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Monday 30 September 2013

BPCA supports French Christians in protest at Paris

Pakistani Christians of France were supported by the BPCA in their protest against the attack in Peshawar.

Pakistani Christians in France took to the streets of Paris on Saturday 28th September 2013, to protest against the ongoing terror faced by Christians in Pakistan.  The event was triggered by the killing of over 100 innocent parishioners of All Saints Church in Peshawar, in the courtyard of their church after their Sunday service on Sunday 22nd September 2013.  A group linked to the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack and have stated that the explosions were in retaliation to US Drone Attacks in the Khyber Paktunkwa Area that they allege has led to the death of hundreds of innocent Muslims.

Over 50 Christians from the estimated 400 Pakistani Christians living in France joined the protest.  The event was organised by Allelujah France and the British Pakistani Christian Association.  A petition calling for France to reconsider its existing relationship with Pakistan  and for the Government of Pakistan to protect all people living in the nation, were to be submitted to the Pakistan Embassy and French Parliament.

Allelujah France is a group created as a network for spiritual and community support for Pakistani Christians living in across France.  Leader of the Group Xavier Francis said;

"The unprovoked attack on Christians in Peshawar is an appalling act of violence and is a reminder of the ongoing threat faced by religious minorities in Pakistan."

Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association said;

"My wife lost 13 members of her family in this tragic incident, spanning three generations. We have contacted Urdu Fellowships across the UK and every one has at least one member that has suffered human loss in this - the worst tragedy to hit Pakistani Christians in recent times."

He added;

"This act of violence has created huge anxiety and a greater sense of hopelessness amongst Christians in Pakistan, who already suffer severe intolerance and prejudice.  Their perceived value in a society of weak government and immense extremism has reached a nadir. Unless Pakistan's Government takes seriously it's responsibility to protect this vulnerable minority, the continued attacks will lead to the eventual extermination of Christians living there."

Large banners described the atrocity in France.

The BPCA banner highlighted the global opposition to the attacks in Peshawar.

Though small in number protesters challenged Pakistan to protect Minorities on Pakistan.

The protest was filmed by GEO TV and covered by the Jaang Newspaper.

Our demonstration remained peaceful.

A coffin draped in a Pakistani flag symbolised the death of innocent minorities living there.

An image of the burning of the church in Mardan reminded us all, that this was simply one of many atrocities that has caused great suffering to persecuted Christians of Pakistan.

Friday 27 September 2013

Christians demonstrate across Pakistan after the recent suicide bomb attack on a Peshawar Church

Coffins for the deceased.

Protesters call for better protection.

Lahore: Today in press release ,LEAD demands judicial probe into All Saints Peshawar Cathedral Church attack in the city in which more than 84 innocent Christians were killed and more than 150 injured.LEAD's Chief and President PCC Punjab, Sardar Mushtaq Gill advocate on Friday demanded a high level commission of Supreme Court to probe the twin suicide bombing at a Peshawar Cathedral Church.

He said that anti-Christian religious extremists were involved in the incident to destabilise Church autonomy and  the peace in the country.

He also added that it is wrong to say "there is no religion of terrorists",as we heard that the Tali-ban-linked militant group TTP Jundullah claimed responsibility within hours of the suicidal attack on Church.

"They are the enemies of Islam, therefore we target them," said the group's spokesman, Ahmed Marwat.

"We will continue our attacks on non-Muslims on Pakistani land."

Christians make up less than 3% of the population in the South Asian nation of 193 million.Some Islamic religious extremists want to make Pakistan 100% Muslim population country and declare it the fortress of Islam so that's why they wish to kill Christians of Pakistan and attack on them.

"Such cruel acts of terrorism reflect the brutality and inhumane mindset of the religious extremists,'' and "such mindset creates insecurity in mind of Christian due to which they are leaving Country." told Gill.

Christians demonstrated in cities around Pakistan to protest against the violence and demand better protection from the authorities but in vain.

In Pakistan every Muslim has right to say right or wrong and false or true about other religion and its books and faith,but if some Christian or any other non-Muslim will say any thing against their faith or Islami book then it is punishable under anti-blasphemy laws and other Islamic laws.

