Category : Pakistan

(CT) The deadliest incident faced by the persecuted church last Christmas wasn’t radical Islamists. It was alcohol.

The deadliest incident faced by the persecuted church last Christmas wasn’t radical Islamists. It was alcohol.

Liquor mixed with aftershave killed about 50 people at Christmas parties in a Pakistani village, and sickened about 100 more.

In Pakistan, as in many Muslim-majority nations where Shari‘ah law forbids drinking, alcohol is closely identified with Christianity. The nation’s primary alcohol producer, for example, riffs on the Bible in advertisements. Founded in 1860 by the British, Murree Brewery’s slogan, “Eat, drink, and be Murree,” echoes the repeated biblical idiom for short-term pleasures.

Perhaps as surprising as the existence of a Pakistani brewery is the fact that 12 Muslims were among the victims of the fatal Christmas parties.

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Posted in Alcohol/Drinking, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Pakistan, Race/Race Relations

A Terrifying WSJ profile of American Diplomat Robin Raphel, wrongly suspected for being a US Spy

Over the past two years, diplomats in Pakistan and the U.S. have scaled back contacts, according to officials in both countries. U.S. diplomats say they are afraid of what the NSA and the FBI might hear about them.

“What happened to Raphel could happen to any of us,” said Ryan Crocker, one of the State Department’s most highly decorated career ambassadors. Given the empowerment of law enforcement after 9/11 and the U.S.’s growing reliance on signals intelligence in place of diplomatic reporting, he said, “we will know less and we will be less secure.”

“Look what happened to the one person who was out talking to people,” said Dan Feldman, Raphel’s former boss at State. “Does that not become a cautionary tale?”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Politics in General, The U.S. Government, Theology

Michael Avramovich on Asia Bibi's Pakistani Supreme Court hearing–In The Moral Footsteps Of Pilate

This [past] week many around the world have prayed for the Pakistani Supreme Court hearing for Asia Bibi that took place yesterday. Over the years, I have written a number of articles on these pages describing the horrific plight of Asia Bibi. Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian, and a married mother of five, who was sentenced to death by hanging under Pakistan’s notorious criminal code section 295(c), which prescribes the death penalty for “insulting” Mohammed and Islam. What was her “crime?” It was in June 2009, while working in the fields, that she was sent to bring water for the other farm workers. Some of the Moslem workers refused to drink the water she brought as they considered water touched by Christians to be “unclean.” Her co-workers then complained to the local authorities that she made derogatory comments about Mohammed. What was the derogatory comment she was alleged to have made? The Moslem women claimed that Asia Bibi said: “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?” Asia Bibi is illiterate, and is considered to be an uneducated woman, but she asked a deeply profound question.

Read it all from Touchstone.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

(CEN) Concerns over Lambeth meeting with an allegedly prominent Pakistani “hate preacher”

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace told The Church of England Newspaper: “The Archbishop of Canterbury was pleased to meet Shaykh Naqib ur Rehman, a leading Sufi Muslim leader from Pakistan, at Lambeth Palace yesterday. The Archbishop received a first-hand account of the situation in Pakistan, which is a highly significant country for faith relationships in the UK.”

However, the son of Salmaan Taseer told the International Business Times he was perturbed by the news. Taseer, who had been kidnapped by the Taliban and held prisoner for four years said: “These people teach murder and hate. For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(WSJ) Aatish Taseer–The Day I Got My Green Card

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, India, Pakistan, Politics in General, Theology

[WWM] Pakistani Christians bury their dead after Easter massacre

“People tried to move away a little boy curled up by the coffin, and to tell him to let them put it in the ground. People were spent from tears and crying, and yet found some energy to dig the graves of their loved ones. The little boy would not let go and wept. I asked the family to let him hold the coffin a little more, and then he looked at me, and we locked eyes before he said, ‘He was my brother after all’.”

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan

[BBC World Service Newsday] Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali interviewed on the Lahore massacre

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali is the former Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan. He spoke to Newsday’s Andrew Peach.


