as they face increasing persecution.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

BPCA supporter mentions work in guest blog

Charmaine - blog host

One of the supporters of BPCA has used an opportunity to guest write an article called 'Jerusalem - Well spring of creativity' for a US Christian blog. He has used it in part to mention the work of the BPCA.

Thank you Charmaine for graciously hosting the article

Tuesday 18 October 2011

UK Madrassah Blues?

Radio 4 aired a report last night about Maddrassah's in the UK. These are additional Muslim schools were Muslim children are taught the Koran, and are made to memorize it. The report aired concerns that these institutions are entirely unregulated and unsupervised. The rules and child protection regimes that apply to schools etc, do not apply to them. No CRB checks are required on the staff (normally volunteers), nor inspections of the institutions. Corporal punishment is allowed. About 1/4 million children go to these Madrassahs, of which there are an estimated 3500 in the UK. Freedom of information requests have revealed that there have been at least 400 allegations of physical abuse since 2009, of which only 10 have gone to court, and there have been only 2 successful prosecutions. In the same period, there have been 30 cases raised of sexual abuse, of which there have been 3 prosecutions, only one of which was successful. In one case a head of one of these schools had previously been convicted of child sex abuse and imprisoned in the past, yet he was in charge of the institution, had never had a CRB check. Of particular note to Pakistani Christians is the way the actions of the community match the experience of Christians. In one case, several children reported a respected imam when he sexually abused them. Police were called and the imam eventually convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison. However, the victims were continually teased, ridiculed, shamed, and they and their families underwent threats and intimidation. This was a repeated theme - that parents were pressurised to keep quiet and not go to the police, over cases of physical and sexual abuse. They had to not bring shame on Islam, and that if they went to the authorities or spoke out they would be 'doing as the enemies of Islam do'. This is evidence of the Sharia-mindset that results in attacks and death threats against converts to Christianity, and even the families of such converts from the Islamic community, of which Pakistani's are a significant subset.
In addition it strongly suggests that this Sharia-type mindset means that the significant portions of the Islamic community are complicit in covering up serious criminal matters, including physical and sexual abuse of children, and this needs to be addressed. It amply demonstrates the dangers of tolerance towards Sharia law, and the need to rigorously enforce the principle of one law for all - UK law.
You can listen to the program or read a written version There is a further related article here.

Monday 17 October 2011

Poor Christian mother of 4 murdered

Zubaida Bibi, murdered
Her widower (l) Younis Masih

A poor Christian mother of 4 (children aged 8 to 16) was murdered October 12th in an industrial area of Karachi. Zubaida Bibi was a worker at the factory when she was murdered by a Mr Asif Ali, for reasons currently unknown. Naturally her husband, Younis Masih, and her family are distraught. The killer is in police custody, but Younis is concerned that justice will not be done, a far from unreasonable fear, as readers of this blog will know. The family is poor and the killer is well-off with many resources at his disposal. Please pray for comfort for the family, and that justice will be unequivocally done in this case.
Source : Liaquat Munawar, president of MASS (Mission and Action for Social Services

UPDATE 19-10-11 Reports give the reason for the murder as being that Zubaida was cleaning the toilets when she resisted attempted rape by her killer. She cried out for help, so Muhammed Asif pulled out a knife and slit her throat.
As the source says, there is increasing sexual attacks on Christian women in workplaces across Pakistan which are often not reported due to social and cultural values. Influential Muslims feel free to rape Christian women, knowing they are almost certain to be let off by the Muslim dominated courts and justice system.
We would remind all readers that BPCA would like to hear of all such attacks. Please see our article asking for reports.

More details of Mann Chianu murder background


More details are emerging of the land dispute that resulted in one unarmed Christian protester being shot dead, and many others, including women and children, were seriously wounded, and the difference between the parties involved could not be more clear. The small local church had scrimped and saved to buy land to build an orphanage to house some of the many orphans in Pakistan. A local feudal lord with great power called Muhammed Ali Durrani tried to take the land for his own. Local residents in the village went to the police to file a complaint about Durrani and his 'land mafia' associates, but (surprise!) the police refused to accept it and threatened them for trying to press the complaint. Two days later armed men arrived in cars, and started shooting those who protested when they stole the land from the church. Funnily enough, the police didn't file a FIR (First Information Report) on the murder and shooting of innocent Christian children or the sale of the land.
Local sources report that the regions land mafia and feudal lords always snatch the land of the weak and vulnerable, and continually watch for such charity projects because they are 'an easy catch'.

BPCA COMMENT : We publicly call out Muhammed Ali Duranni as a thief and a criminal, a man who grows fat on the hunger of orphans, and rich by robbing the poor. It does not matter how high or powerful he may be, even if he be a senator or a president! If he does not repent of his wickedness and vile crimes, then he faces the wrath of the true and living God who is the protector of orphans. How will he stand on the great and fearful judgement day when the blood of the martyr Safdar Masih whom he slew, just as surely as if he had pulled the trigger himself, the trauma of the women and children he has wounded and the hunger of the orphans he has robbed cry out as witnesses against him?