On Secular Pakistani TV Channels,there are some programs in which openly Muslim ulmas and common people say against Christian faith and Holy Bible but no law of land comes into motion against them.

We will be in threats and warning to be killed if we continue to support blasphemy accused and other Christian victims of violence created by Muslims.

Pakistani Christians lawyers protested against Church bombings at Press Club Lahore and demanded Army Operation against Tali-ban.

Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill National Director LEAD ,who himself under life threats, demanded strong action against the religious extremists.

''Our state and our intelligence agencies are so weak that anybody can kill anyone anytime.It is a shame,'' told Gill.

PBCI Describes attack in Peshawar

Greetings from Pakistan Bible Correspondence Institute, National Office, Faisalabad.
We are passing this sad news with tears and heavy heart that on 22nd September two suicide attackers blew themselves up outside All Saints Church Peshawar. Peshawar is the capital city of the northern province of Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtoon Khaw.  This incident took place when people were greetings each other after the Sunday Service, in Church Lawn.
Our Peshawer Center’s staff told us that more than 150 people have left this world to be with the Lord while about 100 people are injured lying in hospital.
The explosion left the shreds of human flesh and bloodstains on the walls and floor of the church, whose windows had been ripped out by the blast.
Pages of a Bible were scattered near the altar and rice meals mingled with dust on the floor amid shattered benches. Walls were gouged with ball bearings used in the explosives.
Grieving relatives blocked the main Grand Trunk Road highway with bodies of the victims to protest against the killings.
Further, Christians in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and other cities also are staging protest rallies to condemn the attacks and demand state protection for their lives and properties. Christian Schools and other institutions all over the Pakistan have announced to be closed for three days  for observing the mourning over this sad incident.
Please visit the following link to see the pictures of incident.

Further please keep all of us Pakistani in your prayers. God bless you.
Yours’ in Him,
Rufan R. William
Executive Secretary
Pakistan Bible Correspondence Institute
National Office, Faisalabad

Thursday 26 September 2013

BPCA sceptical of alleged Pakistani Blasphemy law reforms?

Tahir Ashrafi (left) along with other senior Islamic clerics
In Pakistan, the constitution has a large role for a body of Islamic scholars called the Council of Islamic Ideology, who, for example, can veto 'un-Islamic' laws passed by the legislature / the executive branch.  They have been rigid and staunch supporters of the horrific and medieval Islamic 'Hudood' and blasphemy laws that so blight Pakistani public life and the justice system.

They are now allegedly calling for 'reform'.  It turns out to be not so much of a reform of the laws as an addition that might do some good, but could backfire.  You can still be killed for 'blasphemy', or suffer long imprisonment, and the laws still are very biased against minorities, but the proposed addition is aimed at stopping the abuse of blasphemy laws by accusing people as a weapon in personal disputes.  The new law, which has echos of the laws in the Old Testament aimed at preventing abuse of the justice system, says that anyone falsely accusing someone of blasphemy can be executed - can suffer the same fate that they would have forced on another if the alleged blasphemers had been convicted.  Whilst this may seem a step in the right direction, BPCA chairman Wilson Chowdhry still has his doubts.

This does nothing to rectify the double standards of Sharia influenced Pakistani law.  If a woman or a non-Muslim citizen is accused of blasphemy by a Muslim, and they try and use this proposed law, they still face the fact that their testimony is worth half that of a Muslim man.  For a Christian woman facing such a false allegation, their position is worse, since their testimony is deemed worth a quarter of that of a Muslim man.  The bias against Christians and other faith minorities still remains embedded in both Pakistani law in practise and Pakistani society.  The BPCA still maintains that if abolishing of these laws is not a possible option, the only right way to have then stay on the books is to go back to the original British blasphemy laws which applied to all faiths equally, and had tightly restricted punishments and application.  

