Religions not responsible for terrorism: Speakers

International-peace-Conference-minhaj-university-day-1-11-112017-6LAHORE – Leading figures belonging to five religions have unanimously rejected as mere propaganda the assertion that religions are responsible for acts of terrorism in the world.

The participants of a two-day conference on “Religious Pluralism and World Peace”, which concluded on Sunday, recommended holding of dialogue among the followers of all religions to iron out misunderstandings and chalk out a strategy for world peace.
Dr. Rohan Gunaratna, an expert in terrorism from Singapore, Dr. Paul Rohan from University of Jafna, Sri-Lanka, Dr. Adrian Feldmann of Australia, Dr. Andre Wehrli-Allenbach of Switzerland, Dr. David James Bamber and Dr. Cedric Aimal Edwin were among the international speakers at the conference organized by Minhaj University in collaboration with Punjab Higher Education Commission. Scholars of various religions including Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam sat together to talk about the present challenges of the world –the main purpose for which the conference was organized.

Reading out declaration in the conference, Minhaj University’s Deputy Chairman Dr. Hussain Mohayyuddin said that no form of terrorism and violence had anything to do with world religions and it must be condemned at all levels. He said misuse of religion and its misunderstanding by general discussions must be stopped, suggesting that it should only be limited to the competent scholars with concept of religious doctrine, beliefs and practices.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NATION 

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Christians stand up for Rohingyas censuring human rights abuses

Pakistani Christians stand up against atrocities being committed in Myanmar. Raising their voice against human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims, Christians staged a protest in the Capital. They urged the international community to act in order to thwart violence and save lives of Rohingyas.

Myanmar a Town Divided

As condemnation continues to pour in from international community, Pakistani Christians also staged a protest in front of National Press Club in Islamabad. Christians from all walks of life took part in this protest. They urged the international community to provide security to the Rohingya Muslims who are facing systematic genocide.

Also Read: Christian student’s lynching discussed in National Assembly of Pakistan

The protesters said that the killings of Rohingya Muslims can be termed as a genocide which needs to be checked. Addressing the gathering, Christian lawyer Advocate Sheheryar Shams Chairman of Pakistan’s Christian Citizen Forum said that Rohingya Muslims were declared foreigners on unfair and illegal terms.

He said that Rohingyas were illegally deprived of their nationality. Moreover, they were not being accepted by either Myanmar or Bangladesh. He said that out of 60 million total population of Myanmar, there are 25 percent religious minorities including 22 percent Muslims. The protesters were carrying placards while they chanted slogans government and military of Myanmar for carrying out inhumane violence against Rohingyas.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANSINPAKISTAN 

 

Muslims Love Me

 

marilyn-hickey-pakistan

On a rainy Wednesday night in Pakistan, thousands are transfixed by a woman named Marilyn Hickey. The crowd sways, prays and cheers as she exclaims “Jesus loves you, repent of your sins!” and “God Bless you, Pakistan!”

Hickey is an 86-year-old evangelical Christian with a worldwide television ministry based in Denver.  Over the last 40 years, she has traveled to 136 countries to spread the gospel. Her special mission has been to build bridges in Muslim countries like Pakistan, Egypt and Sudan.

“These people are very open and very hungry. And I think I laid a basis for this years ago and I began to say, ‘I love Muslims and Muslims love me’,” Hickey says.

She invited “CBSN: On Assignment” to join her on her eighth visit to Pakistan in July. Correspondent James Brown traveled with Hickey on the 20-hour trip that began in New York, stopped briefly in Dubai and landed in Lahore at 3:30 a.m. local time, two days later.

Brown asked Hickey why she’s been so accepted in Muslim countries. Hickey responded, “I think it’s a God thing. Years ago, I started praying over every country in the world, every day. And when I would hit the Muslim countries — I had such a warm feeling for them.”

When she arrives in Lahore, she is greeted like a matriarch by members of a local Christian church. The parishioners give her flowers, hug her and call her “mom.”

Despite the greeting, Hickey says she likes to keep things a little bit low key. “I don’t want to draw attention. I want to look very simple, very harmless. Here’s some lady, you know, she’s stupid, she’s a woman, she’s old, what can she do? And you get to do everything. I don’t want to look big, but I do advertise big. When I get in the country, I do big time advertisement.”

Pastor Anwar Fazal is hosting Hickey’s visit. He’s like the Billy Graham of Pakistan, and leads its largest evangelical church of 30,000 members. Fazal says he owes his success to Marilyn Hickey because she impacted him so deeply during her first visit in 1995. He became a Christian and followed in Marilyn Hickey’s footsteps in 2006 when he started an international TV ministry which today reaches over 200 countries.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CBSN

Pakistani Muslims build church for Christian neighbors

church

World Bulletin / News Desk

In Pakistan’s northeastern Punjab province, Muslim villagers are raising funds to help their poor Christian neighbors build a church.

The initiative was begun shortly before Easter by a group of Muslims from a village in Faisalabad, Pakistan’s textile-manufacturing hub.

“There is a tiny Christian population in the village — only 20 families — who have no place to worship,” Fr. Aftab James, the local priest, said.

“Only days before Easter, the initiative was taken up by our Muslim brothers,” he said.

