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Friday 31 August 2012

Glasgow protest on Scottish TV, Manchester protest tomorrow

Today Pakistani and other Scottish Christians, as well as other people concerned for human rights in Pakistan, gathered to protest outside the Pakistani consulate in Glasgow, and to lodge a protest about Rimsha.  

Scottish TV reporters were there and it featured on the news, showing the protest, covering something of the background to the case and for Pakistani Christians situation in general.  

They included a brief snippet of interview with Wilson Choudhry, who talked about the devastating effects the situation has on Rimsha's Christian neighbours.  

Unfortunately, it also included a quote from a Christian cleric that was inaccurate.  Rimsha was not charged and sentenced yesterday.  She has been remanded in custody, as the police have appealed for more time to investigate, and the prosecuting lawyer has challenged the medical report, claiming it was illegal and was a result of Rimsha 'colluding' with the state.  Appallingly, the same lawyer has openly called for Rimsha to be killed extra-judicially if the courts acquit her.  

The BPCA is holding another protest tomorrow outside the Manchester consulate from 12-3 pm.  Scottish Pakistani Christians rallied at Glasgow with less than 24 hours notice.  We are calling for as many Pakistani Christians in the North of England as possible to turn out in support of your brothers and sisters in Pakistan.  

The consulate address is Pakistan House  137 Dickenson Road, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5JB.  

We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Police collude with extremists in Lahore, target Christians

We have received a report by the Rev Dr Jamil Nasir, pastor of the Church of Pentecost in Lahore, which we copy verbatim with a few explanations in bold brackets.  It gives a vivid picture of the kind of persecution, intimidation, murder, police connivance and fear that Christians in Pakistan have to undergo.  The background to this agitation is rumours that this pastor is inviting Muslims to convert to Christianity.  Several copies of the report are also posted on facebook, there is also a rather roughly edited one here.

This happened two nights ago when I was at a meeting and my family was alone at home. Some Maulvis (a term used of 'learned teachers or doctors of Islamic law) came to my house and were banging and kicking the door. They wanted to meet me. My family was very scared and my children were crying and praying inside. They left and came back again. One of them said to me, " I want to become Christian". I said, " I do not make anybody Christian". The other one said "I was a Muslim and now I have become Christian, I need your help". I understood the situation and knew that they were trying to harass me. So I did not answer them. They threatened me when they left.

Last night in the area of LDA, Walton Road Lahore, Muslims fired with their guns on the homes of Christians living there. It is now 1:40 am, August 31, 2012 we can hear the Muslims chanting naara-e taqbeer outside.

It all started when a Muslim man named Ahmed Bhatti who owns a butcher shop next to the place where we hold our tent Church started a madrasah (Islamic school) on his property. He started melad there. Police comes there all the time and liquor is served to them.

Last Sunday when our Church service was over, there were 10-15 gundas who were standing with guns started to tease (this usually means sexually harass) our Christian girls. The situation was very bad.

Now that same man Ahmed Bhatti and others with him told the Muslim owners whose tenants are Christians to tell them to convert to Islam otherwise vacate their properties.They have vacated some shops who were run by Christians. One Christian man had his Gospel music on in the shop, they beat him up and kicked him out from that shop on dung point .

Ahmed Bhatti on his microphone was shouting, " I am giving Christians this invitation to convert to Islam otherwise they will face consequences". Right now we can hear them chanting and shouting naara-e-taqbeer (the title of the phrase 'Allah is great')

We had called the Police who came and spent some time there, had a tea party and left. The Police is involved with them. (i want to let you know on 14 Aug 2012 police killed a Christian boy in Nawaz sharif colony which is localted next to LDA Quatters Walton Road Lahore). While Police was there, this Ahmed Bhatti punched the glass of his shop door and said, Christians have done this to me.

They have said there will be no Church service there on Sunday, if you will try you will face the consequences. Police has done nothing so far, they are with this man.

We have spoken to Kamran Michael, Akram Gill and other Christian leaders who are getting the Police involved. Our young Christian boys are ready to fight back but we have told them not to. 

It is now 2.00 am in Pakistan and at this very moment the situation is very very tense. About 100 to 200 young people are outside shouting. They can burn our homes anytime. Please pray for the Christians of Lahore and the situation here. We are requesting you all to please pray for us and put International pressure for this kind of situation. Our people are helpless.