The true motivation of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) was made clear when prominent and wily member Tahir Ashrafi, who has turned out to be adept at manipulating media to try and appear moderate whilst still essentially supporting pretty extremist positions, stated that as well as aiming to end the use of blasphemy allegations in personal disputes, this change is meant to silence the critics of the blasphemy laws.  He also tried to attach this measure to the martyrs who were martyred by Ashrafi's fellow extremists for opposing the blasphemy laws by saying 'I dedicate this effort to all those, including Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, who have fought for righteousness'.  We at the BPCA are reminded Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees when he said

'What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed. Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.’

“But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started. Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgement of hell?'

Although in the case of Ashrafi and his crew, they are doing this not in later generations but a couple of years after the murders they know seek to use to entrench the very practise that these martyrs were slain for opposing.

We have news for you, Mr Ashrafi.  These proposed changes will not silence us.  The blasphemy laws will still be a medieval barbarity that cause untold devastation and are intrinsically unjust and discriminatory.   We also suspect that it will do little to end the lynching of those accused of blasphemy.  We shall see.  Maybe it will have a positive effect, but it will not be enough.

However, the CII finally just about made it into the 20th Century over the issue of the use of DNA in rape cases.  They now apparently approve the use of DNA as primary evidence in rape cases....    Sort of.  There are plenty of loopholes.  Judges can admit such evidence depending on the circumstances and conditions.  There had been huge opposition to such a change, with many CII members only wanting DNA allowed as secondary evidence if the accused did not accept the testimony of four male Muslim witnesses required by Islamic law to prove a rape case.  Supporters say these changes are coming through because the 'moderate' Ashrafi and some other new members are overcoming the 'hardline' older members of the CII (although these are all relative terms).  Legal and human rights groups in Pakistan, however, are unsurprisingly, not so impressed.....

Sources : 1 and 2.

After the bombs.... more atrocities

Christians all over Pakistan have been demonstrating over the ongoing attacks on Christians, and in particular over Sunday's double suicide bombing of an after church meal in Peshawar.

However, we are receiving reports of violence against Christians as a result of these protests.  Gangs of Muslim youths are reported to have burned a church and Christian houses and properties in Karachi, and tried to burn a second church down before being stopped by Christian youths.

In Iqbal Town in Islamabad, Christians were protesting outside a Unitarian church, when seven or eight masked men rushed in and started beating the Christians.  Witnesses (anonymous due to fears for their safety) said that after the incident some of the protestors, including a pastor were missing.  Some also claim that police were involved, punishing Christians for holding protests on the main highway for several days.

There are also horrific, but so far unconfirmed reports that body parts and organs from the bomb victims in Peshawar had been stolen and were being put on sale, allegedly by local paramedics and criminal gangs.  If true, then here we have Muslim criminals making money out of the suffering of the Christian victims in a truly blasphemous and sacrilegious way, strongly reminiscent of the way that the Nazi's profited from the bodies of the Holocaust victims they massacred.

Meanwhile, in South West Pakistan a major earthquake has collapsed houses and left over 300 dead.  The earthquake was so powerful it created a new island off the coast.

On top of the barbarity of the bombings, and the reminder about the trade in body parts, stories emerged that tell of the medieval barbarity of parts of Pakistani society, namely the ongoing practice of  trial by ordeal / fire in some tribal regions as a form of justice.  These are popular because they are quick and cheap, unlike Pakistani's notoriously slow and expensive (corrupt) legal and court system.  Feudal lords and tribal councils, or jirgas still make rulings on disputes and crimes like theft, murder, and girls falling in love with inappropriate men, and in some cases the accused are made to walk across 15 foot long beds of burning coal.  If their soles are unmarked, they are declared innocent.

The extent of the depravity of Pakistani society has now also reached Israeli newspapers, with one writer highlighting the case of Kainat, a 13 year old girl who yearned to be a doctor, but who was drugged, kidnapped and gang-raped for four days before she escaped back to her family.  Instead of the usual custom of killing her in an 'honour' killing, the family fought for justice, a commodity hard to find in Pakistan in these cases.  Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that the police refused to act, because the rapists were powerful in their community.  It is common for powerful village men to rape girls and then kill them for having 'shamed' their family.  In this case, with the help of a pro-bono lawyer, the family managed to have the men arrested and in jail for three years, but the men managed to arrange for her supportive brother to be murdered, and the police quietly closed the murder investigation.  They also won their case, amidst supporters mobbing the court house shouting that 'Kainat is a whore'.  How?  They 'proved' that the thirteen year old married one of the rapists because her thumbprint was on a marriage document and there was a photo of them with Kainat smiling.  Even though such young marriage is technically illegal in Pakistan, the hideous sharia law prevailed, the rapists went free, with the 'bridegroom' demanding that the girl be returned to him.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Images of our Peshawar bombings protest

Report on the twin suicide attack on the church at Peshawar.