Bishop Michael: There has been a pattern of for example, mob violence against Christian communities, churches and sometimes even individuals, but this really is plumbing the depths of evil, because this time the target has been children and mothers playing at the swings. I don’t know of a softer target than that. So yes, things seem very bad here, from that point of view.

Interviewer: So it’s part of a series of attacks of this sort – attacks on churches, on Christian villages, that kind of thing, but also in a broader context in Pakistan – Christians facing violence; blasphemy laws have been targeting Christians in change recently.

Bishop Michael: Yes, there are layers of persecution, so there is legal discrimination against Christians, I mean that is embedded in the law now, and that was brought about 25/30 years ago. Then there is social discrimination in employment, in housing opportunities and schooling. Then as you say, there has been this mob violence. That has been very serious, lots of people have been killed, institutions destroyed. And now more recently there has been this terrorist attack, again part of a series of attacks – you may remember some churches were attacked last year.

How this has come about, because I remember a time, I was a bishop here before I was a bishop in England, and Christians and Muslims and others lived together amicably, neighbors went to the same schools, and ate in the same restaurants.

This has been brought about by this process of radicalisation based on an ideology that is regarded as based on religion. And it is not for me to say how authentic that is, but that is for other people to say how distorted it is or how authentic, but that is what is causing these problems.

Interviewer: And Michael, if that is your analysis on why this is happening, what do you think could change things in terms of stopping the persecution of Christians in Pakistan?

Bishop Michael: Yes, I think that is a very good question. I think there are a number of things. I think we need to address the teaching of hatred that children are absorbing from schooldays in their textbooks, in religious schools, even by religious teachers sometimes in public gatherings. That has to be addressed urgently.

The other is that we need changes in the law so that equality under the law is guaranteed for all. One law for all must be a principle that is recognised. Fundamental freedoms, particularly freedom of expression, need to be safeguarded. And then of course there is the rampant misuse of the blasphemy laws. I have suggested again and again to successive governments how to deal with this, and I’ve had verbal agreement, ‘yes you know, it sounds a good idea we will do it,’ but in fact very little has been done. All those things which certainly improve the situation are of course the army and the security services are engaged, from their angle in curbing terrorist activity, and that is good, but I think these underlying causes also need to be addressed.

Listen to it all [Unofficial transcript by The Elves]

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan

[Lapido Media] Analysis: The Battle for Pakistan

by ‘Our Correspondent’
..Pakistan is widely perceived in the West as being a den of fanaticism, yet this is a rank oversimplification. The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are fundamentally decent, hospitable, and kind. Myopic Western narratives obscure any number of inconvenient facts: that far more Muslims are killed by terrorists than Christians; that the blasphemy laws are more often used as an excuse to seize valuable land than to score religious points; that there is a growing sense of outrage among Pakistanis at the brutalities committed in their country.

When terrorists attacked a church in Peshawar in 2013 a Muslim aid agency sent ambulances to help them, saving many lives. Even now SMS appeals for blood donations are doing the rounds; a taxi company in Lahore is offering free travel to hospitals for anyone who wants to donate blood. A friend of mine came across two men looting a bus station in Islamabad, chased them off, retrieved their loot, and promptly returned it to the authorities.

And yet the fact remains that there are organisations in Pakistan who consider it meritorious to park a car bomb next to a playground and blast dozens of giggling children to smithereens; who acclaim as a hero a man who machine-gunned a civil rights campaigner to death in an upmarket shopping area. The broad swathe of Pakistani decency and kindness is hedged in by a lunatic fringe of murderous zealots..

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan

Pakistan's Christians: the precarious position of a minority community

The suicide bombing Sunday in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, along with published comments attributed to the militant Muslim group that claimed to carry it out, have served to grimly underscore the precarious position of Pakistan’s Christians.

At least 70 people were killed in the Easter attack, mostly women and children.

Ahsanullah Ahsan, spokesman for Jamaat-e-Ahrar, a breakaway Taliban faction in Pakistan, said the attack specifically targeted Christians.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

NZ Anglican Bishops condemn Pakistan bombings

The Anglican Archbishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have condemned an Easter Sunday suicide bombing in Lahore, Pakistan which killed at least 70 people.