Sexual abuse of Christian boys and girls in Essa Nagri

Map of Karachi showing Essa Nagri

While researching the background of attacks, extortion and intimidation in the Christian slum of Essa Nagri that led to the current events and violence the BPCA found an article from January describing the situation that the Christians of Essa Nagri and other Christian areas of Karachi face.  Because of their minority status, they are especially vulnerable to abuse of various kinds.  Activists of rival political parties extort money from them, they are caught in the middle of vicious political battles for land, kidnap and forcible conversion of both young and adults is common, and even Members of State Assemblies face death threats and have nowhere to turn.  But a further element is extortion by sexual abuse of children.  As dusk falls, all children are whisked away out of sight, with good reason.  For at least a year, children are being abducted and then abused at a nearby building known as the Meekasa Apartments.

A resident of Essa Nagri, Peter Bhatti, reports that the children are filmed being abused, and then the families extorted for money.  If they don't pay, the videos will be circulated.  One woman, Shakila Anjum, had her two teenage sons abducted and abused in such a manner.  She got calls warning her not to tell the police.  The families have no choice but to raise the money, which is difficult for the already impoverished residents.  Thus the Christian community is deliberately kept in enforced poverty by abuse, extortion and murder by the extremists / criminals (is there much of a difference in Pakistan - as the saying goes, the bigger the beard, the bigger the crook).  And the police and society do nothing or aid it.  Silence is complicity!


Hate speech in state text books increases by 270% in three years

A study by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) on all ages of state textbooks in Punjab revealed that the instances of hate-speech and indoctrination in such allegedly 'moderate' texts has risen by over 270% in just three years since 2009.  These include instances in grade 1 textbooks, the youngest age.

Their report is entitled 'Education or Promotion of Hatred' and backs up why the BPCA is so concerned that the UK appears to be pouring funds indiscriminately into Pakistani literacy programs.   At the launch report one speaker, Dr Mehdi Hasan, of the School of Media and Communication dean at the Beaconhouse National University, claimed that in Pakistan, Muslims posed a greater threat to fellow Muslims than to non-Muslims.   He stated that Islamic seminaries, which educated only 4% of students, were less of a threat than schools where hate material advocating intolerance was being taught to children as young as grade 1.

Another speaker, Wajahat Masood, an assistant professor, noted that hate content and distortion of history was evident in Pakistani literature as well as curricula.  And Irfan Mufti said that such hate content spoke volumes about an intolerant society.   'Hate content will turn our children into intolerant individuals'.  A sentiment with which the BPCA heartily agrees


The fear and the fervour - updates on the Rimsha case

Christian activist talks to the Imam accusing Rimsha

The way Rimsha's case has been hijacked by extremists, including extremist lawyers, as described in our last article, is representative of the way fear and fervour are used as weapons to inflict dhimmitude on the Christian and other minority communities.

Christian activists in Pakistan are pointing to the following video (Urdu only) which is of a TV program discussing the case, where from about 12 minutes in the local Imam (pictured above) who is pressing charges against Rimsha openly admits that he used his Friday sermons to incite violence against Christians and drive them from the area.  The man who initially accused Rimsha was simply acting on his incitement.

Part of the background is that the imams have been instructing Muslim landlords to evict Christian tenants, and many of them are refusing to.  It appears that Rimsha was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was used as an excuse to drive the Christians from their homes, as shown by the instant organized riots and attacks on the community.  In other words, once again we have a blasphemy case that is intrinsically linked to Islamicist attacks on Christians and a land dispute.  

Two weeks after the initial incident, only a few Christians have filtered back to the region - most want to stay in the forest where they are camping out - and those who have returned are terrified.  In the Guardian article we referred to in the last post, it ends like this  :

"One Christian, Arif Masih, returned to his house in Mehrabadi after nine days to find it looted. "People are so afraid, they cannot sleep at night," he said. "We just want to leave, we want to be given somewhere else to live," said Masih."

Rimsha prosecution lawyer calls for extra-judicial killing, blames victim for medical report

Lawyer calling for law-breaking : Rao Abdur Raheem,  Photo Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

The lawyer representing the cleric who is charging Rimsha has done everything in his power to keep Rimsha in prison.  Not surprising for a prosecution lawyer, you might think.  Except this lawyer has been openly calling for her to be killed if she was released.   The medical report stated she was a minor, aged about 14, with learning disability, and thus eligible for bail.  At the remand hearing, at which apparently no lawyer turned up to represent Rimsha, Rao vigorously challenged the report, claiming that the medical report - 'has been managed by the state, state agencies and the accused' - in other words, just like the bigoted and hate filled imam he represents, he is blaming the Downs syndrome victim for 'conspiracy' - this time with the state!  Rao Abdur Raheem also claimed the report was illegal, as it was ordered by a civil servant and not a court, and exceeded it's remit, which was, he claims, to establish her age.  (Rimsha's family insist she is actually 11).

