Tough day today, I must say. You have Ashcroft's Seven Deadly Agents roaming the streets of US, you have Abu Hamza in London looking like an evil Captain Hook. And then you have the case of Samuel Masih in Lahore. I found out about it from an editorial in the Daily Times:
Horrific. The charge of blasphemy is brought by gentleman who saw him spit on a mosque's wall. SPIT!
update: Samuel Masih died from his injuries in the hospital on May 29th, 2004.
Now, the Federal Sharia Court as has only upheld Hadd decisions in 2 cases [theft] which were overruled by the Supreme Court. Hence, it is fairly certain that this case will also get dismissed. But what to say about the attack? A mis-guided sipahi who has been trained at the Pavlovian level to hate Christians, Hindus has no rational ability to judge the veracity or strength of any claim of against The Prophet? He hears only that Tauheen-i Risalat was commited by someone and he reacts as he has been conditioned to: with violence.
And blasphemy is not the only sword of Damocles hanging over the Christian community. In another case, Pastor Samuels and his family has been charged under the Shari'a Law for inciting a Muslim woman to marry a Christian. I am not sure about the details of this case, but it revolves a Muslim woman who began a love affair with this Christian. A no-no. As the injuctions in Shari'a against a Muslim woman marrying a Christian (or other People of the Book) is much more severe compared to the relative laxity in the case of a Muslim man marrying a Christian woman.
And lest we stray into thinking that the persecution is only against Christians and only in Pakistan, this recent case in India of the tribulations of a Hindu woman and a Muslim man should dispel those notions.
Regardless, this HAS to change. Pakistan has to modify it's school curriculum. It has to change the rhetoric of the Mullah. It has to guarantee equal rights to all citizens. The Hudood Ordinances instituted under Gen. Zia-ul Haq have got to be re-evaluated. I am glad at least one other person thinks so....
[...] And conveying wrong impressions to Pakistanis is not the only place where it makes poor political sense. The lack of religious freedom is a problem in Pakistan — where minorities live in constant fear of blasphemy laws and official discrimination. For many Indians (including this blogger), Jizya (or Jaziya), the religious tax which Islamic rulers imposed on their non-Muslim subjects was something to be found in the history books. As Amit Varma discovered during his Pakistan trip, it still exists today. The plight of those Pakistanis, so often citizens belonging to its religious minorities, who are charged under blasphemy laws is more well-known. The government of Pakistan’s Punjab province, under Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi has made attempts to reach out to the Sikhs, but by and large, the picture remains one of religious intolerance. High-profile visits to Hindu and Sikh places of worship by Indian leaders gives the Pakistani government an opportunity to show off its ‘tolerance’ to the international media. It is unclear why the Indian prime minister and the Opposition leader have to provide celebrity endorsement to Pakistan’s dubious product. [...]
Dear Brother and Sister's Blessing and Greetings: Meeting the Challenges of Christian Life in Pakistan In Pakistan, being a Christian is not an easy life. It is a life filled with much sorrow and bitterness. It is a life that leaves much to be desired, and sees very little needs fulfilled. Discrimination is the order of the day. It's an order that forces most Jesus-loving souls from their homes and into a sort of virtual slavery. Christians work hard labor jobs as sweepers, sanitation workers and brick makers from sunup to sundown. Their wages are almost non-existent. Entire families earn less money in a month's time than most workers in the United States make in a day, or even an hour. The work is also very primitive, lacking machines and back saving technologies that other countries have ridden to success and fortune. Most of the work here is still done by hand using rudimentary tools. The hours are long, and the work is hard, and the pay makes it seem like a literal death sentence. Discrimination, has also led to their abject humiliation, and forced many of these dear people into homelessness. Religious fundamentalists, acting in rage, attacked and destroyed many Christian owned homes and businesses, leaving them without a shred of shelter or possessions. The Christian people watched helplessly as their homes were looted, all of their family valuables, and keepsakes taken, burned, smashed and destroyed before their very eyes. In a mere instant, they were turned into homeless vagabonds with no place to turn; no place to lay their heads at night. A dire sense of fear and hopelessness fell upon their hearts and minds. After the attacks, many villagers found that the water wells they drew from were smashed and left utterly useless. No Homes, no water and also no way to rebuild, as most of them were already so deeply in debt that they begin to believe that there is no hope left. For Christians in Pakistan, non-educated and poor, good jobs are only a dream, and most of them cannot afford to start their own businesses. To compound matters greatly, a large number of these poor people are in debt. Their creditors are their employers, so quitting and trying to find a better job is not a practical solution. One might think that those who are poor should not borrow money for things they cannot afford, but that simply is not the case here. These poor people are caught in a viscous cycle that has consumed their lives for what has to seem like an eternity. They work so hard that their bodies ache, break, and wear out at an early age. They have to seek medical attention to ease the suffering, and the bills are high to them. They have no money to pay the doctors, so their employers step in to make the payments. The initial bill is only about $80.00 American Dollars, but it quickly goes far beyond their reach to pay with interest added by the employer. They are hard workers, but the work is hard too. So hard in fact that many cannot meet the required workload due to ailing, tired, worn out bodies. The people, deeply in debt, struggle to make the payments and earn enough to buy food. Many times they cannot make the payments, and it angers the creditors. They then make legal demands that the rest of the family is responsible for the debt, forcing small children into a life of hard labor as soon as they are old enough to be of much good. The children are thrown into this hard days labor with no chance of an education, or a Better Way of Life. Many small children suffer because the adults who would give them care are working in the factories and the houses of the rich. Children are left to fend for themselves, rummaging through the streets like wild animals. The elderly are sick and disabled, and have difficulties taking care of the small children. Thankfully, things are changing for the betterment of the Christians in Pakistan. The Pakistani Government has begun setting and enforcing laws to protect the rights of Christians. After several terrorist attacks against humanity that were called `Religious Hate Crimes', the Pakistani Government vowed it would tolerate no more attacks of these kinds. With these new laws and the help of generous volunteers willing to give time and money, we, the Thirst of Holy Spirit Ministries are certain that we can help to restore these poor Christian people to a better life than they have ever known. Please know that we are not trying to establish a welfare system, but we are trying to extend a helping hand to those who desperately need it. After they are able to stand on their own two feet, they will be able to fully do for themselves the things they were once able to do. We are working to see a strong Christian population, ready to serve God and live their lives in a manner becoming the Bible. Thirst of Holy Spirit Ministries in Pakistan wants to help to educate the young children in reading, writing and arithmetic. We want to see them grow up educated and ready to face any challenge life may throw their way. We also want to see their parents and the elderly benefit from the Holy Scriptures being read in their homes to give them strength and courage to face the day. We are confident that we can return pride back to those who have lost everything, just because they long to serve Jesus Christ. Amen. With humble prayers and regards, Yours in Jesus Christ, Please Donate us. Contact us. Ev. Qaisar Anwar Christian Colony Toba Tek Singh 36050 Pakistan, E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website; http://www.freewebs.com/thirstofholyspiritministries/ Thanks