Friday 14 October 2011

Asia Bibi tortured by prison officers

According to a Pakistani newspaper, the Express Tribune, Asia Bibi, the poster-victim of Pakistan's wicked blasphemy laws has been tortured by one of wardens at the Sheikhupura jail where she is imprisoned in solitary confinement awaiting a death sentence for defending her Christian faith. The warden Khadeeja allegedly tortured her after claiming he found 'prohibited items' in her cell. Other prison staff watched and did nothing to stop the attack. (Well, she's only a kuffir Christian, after all.....) Thankfully, it appears that (eventually) the culprit has at least been suspended from duty (for how long, we shall have to see).

Don't forget to pray for Asia Bibi and also her family, who are being threatened and isolated by Islamic militants.

Also, spread the word - facebook this article, etc, and if you haven't already, sign our petition to free Asia Bibi and repeal the abominable blasphemy laws.

And remember your taxpayers money is being used to fund education in this country without adequate (or any?) controls to make sure that it is not used to further marginalize minorities. If that outrages you - and it should - also sign our petition calling on the Foreign Office to actually use aid to promote desperately needed Humanitarian reform in Pakistan

Let's talk like this Muslim! Preach it, brother!

If he talks like a Muslim...

The level of fear and intimidation of the Christian community in Pakistan can be seen in many ways, but one of the most telling is when putative Christian political leaders feel the need to make comments on religious matters that could have come out of the mouth of a Muslim speaking on da'wa (mission / evangelisation). This is happening. I read of a leader - and I won't name names, that's not the point here, as he doubtless felt the need to emphasize this to try and prevent Muslim attacks - who commented something along the lines of Muhammed was a prophet whose life gives light to all the world. In other words intimidation is making Christians feel they must adhere to Muslim tropes and customs. Videos of Christian girls show them donning headscarves as they pass a mosque, as they would a church, and using the honorific 'PBUH' formula when mentioning the name of Muhammed.
Unfortunately, some people fall into a similar trap without intimidation (apparently) like the 'Bro Jason' who wrote an appalling comment on an earlier article about the Asia Bibi death sentence. He claims to be a 'white Christian' with a close Muslim friend, who demonstrates great ignorance (or brainwashing by Islamic da'wa propoganda) by claiming that the Hebrew Yahweh and the Arabic Allah are from the same root word (shades of 'Chrislam' anyone - or even 'Tashlan' for readers of CS Lewis Narnia books?), and then concludes by saying (and this an alleged 'Christian' too!) that '40 lashes' is an appropriate punishment for a Christian who shared her faith in Jesus, and disfellowshipping from her church! And he also echoes the Islamic displacement view that says that the prophet of Islam should be shown the same respect because he is a prophet of the 'same God'!
Brother Jason, if you really are a Christian, and not in fact a Muslim in disguise, you need to repent and remember what Jesus said about his Father being ashamed of those who are ashamed of him on judgement day. By attacking a sister and advocating that she be excommunicated and lashed for sharing her faith in Jesus, and by advocating Muslim doctrine are you not doing exactly that - showing yourself ashamed of our Lord and Saviour and ashamed of those who suffer for his name?

Thursday 13 October 2011

Unified Information appeal

So often with relation to the Christian community in Pakistan, we only get piecemeal news. Partly this is because many of the incidents happen in remote areas, and only a select few come out into the open. Partly it is because with so many charities operating among different communities, they only tend to publicise incidents that are in their direct sphere of influence.
Given that according to knowledgeable sources there are 2 incidents a day on average, of Christian girls being kidnapped, raped, forced into marriage and conversion, it is clear that the details of only a very small number of incidents reach general knowledge, even among concerned bodies. This needs to change if we are to highlight the true plight and situation of Christians in Pakistan.

As a first stage BPCA proposes attempting to set up an almanac including all incidents in the previous month that we can find out about. To this end we are calling all supporters and groups that share our concern to work with us and supply information. We realize that often these cases are sensitive and cannot be publicised, at least not in any detail. It would still be useful for us to know, to see which areas are worse, what the trends are, etc.

We will try and establish a smooth system for reporting, but for the time being, please can you email us if you have a case to report. Can emails be sent with the heading 'Incident report' along with the month the incident happened in. If you are confident of your English, please send to If you feel it is better to send in Urdu or Punjabi, please send to Initially we are looking to try and collate all incidents in October, and for practical purposes, the deadline for receiving reports is the 16th after the month has ended, but the sooner the better. Any suggestions or offers of help from NGO's and charities involved in supporting Christians in Pakistan would be welcome.

For ease of collating reports, can emails be sent with the following structure;
1) Name and contact details of the report sender
2) Date and time of the incident, and as precise an indication of where the incident happened as possible (a pointer using google maps and or longitude / latitude would be useful as often rural villages have very similar names). If it is an ongoing incident, please supply here the information of when and where it started, and in the next section detail when and where later parts of the incident happened.
3) Your relationship to the people involved / how you found out about it. Obviously we would prefer reports from victims or people who have first hand contact with those involved, rather than second or third hand accounts.
4) Tell us who was involved, what happened, as much details as possible. Also please try and distinguish how certain each part of the information is. (For instance, you could have only heard it in a garbled conversation over the phone with people involved, or you could have been there and seen all or part of the incident. Also, some information - eg about the perpetrators - could be arrived at by inference or assumption. If that is the case, please tell us what is certain and what is conjecture, however reasonable.)
5) If you have any more contacts who are likely to know more and willing to be contacted, please let us know.
6) Please give as much information about the perpetrators and the background factors in the case (and credibility issues if applicable). Please take care here especially to specify what is fully known, and what is reasonable conjecture or assumption. This will help us build intelligence of what is happening in each region and groups methods etc.
Also, if there are images related to the incidence (even if they shouldn't be made public), or links to web-pages that report on the incident, please supply them.
Finally, we realize that there will be often security reasons why information or details cannot be released. Please specify at the end of the email VERY CLEARLY what material is appropriate for publication. For instance, if there are only a few particular details that need to be withheld, detail these. If only the vaguest details can be released (eg girl abducted and raped in x region of province) please state what can be made public.