The lawyer has been making extremely inflammatory statements.  The Guardian quoted him as saying :

 'If the court is not allowed to do its work, because the state is helping the accused, then the public has no other option except to take the law into their own hands'

and he also incited violence in regard to Rimsha by saying outside court

'There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country'

Mumtaz Qadri is the bodyguard who assassinated Governor Taseer last year for standing up for Asia Bibi, and who is much praised by many - including lawyers - in Pakistan.  In other words he is calling for people to murder Rimsha, just like the cleric he represents, who wanted her burned alive.

The Telegraph also reported him as saying :

'If you burn me, I will forgive you, but if you burn our Koran, then I will fight a legal battle to seek maximum punishment for anyone doing this act'

disturbing rhetoric in light of his client calling for her to be burned alive on the spot.

The judge has remanded Rimsha in adult jail along with terrorists and murders for another 14 days while he 'considers the matter further'.  While the BPCA is no expert on legal matters that may require 'further consideration', we are extremely concerned that what is in fact happening is that with such rhetoric the judge is folding, perhaps out of fear of his own life - a real fear, given past blasphemy cases.

Sources : 1, 2, 3, 4

Thursday 30 August 2012

Rimsha trial delayed, medical report says is 14

Rimsha medical report - unverified

The above is said to be the medical report about Rimsha.  We have thus far been unable to independently verify it, but it's content matches what her lawyer says the medical report concluded - namely that from medical examination, they believe her to be 14.  This is higher than the church records which state 11, but it is significant, because it means she is officially acknowledged as a  minor.  They also stated that she is uneducated and that 'her mental age appears below her chronological age'.  

News just in that her trial has been pushed back to 1st September.  Please pray for her.  

Update.  Also the prosecution lawyer has challenged the medical report, calling for another one to establish 'the facts' and asserts that Rimsha fully knew what she was doing and claiming that the 'religious sensitivities of all Muslims had been attacked' - so he is opposing her bail application.  

Police and army shoot and gas Christians in Karachi, one dead, pastor critically injured

Abbassi Shaheed Hospital - shot pastor taken here

Further to our recent story about the situation in Essa Nagri, Karachi, the situation has now escalated out of control, with riots and fighting in several Christian areas of Karachi, and the police refusing to arrest the Muslim violent mobs but instead firing tear gas and live rounds at the peaceful Christian demonstrations, killing one and leaving two Christians, including a pastor, critically injured and many others injured, with the police arresting at least a dozen peaceful Christians.   We have latest details and some more background.  

To recap, the story as we told it was that the whole Christian community had been charged with blasphemy by the local Jirga - council of elders - and fined. Things were already tense.  Two Christian boys  

The background is that Muslim extremists - described by local sources as Pashto speaking (which may indicate Taliban affiliation) - have been intimidating the Christian community and extorting money from Christian shopkeepers for 3 years - demanding an illegal tax known as bhatti.  They are coming into the Essa Nagri Christian enclave and firing at Christian homes when Christians are paying late.  This has been repeatedly reported to the police and the army rangers unit, but they took no action - what a surprise!  

The Christian community had organized young men to act as guards to deal with the constant drug-pushing, robberies, shooting and intimidation by Islamic extremists who acted in collaboration with local police, local sources say.  Our original article concerned tensions resulting from two Christian young boys who beat two Muslim boys who were hanging around or trying to rob Christians in Essa Nagri.  However, things further escalated when at around 7:15pm 29h August, two of the fundamentalists entered the Essa Nagri  slum and demanded money from Faisal Masih.  He refused and they shot him dead on the spot.  Several of the young Christian guards managed to apprehend the two murderers.  Initially it appears the police arrested the two Muslims.  In the morning, however, the local Pashtun community started to mob the police station, so the robbers were released, and the two Christians were arrested on charges of 'maltreating respectable Muslims'.   Two activists, Raja Yousuf Bhatti, and Liaquat Munawir, who is the leader of the Social Justice group MASS, went to the police station to ask for the release of the Christians.  The police promptly arrested them and then demanded that the Christians pay 100,000 rupees to the Muslim 'victims' before they could be released.  

