Stories about Christian

Interfaith gestures: Moral placebos or progress?

On November 14, 2014, Muslims prayed at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. South Africa’s US Ambassador, Ebrahim Rasool, gave a sermon and declared that, “never again must there be intolerance towards Christians or any other faith,” and media observers heralded this breakthrough in interfaith relations, though not all cheered. The prayers were interrupted by a heckler screaming that America was “founded on Christian principles”. Reverend Franklin Graham described the event as “sad”. Dr Sebastian Gorka at Breitbart.com accused the Muslim Brotherhood of taking over the cathedral, inexplicably bringing in the Armenian genocide during the Ottoman Empire; all this in the ...

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Is Pakistan heading towards anarchy?

On Monday, November 10, the students and professors of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) held a candlelight vigil, organised by the SZABIST Law Society, in memory of Sajid Masih and Shama Bibi, a Christian couple who were accused of blasphemy and their bodies burnt in a brick kiln in the rural area of Punjab. Photo: Fatima Ansari More than a hundred law students gathered in front of their campus holding candles, chanting slogans like “give justice to Sajid and Shama” and “say no to terrorism,” among many others. The crowd swelled, as more students who were unaware ...

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Dear Aasia Bibi, today I have no apology for you

Dear Aasia, I have so much to tell you. I have so much to talk to you about. I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps the best way is to start off by saying that I would never dare say such a callous thing like I know what you must be going through. I don’t. I have no idea what is going on in your head. I can’t even imagine how disgusted you must be feeling with life right now. However, I do know that you have every reason to feel disgusted. Aasia, you need to understand a few things about the ...

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Can Pakistan ban alcohol for non-Muslims? Not ethically!

As the nation slides down the slippery slope of prohibition, progressives entrench their nails into its icy surface, resisting the imposition of Islamic dicta on the state’s non-Muslim subjects. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights stated its opposition to the proposal to impose a complete nationwide ban on alcoholic beverages, revoking the exemption provided to non-Muslims in Pakistan. It is a restriction Pakistan’s ultra-right political parties have long pushed for. JUI-F MNA, Maulana Shirani, has been particularly vocal in this regard. The proposition implies a constitutional amendment, which has faced a welcome amount of resistance from the ...

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Don’t Christians in Pakistan deserve a church?

This Good Friday, on April 18, 2014, I met a wonderful Christian housewife named Seema, in Lassori. Christians make up 1.6% of Pakistan’s population, and have been serving in every profession. Seema explained that for the last 60 years, 58 Christians have been working as farm labourers in Lassori Tobatake Singh. She and her husband, Allah Ditta, work in the fields and own two goats and a cow. She explained that the entire street comprised of 40 houses on each side and that all the residents present were Christians. Her parents had migrated during the British colonial rule, when the latter allotted ...

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An old Christian lady and a suicide bomber…

“You have to make sure you press this little red button twice near your left pocket, not more than three feet away from the target. You know how much three feet is, don’t you?” This last point of the instructions came out of the so-called engineer’s mouth for the fourth time, along with bad breath and an unpleasant smell that emanated from his clothes which had specks of gun powder in several places. The boys didn’t know his real name but his reputation as ‘engineer’ was rock solid among the other members of the secret cell. No one ever questioned the logic of ...

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Is Islam better practised in the West?

Most people are very quick to point out the flaws and imperfections of Western lifestyle, citing promiscuity, free flowing alcohol, homosexuality, gay marriage and a free mixing of sexes as the main ingredients in its destruction and thus its aberration from Islam.  However, I personally think Islam is implemented in a much more effective manner in the West than it is in Pakistan. Why? Well for several reasons – the social welfare system, the cleanliness of streets, the unacceptability of discrimination, the freedom to practice your religion and a system which protects women and recognises their rights as commensurate with men. Social welfare By social welfare, ...

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Love thy neighbour?

“Are you okay?”  The question jolted Ahmed back to the present. He looked at his wife, Fatima who was looking at him in a concerned manner. She said, “Hello… I’m talking to you.” Ahmed sighed and replied, “I’m worried about the business, it’s not doing so well. What about you?” His wife took a deep breath before saying, “The headmistress has asked me to resign because of the threats to the school. And all the staff members want me to leave as soon as possible.” Ahmed nodded and said, “Well it’s a difficult time for our community. Customers have been avoiding our shop and I don’t know how to get them ...

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Hallelujah Band: Spreading a message of hope in Pakistan

“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together” – Margaret Atwood Given the unending discrimination which the Christians of Pakistan live with, certainly no words or actions can pacify or comfort them completely. The community lives under constant threat of  persecution, attacks or the blasphemy law, fearing that any day something might happen that will shatter their lives forever. Despite all this, the Christian community remains steadfast in its faith. Soon after the twin suicide attacks inside the All Saints Church of Peshawar, I relentlessly began looking for ...

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I am a Muslim who celebrates Christmas – and you should too

I plan to take my family out for dinner. I may call it a Christmas dinner and I don’t think there is anything wrong in calling it that. As Pakistanis, I think it is a great coincidence and blessing that today is also the birthday of our founder, Quaid-e-Azam, whose message wasn’t far off from what Jesus Christ taught us. Not only is there a religious connotation but a national association to this day for us to be united as one, spread the love and share the blessings with those less privileged. Before anyone takes objection to the term “Jesus Christ” please note ...

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