So, just to recap, send English reports to, and Urdu / Punjabi reports to Alternatively, you can leave a reply with details on any post on this blog - start them with the words 'Not to be published - incident report' along with the month of the incident.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

12 year old Christian girl abducted, raped and then told by courts she must return to the rapist who forced her into marriage!

The perversity of Pakistan's police - promoting paedophilia (if it's a Christian or minority group victim, of course....)

The BPCA has been notified of a sordid attack on a 12 year old Christian Girl who was kidnapped and raped for a period of approximately 8months.

On the 24th December 2010 the victim (unnamed) the daughter of a Mr Arif Masih (residing in WAPDA Colony, Shadra, Lahore), was visited by a Muslim friend reportedly known as Miss Nisha. Miss Nida asked her to join her on a shopping trip and took her to a car in which her uncle a Mr Muhammed Irfan was present. The victim was taken on a long journey before being taken into a house and raped. Two days later women relatives of the rapist reported as Mumtaz Bibi, Farzana Bibi and Kiran Bibi along with her friend Nida forced her to sign papers consenting to a marriage to Mohammed Irfan, under the threat that she would not be released unless she complied. Despite signing she was not released

The victim was then taken to a number of Islamic places where she was forced to adopt Islam and severely beaten when she rejected their request.

The parents of the victim have reported these crimes to the Police who have challenged the family to return the girl to the rapist who they believe is legally married to the girl, despite the legal age of marriage without parental consent being set at 16 years for girls - under the Child Marriage Restraint act of 1929 (Click here for act).

The Asian Human Rights Commision reported on the incident:

A 12-year-old Christian girl was abducted and raped for eight months. The rapists have not been arrested because of their affiliation with a militant Muslim organization. The police are also refusing to order a medical checkup. The Judicial Magistrate of the area took her statement under section 164 Cr Pc (Criminal Procedure Code) but has not made any orders for her security. One of the rapist claims that he has married the girl but she denies that any marriage took place during her abduction and captivity.
The police have warned the Christian parents that it would be better to hand over the girl to her 'legal' husband (the rapist) otherwise a criminal case will be filed against them.

After her abduction, her father filed an FIR against unknown people on 5/1/2011.F I R NO 18/11. Sr. No 2138 to the Factory area police station district Shaikhupura, Lahore. However, the police took no action for eight months.

In the first week of September 2011, more than eight months after her disappearance, Anna called her family from Tandianwalla, district Faisalabad, 190 kilometers from Lahore, and told them that she had been abducted but had escaped and was hiding at a bus stop. The parents went there and recovered her. She was brought back to her home and the parents produced her before the First Class Magistrate, factory area, Shadra, Miss Aasma Tehseen, who recorded her statement under section 164 of Cr Pc but did not order any action for her protection or a medical checkup.

The rapists then immediately contacted the police through their religious group and produced a marriage certificate showing that one of them, Muhammad Irfan, was married to her. When Anna's parents went to the factory area police station to change the FIR to include the names of the rapists in the case the police flatly refuse to allow this and said she that as she had married and converted to Islam it would be better to hand over the girl to her legal husband. If they refused they were told that a criminal case would be filed against them.

The Christian family is in hiding from the rapists and the police and according to the Christian community, the religious extremists, who are from a banned organization, the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, are searching them. The abductors are claiming that she is pregnant but her mother denies that this is true. And in fact, make no difference whatsoever to the girl's plight.

The irony of the matter is that the police never thought to ask the rapists and their religious groups as to how a girl of 12 could be married when according to the law marriage under the age of 16 is illegal. This is yet another example of how the Punjab provincial government is allegedly patronizing banned militant organizations.

The BPCA condemns this recent attack and has created a petition calling for the Pakistani Government to ensure that justice prevails, we also call for the British Government to ensure that their counterparts in Pakistan see justice done. Please sign our petition below:

Click for petition (here)

Please pray for the victim and her family to have the strength to see through this case until justice is done. Pray also for the government of Pakistan to recognise it's responsibility to the victim and her family.

Will Copts face Exile from Egypt?

The picture say's it all!

The scenes of recent days and night of Egypt’s indigenous Christian minority facing the brutality of the and Salafists means that the revolution is well and truly over. Western pundits and the much oppressed liberal voice within Egypt sincerely believed that Mubarak’s overthrow would be the transition to full democracy. Instead the dire warnings issued by revolutions in Iran, China, Russia and the mother of them all, that of France in 1789 have brought an uncompromising malice to the fore. Khomeini, Mao and Lenin did not create revolutions but let “useful idiots” do all their dirty work for them, only later to hijack and claim credit and institute a regime of terror, the stuff of nightmares. This much should have been obvious to Egypt’s liberals.