At some point in the situation, the Christian community of Essa Nagri gathered to protest about this and the Muslim mobs attacking them.  They blocked  next-door Hassan Square for several hours.  The police and the army rangers chose not to arrest the Muslim attackers, but instead fired on the Christians and launched tear gas against them.  Pastor Cornelius was hit in the spine by a police or army ranger bullet as he crossed the road to enter Essa Nagri, and Shahzad Riaz was also critically injured.  An unknown number of other Christians were injured, but sources say 'many'.  In addition, the police arrested over a dozen more Christians who were protesting against the Muslim mob attacks.  

A local Karachi pastor has advised that there is also confirmed reports of fighting in another big Christian area in Karachi, in the Pahar Gunj area, with attacks by Pashtuns.  He calls for prayer for the church in Karachi and says the situation is very serious now, as now it will turn into a religious / blasphemy case.  

Sources : 1 and two local Christian pastors via FB

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Muslim Ulema groups stand up for Rimsha?

According to the Guardian newspaper some Muslim groups in Pakistan are now coming out in support of Rimsha.  This is potentially a significant development which the BPCA welcomes, but with caution.  We have seen words from politicians before, but deeds - consistent deeds - are the only thing that will really count.

According to the report the All Pakistan Ulema Council, described as an umbrella group of clerics and scholars, called for justice, and for those who made false allegations of blasphemy to be punished.  They warned that 'the law of the jungle' was gripping Pakistan.  Their spokesman, Tahir  Ashrafi, stated that they didn't want to see injustice done on anyone and wanted to end the climate of fear.

In what is hopefully a significant sign, Ashrafi is part of leadership group of another umbrella group called Defence of Pakistan Council, which includes thinly disguised banned extremist organisations. Another group suspected of violence against Ahmahdi's called Khatm-e-Nubuwwat has also issued condemnation.

These are the first time that Muslim groups have called for justice for Christians in this way.  BPCA welcomes these statements, but only if they become far more than mere words.

Another gang rape in Punjab

A Khanewal Hospital

BPCA have just received news that there has been yet another gang rape of a Christian girl, this time in Khanewal in the Punjab province, about 200 km west -southwest of Lahore.

The 13 year old girl whose name is reported as Farah Danial, was raped by four attackers (described as 'young boys') has been admitted to Khanewal hospital for treatment, and is greatly distressed.

Please pray with her for justice and for healing.

Source : Facebook contact

Protest in Glasgow Friday!

The British Pakistani Christian Association is collaborating with the "Rationalist Society of Pakistan" (RSOP) and will be holding a protest in Glasgow on Friday details as follows:

Event:  Protest for release of Rimsha Masih and an end to intolerance towards minorities in Pakistan!
Date:   Friday 31st August 2012
Time: 10:30 - 12:00
Location:  Pakistan Consulate in Glasgow
Address: Maxwell Drive, Pollockshields, Glasgow, G41 5JF.

This will be the second of a series of three protests, devised to enable our widespread diaspora across the country to raise their concerns about Rimsha and other victims of Pakistan's notorious Blasphemy laws and other discriminatory and prejudicial dogmas and practices.

UK MP Backs Freedom for Rimsha Masih

Christians from the north meet MP Andrew Stephenson.

British Pakistani Christians challenged UK MP's to intervene on behalf of Rimsha Masih.  Invited to a meeting on 28th August 2012, with MP for Pendle Andrew Stephenson, Wilson Chowdhry questioned him on how the UK could help the Rimsha Masih an 11 year old victim of the notorious Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan. 

Rimsha Masih had to undergo a medical examination before Pakistan's authorities would accept she had Down Syndrome and was a minor.  Her parents are adamant she is only 11 years old, but early reports from the police, other authorities and the Imam that laid the original charge against her alleged she was 16.  Medical analysis has placed her age between 13 - 14yrs, which has resulted in her relocation today into a juvenile detention centre.  The accusing Imam still refutes the medical evidence   supporting her status as a minor.

Christian families from her home town of Mehrabad have had to flee into a nearby forest that was uninhabited.  Trees have been chopped down to use as building materials.  Makeshift homes and a nascent church building have been erected.  No police protection or aid assistance has been offered to people living in this area bereft of facilities and services such as electricity and water.  The leader of the community, a local church pastor has called for peace.  Local authorities have stated it is safe for the community to return to their homes, yet threats are still being directed towards the community from local Muslims.  Many living in the forest have already said that they would prefer to settle permanently in the forest and are refusing to return home,evidently fearful of reprisals.

MP Andrew Stephenson received pictures and letters from children aged between 4 - 11, all calling for freedom for Rimsha Masih and justice to be served.  On one letter by Hannah Chowdhry she wrote;

"Rimsha Masih needs her mummy and Daddy, please bring them back together."  