Blood spills all over the church courtyard.

Shamim and local Sunday school teachers inspect a pool of blood outside the hall used for Sunday School.

By Shamim Masih

Peshawar, is the capital city of Khyber Pakhton Khawa - KPK province, 188 Km from the capital, Islamabad. All Saints Memorial Church was its distinctive architecture first opened for service in December 1983. The church is located in Kohati gate, an inner city area of the city. The church capacity is about 500 – 600 and usually the services are so popular that late-comers are required to gather around it during Sunday Service.  
On Sunday, 22nd September, 2013 after the church service, people were served with cooked rice in the church yard. Worshippers were busy eating a communal meal when a terrorist entered the church yard and blew himself up.  Only a few seconds later a further suicide bomber exploded a further incendiary device.

I reported the incident to the Chairman of the BPCA after being advised of the incident by a colleague based in Peshawar.  I was instructed to visit the site immediately to report on the human catastrophe and how we could provide relief to the victims.

When I reached the site of the explosion the devastation was beyond imagination.  Although early figures those killed stated ten deaths it was very apparent that the actual death toll was well above this.  Below I include some eye witness accounts that describe more pertinent facts of the incident:

"The blast shattered the glass panes of the nearby houses", Said Mr. Ahmad Ali (a Muslim neighbor), 50 years of age. “I love Christian people and usually see the services held in the Church from my window. I saw the congregation eating cooked rice at around 11:30 am. Suddenly I heard a blast and then a second. The noise was deafening and parts of human bodies were thrown in the air.” 

Shocked teenager Shaleem spoke of the fear he felt.

Shaleem Junaid a 13 year old child who after completing his Sunday school class, was on the other side of the Church building described the attack.  He said; "After church, everyone was eating and I was playing with a few other children.  We heard two blasts and then lot's of screaming. I was terrified!"

He added;

"People were running around helping the wounded and many were crying. There was blood and pieces of flesh everywhere. My Sunday school teacher Sonny Samson was killed and a teacher named Salman was injured and admitted to the local hospital."

Families are grief stricken and many have lost 3 generations.  Over 20 young children lost their lives in the explosion that has decimated the local Christian community.

Riaz Khokhar 60, and older brother 28, died in the incident.  One younger brother Ayaz Khohar said;

"As soon as I heard about the incident I rushed to the church, I was too late I only found dead bodies and blood stained the floors and walls."   Despite his grief he took injured victims to the hospital.

Khalid Shahzad, a local human rights activist explained how the church had been receiving threats for some while.  The local authorities and the Police had been informed but took no notice of the warnings.  Christians had asked for an increase in local police and better vigilance, during their services.   

The two police officers on duty  allowed the bomber through the church gate and checkpoint without a search.  I found  an injured man Waqas (25) in the Lady Reading Hospital crying bitterly at the loss of his mother and two sisters. I saw a lady in the hospital who was feeding her small baby on a hospital bed with two legs injured  so badly, she may never walk again - worse still the baby was injured and covered in blood. I saw Danish Younis, 32, whose two small children and wife died in the Church blast.  

Victims spoke of a lack of doctors during the Sunday incident due to it being a day many took off for rest.

 The BPCA will be opening a relief fund to help this beleaguered community.  Donations will pay towards false limbs, support for orphaned children and counselling for families grieving for the bereaved and injured.

If you would like to donate to our relief work our bank details are as follows:
Sort Code: 20-67-90
Account number: 63468976
Bank: Barclays
Ref:  Peshawar Bomb Blast

Alternatively if you would like to send a one of donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, or simply send a cheque made payable to the  BPCA  to our address 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Christians in Pakistan.