“The targeting of the innocent, in this case Christians celebrating Easter, is the hallmark of terrorism and such cowardice should be condemned,” the Archbishops said.

They said people of peace from all faiths should stand in solidarity to condemn the bombing.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Asia, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(NYT) Pakistan in Mourning as Toll From Lahore Easter Suicide Bombing Rises

Shock and grief enveloped Pakistan on Monday as the official death toll from a suicide attack in Lahore a day earlier rose to 69, with 341 people wounded.

The local news media put the number of people killed at 71.

Police investigators said a suicide bomber had detonated explosives in a vest during the evening rush hour on Sunday at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, one of the largest public parks in this eastern city.

Jamaat-e-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it had targeted Christians.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(NYT Op-ed) Nicholas Kristof–My Friend Rafiullah Kakar,, the Former Muslim Extremist

Ultimately, Rafi’s life was transformed because his eldest brother, Akhtar, pinched pennies and sent Rafi to the best public school in the family’s home province, Balochistan. Rafi had an outstanding mind and rocketed to the top of his class. But he also fell under the spell of political Islam. A charismatic Islamic studies teacher turned Rafi into a Taliban sympathizer who despised the West.

“I subscribed to conspiracy theories that 9/11 was done by the Americans themselves, that there were 4,000 Jews who were absent from work that day,” Rafi recalls. “I thought the Taliban were freedom fighters.”

I’ve often written about education as an antidote to extremism. But in Pakistan, it was high school that radicalized Rafi. “Education can be a problem,” Rafi says dryly.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Islam, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–A Different Islamic School

In recent years, traditional Islamic seminaries, or madrasas, have come under scrutiny and criticism as incubators of terrorism and extremist interpretations of Islam. Correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has a report on one school, the Jamia Islamia Clifton madrasa founded 40 years ago in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, that is trying to change that image and broaden the scope of what students are taught.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Education, Islam, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

(Anglican Ink) Churchwarden sacrifices his life to save congregation during Taliban attack

In an act of extraordinary heroism, a parish warden stopped an Islamist terrorist from detonating a bomb during Sunday worship at Christ Church Youhanabad near Lahore, Pakistan. Fifteen people were murdered during twin attacks on Christ Church and the neighboring St John’s Catholic Church on 15 March 2015, but the heroism of Zahid Yousaf Goga (pictured with his wife, Akash and three children) prevented further bloodshed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(BBC) Deadly blasts hit Pakistan churches, one R. Catholic+one Anglican, in Lahore

Two bomb blasts have killed at least 14 people near two churches in a Christian neighbourhood of the Pakistani city of Lahore, local officials say.

More than 70 people were hurt in the explosions, which targeted worshippers attending Sunday mass at the churches in the Youhanabad area.

Violent protests erupted after the blasts, with a mob killing two men accused of involvement in the attacks.

Pakistan’s Christian community has often been targeted by militants.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Other Churches, Pakistan, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Violence

A Haunting Picture for your Prayers–Pakistani students leaving the reopened Peshawar School

it’s the second one in in case you get taken back to the beginning.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Education, Pakistan, Photos/Photography, Violence

(HP) Pakistani Christians Dressed As Santa Claus Protest Taliban

Pakistan was still reeling Sunday from a devastating attack on a military-run school in Peshawar that left 132 children dead.

Shortly after the Dec. 16 attack Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani acknowledged responsibility for the attack, saying suicide bombers had carried out the attack as revenge for the killings of Taliban members by Pakistani authorities.