MP Andrew Stephenson has agreed to speak to the Foreign Secretary Alistair Burt to see how Britain can intervene.  He expressed great sorrow and outrage at the manner in which Rimsha has been treated.

Wilson Chowdhry of the BPCA said;

"Britain and other Western nations need to engage in dialogue with Pakistan to ensure justice for this vulnerable young girl, whose mental illness means that she simply could not have meant any harm in her actions.  This whole incident seem contrived and now innocent people are suffering.  Young children have drawn pictures depicting Rimsha's maltreatment.  One image of Rimsha crying in prison and an angel in heaven shedding tears for her, highlight her innocence and the injustice of her imprisonment.  I hope that the image will induce pressure for her release."

Monday 27 August 2012

Protest the victims of the wicked blasphemy law in Manchester!

Pakistan's Manchester Consulate

BPCA is calling for all who care about the rights of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan, especially those in the North of the UK, to come and join our protest outside the Pakistani Consulate in Manchester on 1st September 2012 from 12 noon to 3pm. Guest speaker David Dean of Nelson, Jabber Singh from the British Sikh Council, Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Group and Ooberfuse who will be performing their well know campaign songs...  

The BPCA has called this rally after a recent spate of crimes against Christians in the last few weeks, including the now widely publicized case of Rimsha, a girl with disability - possibly Downs Syndrome - around the age of 11 or 12, who was accused of burning a book with verses from the Quran, and has been arrested for blasphemy, amidst mobs demanding she be burnt alive, mobs who also beat and tortured her family and burnt Christian homes.  In addition in the last few weeks there have been a number of shootings of Christians, in one case in a land grab, as well as a gang rape and murder of a 12 year old girl on Pakistan's independence day while her parents were in hospital, and the brutal murder of a recently orphaned Christian boy whose organs appear to have been taken for organ trafficking.  

Address 137 Dickenson Road, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5JB.

Nearest major railway station is Manchester Piccadilly.  Ardwick station and Levenshulme station are also close by.  

Evidence - Orphan Christian boy Suneel Masih killed for his organs

Further evidence suggests that the recently orphaned Christian boy killed in Faisalabad after being tortured, mutilated and burned was killed for his organs by organ traffickers.  The autopsy showed some of his organs were found to be missing.  Suneel Masih's body was found in a drain, the day after he went missing after going to the market to get some food.

Organ trafficking is a massive ongoing issue in Pakistan, especially kidneys, with many cases reported of organ donors being sexually assaulted and held against their will.  Pakistan is a major destination for those seeking black market organ transplants.  

It is for cases like these, and that of Rimsha Masih, the equally young girl arrested for 'blasphemy', that the BPCA is holding a demonstration outside the Pakistani Consulate in Manchester on 1st September 2012 from 12 noon to 3pm. Guest speaker David Dean of Nelson. 

Address 137 Dickenson Road, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5JB.

Nearest major railway station is Manchester Piccadilly.  Ardwick station and Levenshulme station are also close by.

Sources 1 and 2

Unholy gang rape and murder of 12 year old Christian girl

Muqadas Kainat - gang raped, throttled

On Pakistan's Independence day (14th August), some Muslim men decided to celebrate by gang raping and murdering a vulnerable 12 year old Christian girl called Muqadas Kainat (which means 'Holy Universe') in an wholly unholy act while her parents were at hospital where her mother was having an appendix operation.  After family realized she had gone missing, her father rushed home to search among neighbours houses in the Brick Kiln works where the family lived and worked.  The next day the Muslim Kiln foreman received an anonymous call on his mobile, stating she was in the fields, and after searching in the local fields they found her body.
The police post-mortem showed she was gang raped - police believe by 5 men - and then strangled.    So far, to BPCA's knowledge, no-one has been arrested.
What a happy and wonderful Independence Day in the nation with the most horribly ironic epithet - the so called 'Land of the Pure'.  

The reason this took so long to come out was because the crime happened in Sahiwal, which is somewhat remote.  
Please pray for the girls father Rafique Masih, and the mother and other family, and that justice would be done. 

It is for cases like these, and that of Rimsha Masih, the equally young girl arrested for 'blasphemy', that the BPCA is holding a demonstration outside the Pakistani Consulate in Manchester on 1st September 2012 from 12 noon to 3pm. Guest speaker David Dean of Nelson. 

Address 137 Dickenson Road, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5JB.

Nearest major railway station is Manchester Piccadilly.  Ardwick station and Levenshulme station are also close by.  


Sunday 26 August 2012

To God be the glory!