Ball bearings were used with the incendiary devices to cause pain, suffering and death.

A pile of belongings left behind after the attack.  Many of these litter the church courtyard.

Blood and pieces of flesh strewn all over.

The impact of the explosion damaged the floor.

Bits of blackened flesh cover the ground.

Blood has stained the grey cement red.  Black flesh in clumps has remind local people of the severity of the explosions.

The clean-up has begun but emotional scars will take time to heal.

Coffins were so in demand that craftsman had to work through the night, to cover the shortage in supplies.


LONDON’S Green MEP Jean Lambert has condemned yesterday’s suicide bombings
in Pakistan which killed more than 80 people.  She sent the following response to the BPCA after a call for action from Europe:

Ms Lambert, Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to South Asia, including Pakistan, has called for better protection for religious minorities in the country following the two blasts – both outside a church in Peshawar.

She said: "These killing are an absolute tragedy, and all our thoughts arewith the families and friends of those killed and injured."

But they are just the latest attack on minorities in the country, and they underline the need for more state protection and better local measures to promote greater understanding between followers of different faiths – 
and none.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Protesters to express anger at twin suicide bombing of church in Pakistan

- British Pakistani Christians to express frustration with Pakistan governments lack of action to protect minority Christians against deadly attacks -

Protesters will gather outside the Pakistan High Commission in London on Tuesday the 24th September at 12pm to express their anger at the recent twin suicide bombing in a church in Peshawar, Pakistan which killed 75 people. Hundreds of Christian Asians across the UK will assemble at 34-36 Lowndes Square to pressure the Pakistan government into action and to provide greater security for Christians in the large majority Muslim country. Protesters will then move onto 10 Downing Street where they will hand over a petition to pressure the UK government to help the minority community in Pakistan.   

The twin suicide bombers struck on Sunday morning as worshippers were due to leave the packed All Saints church in the northern Pakistani city. The protest has been organised by the BPCA (British Pakistani Christian Association), which represents Christians of Pakistani origin in the UK - many of which have fled Pakistan to escape the violence and intimidation they faced.

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA, said: "This is one of the worst attacks on Christians in Pakistan we have ever seen. Many people have died and many have been seriously injured, but still nothing is done by the Pakistan Government to prevent such attacks - which are becoming more and more frequent. We have organised this protest outside the High Commission to highlight the desperate plight of Christians in Pakistan and the constant threat of violence they face on a daily basis. "

Christians in Pakistan have long faced violence from militant Islamic groups, but in recent time's violent attacks on Christian communities, businesses and homes have increased. Only this year a 16-year-old Christian girl in Lahore was abducted, gang-raped and forcibly converted to Islam before being forced to marry a Muslim man. When she and her family reported the case to police, they were insulted and harassed - another prime example of the brutal violence Christians face in Pakistan.  

Mr Chowdhry added: "Many British Pakistani Christians still have close family ties in Pakistan and are continuously worried about the safety of their loved ones. We hope the Pakistan government will finally take note of the horrifying violence Christians must live with and more importantly take strong action to stop it. Those guilty of orchestrating this horrendous crime should be tried and punished. In addition, the government must provide greater security for Christians across Pakistan and reassure them that their way of life is not in danger."

In reaction to the recent attack, many other groups and leading campaigners have joined the BPCA in its protest in London including Upkar Rai from the British Sikh Council, Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Group, Jesbir Singh from free Sarabjit Singh Campaign, John Bosco from the Christian Social Link, Peter Tatchell who is a International Human Rights Campaigner and Rubab Mehdi Rizvi who is a Barrister and Human Rights Activist.

Protesters will gather outside the Pakistan High Commission, 34-36 Lowndes Square, London SW1X 9JN at 12pm and then move onto 10 Downing Street where at 3pm Wilson Chowdhry and other senior members of the BPCA will hand over a petition to the UK government.

