Stories about church

I found peace between Sunnis and Shias in a foreign land

I am a strong proponent of secular democracy; a system which rejects faith based politics and prioritises merit over clan, cast or creed. Living in a country which has been officially atheist for the past six decades has compelled me to ponder over the importance of religion in our private lives. I do not endorse a collective representation of religion. Beliefs are cloned and individuals start idolising practices that don’t do justice to religion. Realism is suppressed which leads to the acceptance of a system that is theocratic in spirit but claims to take people to the highest abode by trampling over people ...

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The neglected and forgotten residents of Youhanabad, Lahore

My foot got stuck in the sewage, and closing my eyes I half prayed that it doesn’t consist of human waste. The groan from a friend watching from across the road, though, was enough to warrant a shudder from me. I had slipped and now was standing, ankle deep, in two days’ worth of rain water and human sewage. The terrifying part regarding this story is the repeated variation of this occurrence. My favourite part (yes, there was one) about these streets though, was covering our heads and making our way down the road to the rairiwala, the man who ...

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The acceptance of one religion’s festival is not an affront on the sanctity of another

His five-year-old clutched the window of the passenger seat as he eagerly looked out the window of the taxi. The church towers loomed up as the taxi turned the corner. Kissing the top of his head, Yusuf shifted his son towards him and patted his hair down. Thick silence emanated from the back of the rather dilapidated cab where his mother and young wife sat huddled together. He stole a glance at his fuming mother who sat in disapproving silence. Sighing, Yusuf shifted his gaze to his doe-eyed wife. She sat as precariously on the car seat as a ...

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How I fell in love with Delhi

There’s something fascinating about New Delhi; so much so that once you get the feel of it, you never want to let go. I have had a pretty amazing relationship with Delhi. Apart from my family’s association with the city, I have always found Delhi to be something more than just a piece of land. It goes way beyond that, and not everyone can understand it. Delhi has been like a summer place, a sanctuary for me. The association, which started in 1991, has only grown stronger and deeper over the years. While nostalgia rushed over me during my trip last year, ...

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Pay attention to where and whom you’re sending your child to

Our children are not safe. December 16th was proof of that. Whether they are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), drone victims or survivors/fatalities in terrorist attacks – children have paid the price for our wars. They have become collateral damage in a war they know nothing about. And as if all of this isn’t scaring parents everywhere as it is, there are the undocumented madrassas – the countless, unmonitored religious seminaries, where parents send their children to learn the message of God. Reports have frightening statistics. They are free to air hate speech via loudspeakers. They are free to brainwash young and innocent minds. There ...

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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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Tempted to commit adultery? Indonesian governor says ‘Go pray!’

Are you afraid that you will be so attracted to the opposite sex that you will forget your vows to your significant other? Are you afraid that your sexual urges will no longer be in your control and if you’re an employer, you will most definitely sexually harass your employees? If yes, it may be time for you to move to Indonesia. A governor in Indonesia has found a cure for adultery – prayer. Apparently, he has never known an adulterer who prays five times a day. Either that or he feels that the longer he keeps men and women on the prayer mat, ...

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A visit to the Salvation Army

While handing me a letter, my wife says to me, “Tomorrow, you have the ‘writing for fun’ training from 10am until 3pm” I read the letter and then read it again. I thought the training venue was going to be the university but it was at The Salvation Army instead. Initially, I didn’t like the idea. I searched for the postal code of the address on Google Maps to find out the whereabouts of the building. To my surprise, the venue was literally a 20 minutes’ walk from my house, which was closer than the university. However, being the curious person that I am, I decided to ...

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Is it fair to blame Imran Khan for the Peshawar Church Blast?

The church blast in Peshawer took away more than 80 innocent lives. People had gone there to pray, not knowing their funeral prayers would follow soon. As always, the shock had subsided the day after the blast, but there was sadness – a constant dull ache that refused to recede. A recurring realisation existed that so many had lost their lives just because they prayed differently. Nothing seemed to help. Tweeting and facebooking allowed people to vent and rave temporarily, but frankly, social media acts as temporary anaesthesia. It numbs the pain for a bit, but the pain and anger ...

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They were just children. What did they do to deserve this?

The twin bombs that exploded on Sunday at All Saints Church, Peshawar, killed more than 90 people, injured nearly 150 others, and emotionally scarred thousands more. Investigations are under way while recovery and treatment has begun for the injured and their families. For some, healing will be swift while others may take small steps over months, maybe even years. Many more might never fully recover from this tragedy. The most heartbreaking of this and such tragedies is the number of young lives lost in these attacks. Since the blast took place on Sunday, the All Saints Church was packed to the ...

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