According to Fr. James, Christians of the village had to use someone’s home — or some other site — to perform prayers on holy days.

“Muslim residents of the town, however, offered to build us a chapel as a gift,” he said.

“We are thankful to our Muslim brothers for this wonderful gesture. It makes us feel proud,” the priest said.

The local Christian community is now very excited that they will soon have a church in the village.

“Before we had to rent or borrow a house in which to hold Christmas, Easter and other festivities,” Faryad Masih, a Christian laborer, said.

“But now we will soon have our own chapel,” he said.

“At first I didn’t believe it when Muslim community leaders said they would build us a chapel,” he recalled.

“But to my surprise, construction work began within one month of the initial announcement,” a visibly excited Faryad said.

“Our community’s longtime dream is now coming true,” he said.

Christians, Pakistan’s largest religious minority, account for roughly 3 percent of the country’s total population of some 180 million.

Most of them reside in Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, where they are mainly involved in the sanitation, nursing and teaching sectors.

FULL ARTICLE FROM WORLD BULLETIN

Defending religious minorities helps majority, faith leaders agree

roberts_pakistanis425KELLER—When Muslims defend Christians in Pakistan and Christians speak up for Muslims in the United States, they not only follow the highest ideals of their religions, but also act in their own enlightened self-interest, a Baptist pastor in North Texas and a Catholic priest and a Muslim imam from Pakistan agreed.

“How we treat Muslims here (in the United States) has an impact on Christians in Pakistan and Egypt and other places around the world. We need to learn how to be civil. We need to teach those who are in the majority how to treat those who are in the minority. We want to pull together pastors and imams in different areas. We need to watch out for religious minorities worldwide.”

Abdul-Khabir Azad, the grand imam of the 350-year-old Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, and James Channan, regional coordinator of the United Religions Initiative-Pakistan, agreed.

In June, Roberts helped facilitate a meeting of 10 Pakistani Christian leaders and 10 imams from Pakistan at the Doha Interfaith Center in Qatar. Now, Azad and Channan want to use that model in their homeland, fostering dialogue and nurturing relationships between religious leaders at the grassroots level.

“We want to heal wounds and build bridges,” said Channan, a Roman Catholic priest and director of the Peace Center of the Dominican Order in Pakistan. The author ofPath of Love: A Call for Interfaith Harmony, he recently received the Global Ambassador of Peace Award from the Institute of International Social Development at the United Nations.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BAPTIST STANDARD 

Suspension of Pakistan women’s death sentence ‘shows need’ for Christian-Muslim dialogue

pakistan-christians-protestThe suspension of the death sentence of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman charged with blasphemy, by the Pakistan Supreme court has showed the value of Muslim-Christian dialogue, says a priest in the Islamic nation.

“The Supreme Court of Pakistan has made a great move as her death sentence was put aside,” Father James Channan said in a July 23 interview with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

“I firmly believe that justice will be done, that she will be proven innocent and that she will be released,” said the Roman Catholic Dominican priest.

He noted, “The blasphemy law was used (in Bibi’s case) to settle a personal score – the accusation was an act of revenge.”

The Pakistani woman has denied the accusation, saying her accusers were acting out of a personal vendetta.

Asia Bibi spent nearly five years on death following an accusation that she insulted the Islamic prophet Muhammad during an argument, Catholic News Agency reported.

Earlier in July the Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended Bibi’s execution, and will soon hear her appeal.

However, CNA reported that many Pakistanis have spoken out against the court’s decision and have said it would carry out the execution even if she is deemed innocent.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ECUMENICAL NEWS 

Islam Requires Muslims to Protect Christians

BRmDegHCYAAiv7pFive years ago, I lost close friends in one of the most gruesome terrorist attack on Pakistani soil. In twin attacks on two Mosques in Lahore, 88 Ahmadi Muslim worshippers were killed at the hands of the Taliban. It was a painfully bloody day. This last weekend, I woke up to sad news from Pakistan that made me relive some of that pain.

Fourteen worshipers were killed, and more than 70 were injured, when two Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up outside churches in the Youhanabad neighborhood of Lahore, Pakistan.

These attacks on Pakistan’s Christian community are not a sporadic event. They are a part of a very tragic trend. Just over a year ago, another suicide attack at a Peshawar church claimed 78 lives. Not long before this, an angry mob torched over a hundred houses in Lahore’s Joseph Colony, following blasphemy allegations against a Christian man. Another Christian couple — Shama and Shahzad — were recently lynched and burnt alive in a kiln on similar blasphemy charges. As in the Joseph Colony rampage, this mob violence was also led by a local cleric.

While Pakistan’s minority communities are frequently attacked by religious extremists, the state does very little to protect them. Even in the rare instance that the perpetrators of such attacks are caught alive, they get away with a mere slap on the wrist. Pakistan’s ruling party, the PML-N, is especially notorious in sponsoring hateagainst minority communities in an attempt to appease extremist elements that serve their vote bank. In fact, we now know that the Punjab Government under Mr. Shahbaz Sharif reportedly carried out negotiations with al Qaeda.

The reaction from the masses in Pakistan is not very encouraging either. The majority continue to remain apathetic to the ongoing persecution of minorities. The few that speak up are threatened and intimidated into silence. All this, while the Islamic faith requires that all Muslims stand up to such injustice.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST