Rimsha and her family will spend Christmas in hiding, fearing for their lives. Things are little better for the community they left behind. Although some Christians of Mehrabad have returned, some still live in tents in the nearby forest. And for those who have returned, life is grim. For them, the Grinch that stole Christmas is the fear of their Muslim neighbours and landlords.
Normally Christmas in this slum area is a time for presents and new clothes, but since virtually all the Christians lost their jobs when they had to flee into the forest or to relatives for weeks to avoid the murderous Muslim mobs, that isn't happening here. Their choice - pay the rent, or put up the Christmas trees and decorations. Both is just not possible. The rent comes first. But its not just terrible financial difficulty that has banished Christmas trees and carols this Christmas. A few days ago, some Christians were discussing putting up one Christmas tree when Muslim youths came and mocked them saying 'You are talking about it, but you won't dare put it up'. Usually the Christians would put neon stars on their houses, but now they are afraid to.
They have no place to worship, as their Muslim landlord has turfed them out of the rented building they used as a church after complaints from neighbours about the name. He put up a wall and made it into two houses to hire out. Journalists talked to a Christian resident, a sweeper, a father of 9, in his unheated, two room house. 'We are scared. We are frightened. We cannot sit together, we cannot speak loudly, we cannot celebrate openly. We have threats. If we sit together and talk, all of a sudden the Muslim owner of the house will come and ask ‘Why are you here, what are you talking about?'
Such is the level of fear and intimidation the Christians are suffering under, deathly afraid of another accusation, another rampaging mob looking for murder. And it is quite clear that at least some of their Muslim neighbours are positively revelling in their power to destroy and intimidate and humiliate these desperately vulnerable Christians.
The BPCA has supported this community once before with your donations a few months ago. It might be too late for Christmas, but any help at any time will be gratefully received.
The BPCA will continue it's fund to assist this community, if you would like to contribute please use the details below:
"Families of Rimsha Fund" (Please use the fund name as a reference) you can pay several ways;
Pay by using the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog and electronic means of transfer will be initiated when you click donate written in the yellow oval.
You can also send your contributions by cheque payable to;
British Pakistani Christian Association.
Address : British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane
Alternatively should you wish you can pay by BACS, direct debit or standing order by paying into the following account details:
Sort Code: 20-67-90
Account Number: 63468976