Shamim Mahmood our BPCA field representative will be visiting the community today to gauge how we can provide assistance. We have opened a community restoration fund to help this beleaguered community.  The fund will provide coffins and pay medical expenses for those affected by the blasts, in addition to providing on going support to needy families.

If you would like to donate to our relief work our bank details are as follows:
Sort Code: 20-67-90
Account number: 63468976
Bank: Barclays
Ref:  Peshawar Bomb Blast

Alternatively if you would like to send a one of donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, or simply send a cheque made payable to the  BPCA  to our address 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Christians in Pakistan.

London protest against the bombing of Christians in Peshawer

Injured survivors receiving aid after the explosion.

The BPCA is holding a protest in opposition to the bombing of innocent Christians, whilst leaving a church service in Peshawar.  Over 100 Christians were killed in an attack on Sunday 22nd September, instigated by two suicide bombers posing as police officers, that is said to be a retaliation by the Taliban for US drone attacks in Pakistan (read more here).  This is the single biggest murder of Pakistani Christians in recent years and is an indication of the inability for the state to protect itself.  We call on the British Government to give aid and support to beleaguered Christians and other minorities in Pakistan, We urge Pakistan authorities to conduct a full investigation and to ensure that justice is upheld so that extremist no longer believe they are immune from the law.  We pray for solace for the victims, their friends and families and all those by the recent attack.

11:00: Set up to the fore of Pakistan Embassy, Lowndes Square, Knightsbridge (feel free to join us and to assist) 

 1 hour worship service

13:00: Submission of petition at Pakistan Embassy 

13:10 - 14:00:
 30 minutes of political speeches and rallying.
14:00: Protesters head towards 10 Downing Street
15:00: Arrive at 10 Downing Street - 10 minutes of political speeches
15:10: Submission of Petition at 10 Downing Street
15:15: Speakers including unplanned speakers.
16:00: Prayer and close.

Guests include:
  • Upkar Rai - British Sikh Council
  • John Bosco - Christian Social Link
  • Jesbir Singh - Free Sarabjit Singh Campaign
  • Ranbir Singh - Hindu Human Rights Group
  • Peter Tatchell - International Human Rights Campaigner
  • Rubab Mehdi Rizvi - Barrister and Human Rights Activist (Former European Spokesperson for the Pakistan Ministry for human rights.
  • OOberfuse to perform song composed to remember the victims of All Saint's Church.
  • Other speakers will be added to this growing list.
We will be holding a 1 minute silence for the most recent of Pakistan's Martyrs.

Please complete a comment if you will be coming to encourage others

At least 60 martyrs killed and 45 injured after two suicide bombers targeted a Peshawer Church

Peshawar blast kills 56 Christians with a further 45 in critical condition.

Parishioners of St John's Church located in the Qissa Khawani bazaar of Peshawar were targeted this morning in an attack by two suicide bombers.  Thus far the death toll lies at 56 and a further 45 critically injured victims have been taken to Lady Reading Hospital, located nearby.

The unprovoked attack occurred as parishioners were leaving the packed church of 600 worshippers, at the end of their morning service.  

Parishioners were caught totally unaware resulting in a huge fatality rate.  Six women and 4 children were counted amongst the dead and the attack has caused huge anxiety and terror within this Christian community.
Despite their fears the grieved relatives supported by other Christians, have been protesting against the lack of Police protection and devastation they have suffered, outside the church all day.  
We call on Christians and other humanitarians to pray for peace in Pakistan, for solace for this community and for justice to prevail - where so often it has failed in Pakistan.
Geo News have filmed the devastation which can be viewed here:
Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the BPCA said;

"News of this bombing shocked me to the core.  In my time as Chairman of the BPCA I have never heard of a targeted attack on Christians which cost so many lives.  This suffering which has reached genocidal proportions must come to an end. Serious International intervention is required to prevent the total extermination of Christians from Pakistan."

He added;

"This incident alone illustrates that the farcical rejection of Pakistani Asylum seekers by the UKBA, based on a premise of internal location - is long overdue a rethink."

The BPCA has announced it will hold a protest outside the Pakistan High Commission, Knightsbridge, London on Tuesday 24th September from 12:00.  The protest will move to 10 Downing Street for 15:00.  More details to follow in further posts.

Shamim Mahmood our BPCA Field representative will be visiting the community today to gauge how we can provide assistance. The BPCA will be opening a disaster recovery fund to help this beleaguered community.

If you would like to donate to our relief work our bank details are as follows:
Sort Code: 20-67-90
Account number: 63468976
Bank: Barclays
Ref:  Peshawar Bomb Blast

Alternatively if you would like to send a one of donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, or simply send a cheque made payable to the  BPCA  to our address 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Christians in Pakistan.

Church bombed in Peshawer - death count 10 martyrs so far...

PESHAWAR: More than ten people were killed while several others injured in a bomb blast that targeted a church at Kohati Bazaar of the city of Pashawar,Pakistan.

According to rescue sources, the injured people included women and children also.

Rescue teams reached at the scene and shifted the injured people to nearby hospitals for treatment...... resources told that rocket launchers been fired in the church during the Sunday service..... waiting for more news. Please pray for me Shamim Mehmood BPCA.

Monday 16 September 2013

Keep the Faith in Syria

Bishop Nicolas Antiba of Bosra and Hauran (© ACN )

By John Pontifex - Aid to the Church In Need

A SYRIAN prelate – ordained a bishop only last month – has spoken of his dismay at the country’s mass exodus of Christians but is convinced that the future of one of the world’s oldest Church communities is assured.

Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop Nicolas Antiba of Bosra and Hauran described how his faithful in southern Syria were fleeing in their hundreds to the area around his bishop’s house in Khabab following attacks which included the destruction of reportedly one of the country’s oldest churches dating back to the 6th century.
Referring to the attack on the 542AD St Elias’ Church, in Izraa, he said the exodus of Christians from Syria risked becoming as bad as in Iraq where most faithful left their homes.
Bishop Antiba stressed the urgent need for help both for displaced people arriving in Khabab and elsewhere, including food and shelter – a problem which will become more acute as the weather worsens.
In comments echoing those last month by Melkite Patriarch Gregorios III, who ordained him bishop on 25th August 2013, the 67-year-old said the crisis is being exacerbated by the influx of fighters and weapons from abroad, which for Bishop Antiba are like “a cancer” threatening to destroy the country.
Bishop Antiba went on to reiterate calls for an end to plans for foreign military intervention in Syria, saying that his message to President Barack Obama is “leave us alone”.
Amid reports that up to a third of the country’s Christian population is now internally displaced or living as refugees abroad, Bishop Antiba said: “I believe – I know – that persecution will not destroy the Church.
“The blood of the martyrs gives new life to the Church.
“I have the hope that we will continue to live here as Christians. Yes, we will be fewer in number – just look what happened in Iraq – but I don’t think the country will be left without Christians.”
He was speaking after attacks earlier this month on the ancient Christian town of Maloula which was attacked and occupied by Jihadi groups.
Christians fleeing the town spoke of direct attacks on Christians and reports emerged that the fighters wanted “victory over the infidel”.
Earlier, Patriarch Gregorios told ACN that 450,000 Christians in Syria – nearly a third of the total – had fled their homes.
Bishop Antiba said: “Christians are a peaceful people. They do not fight, especially in Syria where we have been living with tranquillity without any problems.
“We are the people who have no way to fight. Instead we are a peaceful people who are the first ones who are attacked...
 “Christians have suffered very greatly. We are still suffering. It is not easy.”
He reiterated calls for the US and its allies to abandon options favouring a military strike.
The bishop said: “I hope that [the US and its allies] will leave us alone. If arms continue to come into the country, the situation will get worse. It is not Syrians who are fighting Syrians – those involved in the fighting are non-Syrians.”
He said: “Instead of bringing arms into our country, bring peace. Arms are like a cancer – a foreign body that threatens to destroy us.”
Calling on the US to keep out of Syrian politics, he said: “I would say to President Obama, you always talk about peace… please leave us alone and put these ideas of peace into practice.
“You have your own idea of democracy and it is beautiful but it is not necessarily our idea of democracy; let us work out our own idea of democracy.”