Robespierre did not just create the Terror. He was both its architect and its offspring. But then revolutions while providing good material for Hollywood always did reek of the same dishonesty as softcore pornography. Salafist groups have always made it plain that after the “Saturday people” it would be the turn of the “Sunday people”. And so it has come to pass. Revolutions by Hitler-worshipping Nasser and Gaddafi that overthrew monarchies in Egypt and Libya respectively, led to the expulsion of the former, the Jews. The unquenchable fires of anti-Semitism burnt wildly as the French decamped from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, and as the Nazi-inspired Ba’ath party seized power in Syria and Iraq. Many Christians tried to ingratiate themselves with the majority, as not just fellow Arabs, but unflinching Arab nationalists. Syria’s Michel Aflaq was instrumental in founding Ba’ath. Tariq Aziz was the cuddly face of Saddam’s Iraq. George Habash made Arafat look positively soft. Hannan Ashrawi fulminated against the Zionists just as her fellow Christians were being exterminated by the PLO in Lebanon and became an ever precarious minority in what were to become the Palestinian territories. Across the Maghreb once vibrant minorities of French, Italians, Maltese and Armenians joined the Jews in the exodus that followed revolution and independence. Kurds remained a repressed minority across the region, ever to be enserfed by the Arabs. In Sudan the Black African, largely animist or Christian, became an unwanted bacillus fit only for slavery, quite literally. Yet even profession of Islam was no guarantee of security as Muslims in Darfur have discovered all too recently. Nothing could stop the unstoppable march of the Arab master race in its quest for lebensraum. The overthrow of Saddam demonstrated that hatred and totalitarianism has struck deep roots. Liberalism, democracy and tolerance have become alien concepts in a society where civil society has all but been gassed (as the Kurds found out). Iraq’s Christian minority now faces its own Holocaust from Salafists and supposedly secular Kurdish separatists.

All this should have been obvious when Egypt jubilantly celebrated its own revolution. While Copts have faced discrimination since Nasser’s supposedly secular military coup the forces that now lurk in the shadows and let others do the dirty work are making their presence felt. Unlike Mubarak, Sadat and Nasser they do not even pretend to be secular. But then was Egypt’s pre-1952 past ever going to emerge? Was this not a naïve assumption to say the least? Egypt after all is the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood which rejects everything a tolerant democratic state stands for. Ikhwan Musulmeen is the spiritual father to radical groups globally, notably Hamas. Does anyone still believe such groups will be democratic? As with Zimbabwe it will be one person, one vote, once. Then that will be it. As Goebbels admitted candidly the Nazis entered the Reichstag to destroy democracy, just as Hamas has done in Palestinian territories. The now persecution of Copts is already making plain a more toxic hatred than was found during the Mubarak regime. Can we afford to be naïve as the Egyptian liberals and sections of the western media would want us? When we look at how once vibrant and ancient Christian communities of Armenians and Assyrians were exterminated by the Ottoman Empire in 1895 and 1915, are we sure that this is not happening again? After all it was on the eve of his invasion of Poland in 1939, that Hitler calmly brushed off criticism that blitzkrieg would bring massive casualties to the Poles with: “Who today remembers the Armenians?”

Will anyone right now actually remember the Copts? The disturbing signs are that while we are being fed falsehood about the Ikhwan being democratic, the reality of dhimmitude is forcing Egyptian Christians to make a stark choice between even more retrenched religious apartheid and impending exile. At least the South Sudanese and Mizrahi Jews had separatism as a third option to avoid an “Armenian” future for daring to challenge dhimmitude.

Christian nurse kidnapped by colleague and his friend who used rape video to blackmail and attempt forcible conversion to Islam

Crime Scene - Lahore hospital

Two months ago, a supposed colleague and 'friend' raped a Christian nurse. Shiasta Samuel, a 27 year old nurse in the SIMS hospital in Lahore, thought she was friends with the chief perpetrator, Ali Adnan, who had an admin role at the hospital. He quite often visited her family. But then he started acting differently, criticising Christian women for not following Muslim dress codes and 'following their own religion'. He then told Miss Samuel that he liked her and she should convert to Islam and marry him, but she refused, citing the fact that she was married and they were of different faiths. Adnan then started harrassing her at home and work, including blocking her way at work, threatening her family if she did not marry him and then setting their house on fire.

Then on 21st of August 2011 he came up behind her and forced her into a car in the car park, saying not to make a fuss as it would be embarrassing for her and that he wanted to 'just clear up some misunderstanding'. As they came to the carpark an accomplice came and put a gun to her head. They raped her and videoed the assualt, and then brought her back, telling her that if she told anyone about the rape, they would send the film to her family and upload it on social networking sites. For a while she complied, to spare her family shame, but Adnan started ringing up to blackmail her. He said she had to convert to Islam, and only then would he 'forgive' her for refusing his proposal. When she refused, he started demanding sexual favours and again threatened to come and show the film to her family, which he then did when she refused.

He told her family that they had no other option but to 'hand her over' to him because he 'owned' her now. This presented the family a terrible dilemma and illustrates the situation faced by Christian women in perverse Pakistani society - in that it is victims of rape who are shamed and publicly pilloried in Pakistan, not the perpetrators. They bravely and commendably decided to report the incident to the police. Those of you who have read this blog for some time will not be surprised at what happened next. The police deliberately gave the perpetrators time to get 'pre-arrest bail' and they fled their homes, even though the victims family went to the police every day to press them to take the statements of the accused. They used delaying tactics and started asking the victim ridiculous questions, thus continuing the trauma she had endured. At work there were constant accusing stares, and eventually she took leave. The administration has set up a committee to probe the affair, but no-one from her work has contacted her.