These are beautiful verses for us Christians to meditate. When a husband loves his wife like Christ loved the church by dying for her sins, what wife will not respect such a husband and joyfully submit to him as the Lord has commanded?

It will be an eye opener for  those who mistreat women to see what the bible has to say about the relationship between husband and wife.

Ephesians 5:21-33

English Standard Version (ESV)

Wives and Husbands

22  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
  1. Ephesians 5:27 Or holy and blameless

Saturday 25 August 2012

Imam who charged Rimsha says she was involved in 'conspiracy'.

Hafiz Khalid Chishti, Imam who had Rimsha 
arrested, claims she engaged in 'anti-Islamic conspiracy'
Photo : AFP

The imam who handed over 11 year old Rimsha to the police insists he saved her life from the mob, but also says that she was quite mentally capable and sane and that what she did was designed as a 'conspiracy' to insult Muslims.  He also says this wouldn't have happened if Muslims hadn't stopped local Christians unspecified 'anti-Muslim' activities earlier.  Typical Islamist bull - blame the victims - in this case twice over.  It's all Christians fault!  Of course.  Perhaps the 'anti-Muslim' activities were the fact that those dirty contaminating Christians breath the same air as Muslims?  Or go to prayer meetings?  Or stand up for their rights?  Or, God forbid, sit on land that Muslims would like to use for profit?  
Now, if - and it is a big if - this young girl did what she was supposed to have done, which was burned some pages of a booklet teaching Arabic that had a few verses from the Quran in it, it is clear evidence that she either did not know what it was she was burning, or that she was not mentally capable.  Why?  Because from the earliest age, Christian children, living in a climate of terrible fear, imbibe the fact that they must not do anything like that, for fear of this kind of backlash.  
So once again, the victim is blamed for the mobs demonstrating on Islamabad's streets, the cries to burn a child to death - and remember, just a few weeks ago, a mentally disabled Muslim land was indeed dragged from a police station by a mob and burnt alive in the street - for the beatings of family members, for the burning and looting of houses.  Blame the powerless, blame a little girl for engaging in 'conspiracy'!  Typical Islamist lies from the cleric.  
Pakistan, have you no shame, and no brains?

Reports also say that the mob blocked the main Kashmir highway in Islamabad for hours, calling for Rimsha to be hanged.  

Sources : 1 and 2

70-90 % domestic violence rate, 4000+ 'honour' killings in 3 years

A few minutes documentary about the horrific rates of domestic violence and 'honour' killings in Pakistan, and about the shelters the lucky ones can escape to

Rimsha denied access to lawyer, jailed with Taseer killer

Pakistani Jail

Further reports from Pakistan indicate that her lawyer is being denied access to her repeatedly by prison authorities.  He is being given the run around, while Rimsha's legal rights are being further violated.  In addition, the lying police report says she is 16, no doubt to justify the police's illegal action of putting her into an adult jail.  We ask, just who are the real criminals here?  
Church records show she is just 11.  
In addition, to add insult to injury, not only has this vulnerable child been placed in an adult prison, but it is the very same prison where Mumtaz Qadri, the hero of the Islamists, is imprisoned for killing Taseer, a leading opponent of the blasphemy laws.  
Pakistan, do you know no shame?  To put the innocent child victim of an unjust law in the same jail as the killer of the one who stood up for the rights of the innocent and the oppressed - that truly shows the moral depravity of the Pakistani state.  

Friday 24 August 2012

The Daily Jaang reports on our protest!

Sign our petition for Rimsha here:

Front page of the English side!

Front page of the Urdu section!

Page 5 of Urdu section.


Sign our petition for Rimsha here:

We set up our protest from 19:00 - we soughta prominent position for the cross!

Our banner ensured people knew who we were!

Ooberfuse and other volunteers helped connect the PA system.

Flyers were given to the Public describing the story of  poor 11 year old Rimsha whi is facing a death sentence, due to a false blasphemy charge.

Wilson described the ongoing concerns in Pakistan that has made the lives of Minorities living there very unstable!

786 TV, GEO TV, BBC World Service and Pukaar News All filmed our event!

Proud Pakistanis displayed their national flag which includes a white band, designed into its image to represent minorities!

Over 60 people came despite only 2 days notification!

Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Groups spoke of the situation facing Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan!

Cherrie and Hal from Ooberfuse singing "Turn the Tide"

Wilson Chowdhry AKA MC Wizard joined them during the pre-chorus rap!

Cherrie's dulcid tones reverberated with great passion creating a real emotional desire for justice!

BBC Asia Network (radio) interviewed Ooberfuse, Canon Yacub Masih, Wilson and others trying to ascertain the strength and depth of passion that demonstrators held for Rimsha's freedom.

By 8pm over 60 people created so much noise the Police asked us to stop the protest early.  We duly obliged as our message had been clearly delivered!

Mike Emberton from Aid to the Church in Need gave an emotional speech.

We also sang the Free Asia Bibi song.

Hal rapped for Freedom for Asia!

Wilson called for peace and introduced Javed Aqeel Khan a Muslim humanitarian from a Group called G.A. Pakistan.  Javed called for an end to the misuse of Islam for personal gain and challenged the Pakistani Government to intervene on behalf of Rimsha.

Free Asia Bibi wrist bands were selling like hotcakes.  Visitors simply wanted to be a part of the necessary vehicle for change to improve Pakistan!

Within 24 hours of releasing the song Turn the Tide, protesting the release of 11 year old Down's syndrome Christian girl in Pakistan, Ooberfuse's music video received over 25,000 hits on Youtube. The statistic demonstrates the growing concern for the safety of Rimsha Masih. The song can be listened to here:

Turn the Tide highlights the plight of young Rimsha Masih arrested by the police, under pressure from the mob, last Thursday at Mehrabadi village, on the outskirts of Islamabad.  It was first sung live outside the Pakistan Embassy, during a 2 hour demonstration from 7pm organised by the BPCA last Wednesday, 22 August calling for freedom for Rimsha.  Lead humanitarians from a variety of faiths spoke out in unity seeking an end to the ongoing injustice.

Cherrie, ooberfuse front-woman, says “We wrote the song to express our support for Rimsha Masih and her family. We stand in solidarity with them and we hope that the blasphemy charges against her are dismissed.”

Hal, from ooberfuse, adds: “When is this madness going to end? The intolerance of the Islamic majority towards non-Muslim faiths in countries like Pakistan is staggering. The blasphemy law gives legal credence to preposterous claims from disgruntled disaffected members of the community that Islam has somehow been defamed. These claims are very often fabricated by extremists hell-bent of inciting religious hatred against peace-loving minorities. How can it be right for a fragile vulnerable girl to be forced to take on the might of the state apparatus of the Pakistan nation. Her future and the future of her family and fellow Christians lies in the hands of the police and the judiciary who in the past have colluded with Islamic fundamentalists to exact violence and death on unprotected minorities. ”

Wilson Chowdhry, aka Wizard MC, from BPCA, says: “this intolerance has sunk to new levels of depravity with the incarceration of a juvenile girl with physical disabilities. The founding father of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, said in his 1947 inaugural speech :‘You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.’ Turn the Tide is inspired by his words and the tragic story of a defenceless disabled girl called Rimsha.”

Thursday 23 August 2012

BPCA on Trans World Radio and Premier...

Wilson Chowdhry spoke to Premier Christian Radio:

Aid to the Church in Need spoke to Premier on our protest:

Wilson Chowdhry speaks on Trans World Radio (TWR) about the Rimsha Mashi Case:

TWR also speaks to Wilson Chowdhry about the BPCA's submission to the UN's periodic Pakistani review

1 killed, many injured in police backed Muslim land grab near Lahore

Victim of Muslim land grab

We have reports of yet another violent Muslim land grab.  We don't have any further details, not even names of victims.  Once again, influential Muslims have attacked vulnerable Christians to take their land, shooting many - one victim was killed (pictured here), and another was kidnapped, another with serious gunshot wounds, and 5 others also injured.  The crime happened near Phool Nagar, a large town some 20 miles south west of Lahore.  

An FIR has been registered with the police, but the police keep making lame excuses to avoid arresting the influential perpetrators, not least because this theft of 40 acres of land was aided and abetted by police officials, again a far from unknown circumstance.  

Egyptian Islamicists target Christian bookshops

One of the Christian shops threatened in Cairo

Further to our recent report about the situation in Egypt, Islamicists have sent letters to 17 Christian bookshops threatening them, warning them to 'cease your foul trade, whereby you sell your filthy idols'.  This referred to the Coptic use of statues and icons, which the Islamicists incorrectly term idols.  The Christian shopkeepers rushed to the police for protection, and to try and discover the identity of the letter-writer(s), but unsurprisingly the official response has been somewhat lacklustre.  One security guard patrols in the mornings only.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Pakistan and Zardari listen up!

Here are some slogans that need to be heard
To highlight the wicked and absurd

Pakistan how many innocents have to die
Until you kiss bigotry goodbye?

