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 

 

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Muslims Love Me

 

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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

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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

Baltimore institute embraces Islam along with Christianity and Judaism

Chris Leighton and Homayra Ziad

Homayra Ziad, a Muslim and native of Pakistan, is as upset as anyone about the rise of ISIS and other terrorist groups that she says have threatened to undermine religious tolerance and have placed Islam under a critical microscope in the United States and around the world.

“This for us is a sword in our cultural and religious heart,” she said. “This is painful for everyone.”

But as a full-time scholar of Islam at the Towson-based Institute of Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, Ziad, 38, is not on a mission to fight terrorism around the world, but rather to help Baltimoreans better understand all religions and cultures, including Islam, as a way to “push forward” for peace among the unrest.

Through continuing interreligious programs, seminars and “conversations,” many of which Ziad is leading, “We can certainly have an effect on thinking through habits of mind that lead to polarizing,” she said.

The institute, founded in 1987 and formerly called Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies, announced last week that it has changed its name to add the word Islamic. The 30-year-old institute, located on Dulaney Valley Road opposite the entrance to Goucher College, already has a diverse staff of Christian and Jewish scholars. It hired Ziad in September 2014 from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., where she was an assistant professor of religion with a focus on Islam.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BALTIMORE SUN 

Shedding light on Christian-Muslim Relations

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When I was a young boy growing up in Pakistan, I was surrounded by every comfort for which anyone could ask. That is one of the benefits of belonging to a prominent Shia Muslim family. What I understand now that I didn’t back then is that what is accepted by the masses isn’t necessarily all that there is. At least it wasn’t for me.

I had no doubt that my family loved me, and I knew that there were great things in store for me as a leader in our community, especially if I could strive to just be a good Muslim. I loved Islam and everything it taught me. But there was always something else tugging at me on which I couldn’t put a finger.

 Islam is a religion that calls for respect and devotion. I admire those who passionately put their faith first, making sure to closely follow the pillars of Islam. I also admire the faith of those who claim Christ as their savior, and go about sharing His message of love and forgiveness through grace, in spite of the danger they willingly place themselves in. There is no doubt that there are those on both sides that fiercely protect and defend what they know to be true. And as history has shown, that debate can lead to misunderstandings, which often produces horrific repercussions.

FULL ARTICLE FROM BELIEF NET

I Worry About Muslims

F201308022014502893368724KARACHI, Pakistan — I worry about Muslims. Islam teaches me to care about all human beings, and animals too, but life is short and I can’t even find enough time to worry about all the Muslims.

I don’t worry too much about the Muslims who face racial slurs in Europe and America, the ones who are suspected of harboring murderous thoughts at their workplaces or those who are picked out of immigration queues and asked awkward questions about their luggage and their ancestors. I tell myself that at the end of their humiliating journeys they can expect privileges like running water, electricity and tainted promises of equality.

I do worry about the Muslims who face extinction at the hands of other Muslims in their own homelands, usually in places where they are in a huge majority. My friend Sabeen Mahmud was murdered earlier this year, probably for not being a good enough Muslim, and it happened in this country, a country so Muslim that you can live your entire life here without shaking hands with a non-Muslim.

But mostly I worry about my kind of Muslims, those who are expected to explain to the world what real Islam is like. We so-called moderate Muslims are urged to take control of the narrative and wrest it away from the radicals — as though we were MFA students in a creative writing class struggling with midterm submissions, rather than 1.6 billion people of maddening diversity.

I worry about the pundits who end up on TV within hours of an atrocity and are required to condemn or defend and explain on our behalf. I worry about those nice folk who are supposed to remind the world that Islam is a religion of peace.

Yes, the word Islam does mean peace. The dictionary says so. But it takes gumption to wave a dictionary in front of someone who has lost a daughter, a son or a partner, and say: “Here, I have something for you. Look. ‘Islam.’ It means peace.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

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