First of all we would like to applaud the family for seeking justice and not remaining silent, a brave decision, especially since they had to know the police were likely to be difficult. This story amply demonstrates the depraved nature of much of Pakistani society, where Christians feel they have no choice but to put up with the kind of behaviour the rapist (so-called 'friend') displayed against them in their own homes even before the crime, and where the victims of sexual violence are treated as criminals and social pariah's and the perpetrators go free. We can also see how the massive power imbalance is used to try and use rape and shame and blackmail to coerce Christian women to convert. The fact that police so often mirror society's oppression of Christians means criminals feel they can attack Christians with impunity.

Edit - apologies, wrong link used, now updated 19:00 on 14-10-11. Story for other link to follow.

800 Christians evicted,homes razed

Above : Christians house contents after forced eviction
Below : Child plays by rubble of demolished homes
Last month in Lahore, 800 poor Christians were evicted from their homes with less than a days notice, some not even being able to clear all the belongings out before the bulldozers came in. The slum (150 houses) was demolished to create an alternative road to a nearby fruit and vegetable market. The community had lived in that location since 1998, when they moved in after being evicted from another slum to make way for a housing association. These actions were a direct violation of Pakistani law, because it requires alternative accommodation to be found for communities of this size and age.
The Christians staged a protest to protect their church, but all their houses were bulldozed. They were left traumatised and in tears, with most expecting to sleep outside for a long period as they just cannot afford the rents. What little belongings they have are vulnerable to destruction if it rains. One little girl declared that they were Pakistani, but 'if they don't want us here, they should throw us out of the country, reflecting the despair and rejection felt by the whole community.
Authorities meant to meet with the community the day before were suddenly unavailable and out of town, and the police claimed that the residents had been told of the evictions several weeks before, but the residents denied this, saying that the first they heard was the day before the evictions.
Source :

Another year, another Flood, yet more discrimination

Just like last year, discrimination against minorities, including Christians, has been widespread. Religious and charitable organisations have given aid only to Muslims, with minorities explicitly told that the food is 'only for Muslims'. Dalits are treated this way as our Christians, who are told 'Western Missionaries think about you'.

The discrimination is not just restricted to food and emergency shelter. It is also occurring in the grants of plots of land to people to recover from the floods. There are several reports that Christians and minorities, even though often the worst affected, are being denied land plots and similar help, whether due to bad organisation or deliberate discrimination by the land revenue officers who are responsible for this scheme. In some cases, people who already have over 20 acres of land are being granted plots of land, but Christians with nothing are getting no land plots.

BPCA has an ongoing appeal for flood victims and the related Dengue Plague.
If you would like to contribute please use the Pay Pal facility on our blog or website. Alternatively you can pay any donations directly into our Bank Account using the following details:

Account: 63468976
Sort Code: 20-67-90

with the reference BPCA FLOOD/DENGUE APPEAL so we can identify what the donation is for.
Should you wish to donate by cheque please use the following details (again with the same reference to show the purpose of the donation)

British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane

Monday 10 October 2011

Egyptian military kills a score or more Christians

Once again we have to report on the sad deterioration of conditions for Christians in Egypt. Since the so-called 'Arab Spring' something like 100,000 Copts have fled Egypt, with many more who would leave if they could, rather reminiscent of the situation in Pakistan.

Now, after yet another church burning, a peaceful protest by young Copts outside the TV studio degenerates when unknown thugs attack it with rocks and firebombs, and the army and police move in with tear gas and batons and bullets. Result : at least 23 dead, 200 injured, most of them Christian, including those run over by armoured vehicles. Here are the videos showing something of the horror and the sustained brutality against the Christian victims.

For an account of what happened to spark this brutality, including a baying mob of 3000 Muslims destroying a church after Friday prayers, read what this Egyptian Christian had to say about the events in Egypt. The military is openly aiding and abetting the Salafists and terrorists in destroying churches and attacking Christianity

Another murder - lawless Pakistan.

The lawless state of much of Pakistan was underlined last week when the bureau chief for the UK paper 'The London Post' was found dead at his home in Lahore. He had been tortured, and then had his throat slit.

Good and bad news in Pakistani education

For one girls school in the city of Rawalpindi, terror came in the form of 60-70 masked men bursting in brandishing metal bars. The men beat the students and some of the teachers, warning them to 'dress modestly and wear hijabs' or else face the consequences. This terrorist attack resulted in low or non-attendance across the region, with all schools shut down the day after the attack. The schools are helpless in the face of this kind of attack, and more appalling and telling is the comment of an (understandably) anonymous police officer, who stated that 'We were under strict instructions to do nothing'. In other words, for whatever reason, powerlessness, fear, or complicity on the part of the authorities, the authorities essentially colluded with this shameful violation of the Pakistani education system.

On a more positive note, Christian legal advocates have earlier been successful in their writ in the Lahore high court in correcting a gross imbalance in a school text book. The chapter on ethics contained the life history of every prophet, except the life of Jesus. The court ordered that material be put into the book and according to Raja Nathaniel Gill, the revised textbook is now available on the markets

Surprise visit - hints of a thaw?

Wilson Chowdhry, head of the BPCA, was surprised and delighted at the unannounced visit of Salas Raza Kiani, Minister of Community and Welfare at the Pakistani High Commission in London, to the Carnival Wilson organised last month.

Wilson siad that he was very pleased to see him, and hopes that this gesture presages a rapproachment between the BPCA and the High Commission, and that they will be able to work together once more to improve the situation for Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan. He also hopes it will lead to the rescinding on the ban against travelling to Pakistan that has been imposed on him.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Minister of Community Welfare from Pakistan High Commission, visits Wilson at Redbridge Carnival - is this a potential end to hostilities?

We were pleasantly surprised by an unannounced visit form the Minister for Community and Welfare from the High Commission of Pakistan.

 Redbridge has talent meets Britain's got talent!
 Aidan Davies stole the show at This years Carnival with an immaculate performance.
 Redbridge Growth showed of their talent and received certificates.
 The 2001 Carnival Court brought glamour to our event!
 Superintendent John Sweeney spoke of the recent riots and called for better community vigilance, cohesion and engagement with our youth.
 The Fire Service conducted a chip pan fire demonstration.

 Hainault Dancers were awesome!
Redbridge Youth services funded Hainault dancers were a real treat.
Aidan appeared again!

MP Lee Scott and Cllr Solomon showed Angel Dance Academy they could dance too!
Spirit of London Award Winner Camara Fearon performed immaculately.

This years carnival was smaller in attendance that last years event due to the Abysmal weather during the weekend and the staging of London Festival and Wanstead Festival on the same day.  However overall the event was still a success and feedback form visitors was extremely positive.

We had our biggest line up ever with over 50 acts spread across the weekend Newcomers included:
  • Redbridge School of Gymnastics
  • Shpresa (Albanian Dancers)
  • Camara Fearon (Singer and winner of Spirit of London Award)
  • Dholl Evolution
  • Ben the Bagpiper
  • Sally's Dance Academy
  • Starbrite Twirlers
  • Kayzar (Street Dancing)
  • Davinder Bedi ( Punjabi Singer Recently played on BBC Asia Network)
  • Immortal Reverie (Metal Rock band)
  • Gataka ( Sikh Sword Fighting)
  • Comede - Ian (stand up comedy)
Old Favourites included:
  • Shin Cobra (Live Punjabi Singer)
  • Honey's Dance Academy (Bollywood Dancing)
  • Electra (Tribal Fusion Belly Dancing)
  • Aveley Twirlers
  • Amanjot Sangha (Hindi Singer)
  • London Fire Service (Chip Pan Fire demo)
There were many other participants.

Aidan Davies stole the show with two elegant street dancing routines.  As a thank you for all the support he received after his performance, he provided visitors with an extra performance later in the day.

A funfair provided by Harry Parrish was a real treat for all visitors, we also had go Kart racing and bungee trampolines.

Superintendent John Sweeney of the London Murder Squad spoke of the need of vigilance against crime collectively.  He urged local people to engage with local youth and to work with them in fashioning a better future for the borough.  He also spoke of the dedication and commitment to protect local people by Redbridge Police and commended them on their sterling work during the recent London riots.  He was definate that their positive attitude and professionalism that kept had limited the impact of the riots locally and kept our borough out of the national media.

Saturday evening was met with a surprise unannounced visit form the Minister of Community Welfare from the High Commission of Pakistan - Mr Salas Raza Kiani.  He spoke eloquently of the need for all communities to promote cohesion in after the rise of various types of extremism in recent years.  He celebrated the recent anniversary of Pakistan with the wider community of Redbridge, in which a significant Pakistani Community exists.  

The Sunday street procession was larger than last year and hundreds stopped in the street to watch the festivities before them.  We hope to achieve more success with this procession next year.

A comforting hush filled the event during a 1 minute silence to the victims of 9/11 at 14:30 on Sunday 11th September.  On the 10th anniversary of the disaster Imam Hafiz Mohammed and Reverend George Hargreaves, spoke of peace and the need for communities to vigilant against extremism.  It was very rewarding for the RCA Committee to see the wide variety of people from different backgrounds coming together to show their respects.  You could have honestly heard a pin drop!  Visitors where asked to hold hands in a show of unity and you could feel a warm coming together of people who were absolute strangers.

The minutes silence was followed by a lament played by Ben the bagpiper after which a huge passionate  roar erupted.

Thursday 6 October 2011

The Iranian State Lying Machine - charges against pastor suddenly change

Pastor Youcef and family

Pakistani's Western neighbour, Iran has been in the news recently because of the death sentence handed down to a Christian Pastor - Youcef Nadarkhani - for apostasy.
Firstly, the BPCA would like to add it's voice to those speaking up for our brother in Christ. This sentence is a travesty and shows what a mockery of the term 'justice' Iran's legal system really is. We suggest that readers in the UK take note of the things mentioned below, and then do something about it. (Hint, the Iranian embassy telephone number is 020 7225 3000 and there is a petition for contacting the embassy on the matter here).
There are conflicting reports as to whether a death sentence for apostasy is actually legal under Iranian jurispudence. Regardless of this issue, let's follow some of the events in the case
1). A Christian pastor is arrested in 2009 for apostasy and for Christian activities (holding church services and baptising people).
2) In the various convoluted back and forth between various courts, a key issue was whether he was ever legitimately a Muslim in the first place. Assurances were given that the apostasy charge would not apply if he was found not to have been a Muslim. The key issue was the period between the age of 15 (when he is deemed to be of a responsible age in Iranian law) and 19 when he converted to Christianity. Did he live as a practising Muslim? Witnesses said no, he didn't.
3) Suddenly this didn't matter. Because he had Muslim ancestry, he was still declared guilty of apostasy and sentenced to death. Then the international outcry began.
4) In the last few days the already condemned pastor faces intense and long grilling, with legal experts fearing the authorities are going on a 'fishing expedition' to get him to say words that can be used to further incriminate him, and simultaneously Iranian state media and government officials claim that
a) that this is all a western media plot to discredit Iran, and that there were never any convictions for apostasy (despite the legal / trial documents clearly showing otherwise), and
b) that the Pastor had actually been arrested for 'serious crimes against security' because he is a 'Zionist' (and therefore apparently a spy and traitor), that he is found guilty of 'rape and extortion' and that he has been 'running a brothel' and is involved in the sex slave trade etc (again although the legal / trial documents show no mention of these charges)

Just like the Asia Bibi case in Pakistan, the allegedly 'superior' Islamic judiciary cases have been shown to be anything but - corrupt, contemptuous and devoid of truth.

In the case of Asia Bibi, if you have not already, don't forget to sign our petition

And in the case of Pastor Youcef, there is a petition (not by us - by CSW) here :

And to voice your concern more strongly, ring the Iranian embassy on 020 7225 3000

And while you are at it, you can ring the Pakistan embassy about Asia Bibi on 020 7664 9200

Remember both Asia and Youcef in your prayers, and don't forget also to pray for Pastor Youcef's lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, who himself is appealing against a 9 year prison sentence imposed on him for his sterling work in defending human rights (of course, the charges weren't quite put like that.....)

Useful sources of info

Christian Village under siege near Mian Channu - Sabir Masih (RIP) Gunned to death

We have received news of the tragic killing of a young man Sabir Masih yesterday morning, in District Khanewal in the Punjab province. Khalid Gill from APMA reported on the horrendous event that has left many victims receiving treatment in 3 local hospitals.

The affray was the consequence of a land dispute in which land purchased by a local church for the construction of an orphanage, was envied by local militants.  Concerned about the illegal sale of landf that had alreday been purchased by their church, local parishioners went to meet with the former owner to protest against a second  sale made by him to the Islamic militants.  They were met with by an armed group who shot indiscriminately at them, without warning.  Eye witnesses have confirmed that men, women and children involved in the protest group were shot at and injured.

Sabir Masih a 21 years old man was killed instantly and his  younger brother is now in critical condition, his mother has also been hospitalised.  Victims were rushed to THQ Hospital Mian Channu Tesil, Civil Hospital Khanewal and Nishtar Hospital Multan.  The scale of the attack was significant with a purported 29 victims of the shooting incident.

At 4pm today a funeral service was held for martyr Sabir Masih presided over by Rt. Rev. Bishop Leauo Paul from Multan Diocese.

Zeshan the son of of one of the injured protestor's commented;

"My father has suffered hand wounds, the brother of Sabir has been shot in the neck and is in a critical condition, a 22 year old girl has 22 pieces of shrapnel embedded in her face, how will she get married now?  Th perpetrators of this violence are a callous group who have sought to use violence to usurp our legal property because they feel Christians' are easy targets"

Khaild Shahzad commented;

"APMA youth are caring for the injured and looking after those Christians living in fear in the affected  village"

Please pray for a restoration of health for the innocent victims of this attack.  Pray also for succour for the family of deceased Sabir Masih and peace to be restored to this beleaguered community of Christians.

More information on this story can be found by clicking (here).

Christian attacks are common place in Miah Channu read more here:

BPCA Radio links you may not have heard!

Wilson commends the foreign minister and speaks in regards to refuge for those suffering from religious persecution on Sunrise radio.

Wilson Chowdhry speaks about concern for the future of Pakistani Christians on Sunrise Radio

Wilson shares his thoughts in connection with the Quran burning incident on Sunrise radio.

MP Tom Brake speaks regarding freedom of speech and religion after Wilson's ban to Pakistan

MP Tom Brake challenges UK High Commission decision to bar Wilson Chowdhry from Pakistan

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Does the American Church support Pakistani Christians? Alaska (I'll Ask her,heh, heh)

Young people of Alaska point to the truth that is God's word!
The State of Alaska resembles a pointing finger!

On Wednesday 28th September Christian Youth in Anchorage, Alsaka showed their passion for the persecuted Church of Pakistan by adorning our BPCA wrist bands - calling for freedom for Asia Bibi and remembering Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti.  

The youth of the church have been praying for Asia Bibi for almost two years after hearing of her awful plight.  The local youth leader Marvin Hadenfelt wanted to raise awareness of the issue and purchased 40 wrist bands so young people from the Adventure club within the church, could engage with others on the issues regarding Asia's captivity.  

Mr Hadenfelt has sent a picture with great symbolism and described the ideology infused within it:

  • We have our hands in a pointing pose which resembles our state of Alaska.
  • We are in a circle which has no beginning and no end, like God.
  • We are wearing our bands to show support for Asia Bibi and to remember Shahbaz Bhatti and to remind us to be praying for Pakistan.
  • We point to the Bible, God's Word.  We pray that Pakistan will hear the Word of the Lord and come to saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
  • The carpet is a stone pattern, so we do all this on and through God, our solid Rock.
In those few lines and heartfelt sentiment Sand Lake Baptist Church have said much about their love for our persecuted community. In our comfortable existences in the west many forget the tormented lives that many suffer in countries with a weaker stance on human rights.  Here we see a church that is focused on engaging with the next generation to develop committed Christian's with a desire to see good in the world. 

On receiving this story the BPCA was moved by the exhibited passion of this church so far away in distance from Pakistan yet so close to the truth of the real plight that Christian's face there.  

Mr Hadenfelt sent these verses form the bible that hopefully will spur hope amongst our beleaguered brothers and sisters living in Pakistan and their loving global family of Christians:

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."   Matthew 5:10-12  ESV

We were also reminded by Mr Hadenfelt that November 13 is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church in America, held in the UK on 6th November.  Please remember Pakistan on these important day's set aside for corporate prayer.

Ascot Day (not to be confused with the horse race) a day to be cherished!

The unclear image does no justice in depicting the beautiful decor within the church.  Wilson is speaking at the  front of the steps he declined the pulpit as his presentation was not religious.
All smiles in a warm and friendly church.

 Wilson's daughters' found the church comfortable enough for them to "do their own thing"
 We have no idea why they are holding the bottle of milk? 
 Revd Daryl Hannah helps set up the projector for the presentation.
 Tech support was provided by an additional parishioner when the equipment decided to go rogue.
 After the presentation some of the church joined us in a show of solidarity against persecution.
 After the church service Wilson was in constant dialogue with parishioners craving more knowledge.  Juliet and Hannah had their picture taken by little Naomi.
 Wilson's middle daughter Naomi showed how comfortable she was in the company of this warm part of our Christian family.  She fell asleep in the house of those who fed and entertained us, between the service and follow-up presentation.

Many readers have asked for a report back on our visit to Ascot to speak at All Saints Church.  As my family and I travelled to the church we were blessed with good weather and clear traffic meaning that we arrived at the church at an appropriate time before the service.  We have come to expect warm welcomes when we attend churches giving presentations, however the parishioners at All Saints and the clergy pulled out all stops to make us feel welcome, and this added to a very inspiring day for all.

I was asked to give a short 10 minute address during the church service around 10:00am which was attended by close to 100 people.  This was to be followed up with a longer presentation in the small hall later at around 2.30pm. 

The PowerPoint I prepared for the service was unusable due to a lack of facilities, as a consequence I hurriedly wrote some note and prayed to God to give me the write words.  

It seems that despite my unpreparedness God infused a passion amongst parishioners and visitors to the church, many of whom spoke of gaining knowledge of the concerns in Pakistan for the first time.  I was kept busy for an hour and a half, talking to numerous Church people responding to questions and describing the situation for Pakistani Christian's to an avid and concerned parish.  The church kindly paid for our travel costs, they also undertook a collection for the BPCA which amounted to £255. 

This churches passionate response was very encouraging and illustrated that with effective promulgation of our concerns, to  a wider church audience we can galvanise the necessary support to affect change in Pakistan.  Our small community will pose an ineffectual voice if it proceeds with insular campaigns geared at uniting a widespread tiny diaspora (8175 Pakistani Christians' registered in UK - 2001 Census) many of whom are not easily traceable.  When we are born again as Christians' we automatically become part of a much larger global family.  Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour when told of the arrival of his family at a house in which he was preaching, reminded those before him of the strong tie that is induced by becoming part of the church:

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!

35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

There are those in our community that believe when the BPCA challenges wider churches to join our protest that we dilute the work of our community.  I have always challenged this notion and would argue that our community is not one based on a cultural or land origin, but on the precepts of our faith.  For instance, many of our brethren are unavailable to us, due to having acclimatised themselves into the western churches and not being in touch with Urdu churches.  I myself am from this band of Christian followers and do not separate myself out as a Pakistani Christian due to a belief that this particular classification holds any tangible worth.

I only refer to myself with this description that I might challenge the persecution and equality my brothers and sisters in Pakistan face daily.  My intent with this description of myself  is to draw attention to the existence of Christians in the homeland.  Prior to Gojra 2009 I would not have referred to myself in this fashion.  I hope to be able to drop this title one day, as a consequence of a safer future for minorities in Pakistan.

I digress and promptly return to Ascot and the awesome day that my family enjoyed with our brothers and sisters residing there. 

Around 20 people came back to our later presentation a strong number when compared with the size of the original congregation at the church.   People came not because of the guest speaker but through a desire to know more of the situation in Pakistan. 

Numerous questions were asked and people had an insatiable thirst for knowledge.  Fortunately at the end of service tea fellowship and the ensuing Q&A session after my presentation, the organising committee managed to draw me away from parishioners, not for my sake, but recognising my wife and children were fatigued.  This care and attention is how we were dealt with all day and we could not have felt more welcome.

After the event I was told by an elderly parishioner that she had cried on hearing the reports of how Asia Bibi and Shazia Bashir were treated and the ongoing injustices.  Quite clearly throughout the day, many of these churchgoers had been ignorant to the persecution that Pakistani Christians faced and were shaken by the few tragic accounts that I was able to describe in a short time. 

The icing on the cake for me was the offer from Reverend Daryl Hannah to speak at our 3rd March protest. 

This has not yet been cemented in his diary but a proverbial dark shade of graphite has been used to enter the event into his diary.
Rev Hannah an eloquent speaker introducing Wilson before his presentation with a prayer.  Pray God positions him to be able to inspire others at our protest on the 3rd March 2012.