Pakistan coward state, 
Leaving victims to their fate.

Pakistan, we've given you ten thousand chances
How many more disabled have to do their deathly dances?

And to Zardari and the politicians in Pakistan, we are sick of empty words and worthless promises.  Actions and deeds, consistently over time are the only things that will satisfy us.  

Words are worthless, words are cheap
A pattern of deeds is what we seek.  

Your words are cheap, they cut no ice
Until you truly save a life.  

Until you stand for the rights of all, 
Your words are fake, they only appal.

Your empty promises do not count, we are witness
What you really do shows your moral fitness

While our lives are cheap, your words are too
Only a real change will do.

Any old fool can request a report
It takes a real man to do what he ought.  

Ooberfuse launch Rimsha Masih single

Catholic band Ooberfuse have once again teamed up with BPCA to produce a single highlighting the case of Rimsha Masih.  Please use it to spread the word far and wide.

Rimsha update - land issues, Christian politician calls for community to arm itself

Possible picture of victim, as yet unconfirmed

Sign our petition here:

The case of Rimsha, the 11 year old girl from the Meharabadi. area of Islamabad who was arrested for 'blasphemy' is expected to be heard in court before the end of the month.  Reports that she has downs syndrome are unconfirmed, but she is, apparently, disabled.  

More details of emerged about the events surrounding her arrest.  She was walking along with a learning book about the Quran in her bag.  Some Muslims stopped her, argued that there were torn pages from the Quran in her bag, and that she had burnt other pages from the Quran.  They then attacked and beat her and her family.  600 Christian families fled the area, and rioting Muslims (up to 1000 of them) later looted and damaged many of the empty homes, including setting fire to them.  According to activist Xavier William, the community is a new one where minorities live, but Muslims want to possess the territory, so there is a background of land disputes - a very common feature of false blasphemy accusations against minorities.  

In addition, this vulnerable 11 year old girl has been housed in an adult jail, not a juvenile facility. The day after her arrest, Muslim mobs burned out Christian houses and attacked and tortured Rimsha's sister and mother, and called for the girl to be handed over and burnt alive for blasphemy.  Other portions of the mob called for her to be hanged.  FIR's have been lodged against the Muslim cleric calling for this action, and several hundred others.  BPCA is not exactly sanguine about the likelihood that anything more will be done on these charges.   Like many other groups, BPCA is dismissive of the President of Pakistan's call for a report, believing until evidence proves otherwise, that this is an empty gesture to try and placate western opinion.  

In addition, the head of the Pakistani Christian Congress, Dr Nazir Bhatti called for Christians to sell TV's and household goods to by arms so that they can defend themselves, rather than run away from attacks such as these, another sign of the ever increasingly desperate and critical plight of Christians in the country

Orphan Christian boy found brutally tortured and burned to death

Reports are coming in that on the evening of 19th of August, in Faisalabad, about 100 miles from Lahore, an 11 or 12 year old boy from the Christian colony went missing after leaving his house to go to the local market for food.  He recently lost his father, and the family is very poor.  No demands for ransom were received.  Reports on his name vary - either Sunil Maseeh or Samuel Yaqoob.

After extensive searching his body was found near a drain in the Christian colony, bearing marks of horrific torture, the murder weapon nearby.   His nose, lips and belly had been sliced off, and his family could hardly recognize him because the body was so badly burnt.  23 wounds by a sharp weapon have been identified in the autopsy.  When sending his body for an autopsy, police raised the possibility of sodomy.   The police, and the mother, according to some reports named Asia Bibi (obviously not the same Asia Bibi as the iconic blasphemy law death sentence victim), said that there had been no demands for ransom, nor any accusation of blasphemy.  

Parts of Pakistani culture have a strong homosexual pederast culture, and Christian and other minority boys are especially susceptible to rape and abuse because of the powerlessness of their community and their despised status.  In one case fairly recently, a Christian boy was kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed by a police officer, his body similarly being dumped in a drain.  

Sources  1, 2, 3, 4

Secret plea from victim of blasphemy laws

The family of this Pakistani Christian rights activist secretly videoed his plea for help, under the noses of the prison guards.  The interview is from about 0:55 on, and shows the desperate situation and how effective false accusations of blasphemy, particularly against bread-winners.  In addition it tells of the mistreatment (denial of medication, discrimination and torture) he suffers in prison.

In addition BPCA has seen plea's for prayer for the bail hearing of Mr.Khuram Masih, who has been falsely charged with blasphemy and held in prison for 9 months.  His hearing is in Lahore High court on the 28th of August.