Just five days after the massacre, Pakistani Christians were not going to let the Taliban have the last word. Dressed in Santa Claus outfits and holding signs that read “United we stand in grief and sorrow,” dozens gathered in Karachi, Pakistan to protest the attack.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Inter-Faith Relations, Pakistan, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(Economist) Massacre in Pakistan–The blood of innocents

It takes something unusually vile for the world to pay much attention to a terrorist outrage in Pakistan. Since 2007 the annual toll of murders by jihadists has never dropped below 2,000 and in 2012 and 2013 it was not far off 4,000. This year has actually seen the mayhem decline by a third. But the horror of the attack by the Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella organisation of militant groups officially known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), on an army-run school in Peshawar stands out for the scale and nature of its brutality.

At about 10am on December 16th, seven heavily armed Taliban gunmen scaled an outer wall of the school and began shooting indiscriminately. By the time army commandos regained control of the compound 141 people, most of them teenagers and younger children, had been killed. Given the seriousness of the wounds that the injured have suffered, the number of deaths will almost certainly rise (see article). This is the deadliest terrorist attack in Pakistan’s history.

The army, and previous governments, must take much of the responsibility for the violence the country has suffered in recent years.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Pakistan, Politics in General, Violence

(CSM Editorial) When children stand up to terror

The terrorist attack on a Pakistani school Tuesday continues to evoke a global outcry. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan has condemned the Taliban group in Pakistan that took credit for slaughtering 148 people, of whom 132 were children. In Pakistan, tens of thousands of people held candlelight vigils nationwide, holding up signs saying “Enough!”

But the most touching and perhaps meaningful reaction took place in India, Pakistan’s longtime adversary and a victim itself of Pakistani-led terror over a territorial dispute between the two countries.

On Wednesday, Indian students in thousands of schools and colleges observed two minutes of silence or wrote messages in their scrapbooks for the young victims. “We also prayed for the quick recovery of the injured students and the grieving family members,” one school official told The Times of India.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Education, Globalization, India, Pakistan, Violence

(VOA) Funerals Begin for 141 Slain in Taliban Attack on Pakistan School

The first funerals are being held for the victims of a Taliban school massacre in Pakistan on Tuesday that left at least 141 people dead, most of them young students.

Wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives, seven assailants attacked the military-run facility in the northwestern city of Peshawar, shooting children and adults.

Pakistani officials said 132 of the dead were students about 12 to 16 years old. Nine school staff members also died in the siege, which lasted more than eight hours.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Pakistan, Parish Ministry, Theology, Violence

(ABP) Kanchan Gupta–Will the world wake up after Peshawar?

Yes we grieve, like all decent, democratic and humane societies should, over the tragedy that has visited Peshawar. But our grief also tells a story that cannot but discomfit those who repudiate everything that terrorism and terrorists stand for. It tells us that proximity alerts us to Islamist barbarism that distance tends to dull.

When 200 teenaged girls were abducted by Boko Haram and pressed into sex slavery in Nigeria, we barely took note of that crime. When the Islamic State militia massacred Yezidis, forcing survivors to take shelter in the barren Sinjar mountains where children died like flies, we merely took note of it. Earlier, when terrorists attacked a school in Beslan, Russia, in September 2004, leaving 385 dead, among them 186 children, we wondered what it was all about.

Just as the story of global trans-border terrorism does not begin with the devastatingly spectacular attacks of 9/11, the story of innocents being massacred in the name of jihad does not begin with the ghastly attack on the school in Peshawar. These are stories with prologues and preceding chapters; each day, each week, each month a new chapter is added to these stories.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Islam, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

Students Among Dead as Pakistan Gunmen Kill 126 at Army School

Pakistan militants killed dozens of children in an attack on an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar that left 126 people dead so far, the country’s worst terrorist attack since at least 2007.

Some 84 students were among the dead after gunmen gained access to the school by dressing up as paramilitary soldiers, Pervez Khattak, chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told reporters. The army was in the final stages of clearing out the school, Asim Bajwa, army spokesman, said on Twitter.

“This is a decisive moment in the fight against terrorism,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told reporters in televised remarks from Peshawar. “The people of Pakistan should unite in this fight. Our resolve will not be weakened by these attacks.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Police/Fire, Violence

Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Anglican bishop of Wakefield pray for Pakistani couple killed by mob

Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, the Anglican Bishop of Wakefield, lit candles and prayed yesterday in St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds for the couple and their unborn daughter who were burned to death in Pakistan last week.

Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24, who had three children, were attacked by a mob of 1,200 that had gathered after rumours they had desecrated the Koran. It is thought the mob burned them to death at the brick kiln where they worked.

Cardinal Nichols, president of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales, said: “This is a horrific and tragic event which sullies the reputation of a great nation. Surely all people of true religious spirit will, in response, turn to God in prayer, seeking forgiveness for the violence and destruction of life, pleading for peace in our troubled world.

“For my part I pray for the repose of the souls of the couple and their unborn child.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Asia, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

(WSJ) Mira Sethi–A ”˜Blasphemy’ Blight in Pakistan

A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up last week on the outskirts of Lahore, killing more than 60 people. A few days later, 32 miles away, a violent mob incinerated a Christian couple accused of blasphemy.

The two incidents seem unrelated””one an atrocity committed in the service of global terrorism, the other an eruption of local violence. But taken together, the incidents tell the story of Pakistan today: A country and people opposed to the Taliban’s extremist version of Islam, but unconsciously affirming it in small but significant ways.

The suicide bombing by the Taliban at the Wagah crossing on the India-Pakistan border targeted families who had come to watch the daily flag-lowering ceremony. Condemnations and angst poured in from every corner””from Pakistani media, politicians and the military. The city of Lahore resolved, with considerable fanfare, to defy the Taliban by going ahead with the flag-raising ceremony the day after the bombing, an event that drew a large crowd.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Zenit) Human Rights Group in Pakistan Still Hopes for Justice for Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five from the Punjab province, was accused and convicted of “defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed” in 2009 and sentenced to death. Bibi asserted after her death sentence in 2010 that the allegations against her were fabricated by a group of women who did not like her.

Two prominent politicians who called for her release were both murdered and another forced into hiding. Haroon Barkat Masih, director of the Masihi Foundation, stated that many interests are at stake behind Bibi’s case. Too many vested interests and too much pressure that, in the end, cover up the truth of the facts, he said in an interview with Fides News Agency.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy is ruled against by Lahore High Court

Asia Bibi’s death sentence was upheld by the Lahore High Court in Pakistan on Thursday. Bibi, a Roman Catholic mother of five also known as Aasiya Noreen, was sentenced to die in 2010 after she was convicted of blasphemy. Bibi’s Muslim coworkers accused her of drinking the same water as them and verbally challenging their faith.

“I met Asia in prison a month ago. She’s fine and was hoping to hear good news, but, alas, our ordeal is not over yet,” Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, told Morning Star News after yesterday’s decision.

World Watch Monitor reports that Bibi’s attorney Naeem Shakir challenged the testimony of the women who feuded with Bibi, arguing to the appellate court that their testimony had been hearsay because the complainant in the case had not heards Bibi’s words himself. The judges ignored Sharkir’s critiques, suggesting he should have raised them the trial level.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Husain Haqqani–Malala Yousafzai–A Nobel Laureate and Beacon for a Troubled Nation

While Malala’s courage in defying the Taliban’s barbarism won her the admiration of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, her Pakistani detractors’ criticism reflects the national malaise that young Malala has committed herself to fight. Hundreds of young Pakistanis, most of them supporters of cricket icon Imran Khan, have started the #MalalaDrama hashtag on Twitter to describe Malala as a tool of the evil West who is seeking to impose Western values on Islamic Pakistan. A few on Twitter even called for her to be charged with blasphemy, the catch-all accusation frequently used in Pakistan against those advocating anything but the most primitive ideas. Luckily, she now lives in Birmingham, England, after having come to Britain for medical treatment for her head wound.

Malala began documenting life under the Taliban in 2009, after they took control in the Swat Valley of northwestern Pakistan and then tried to shut down her school. The Taliban and their Islamist supporters oppose education for girls, and their concept of education for boys is far from enlightened. A young village girl with little outside exposure, Malala wished to connect to the rest of the world. She says she was inspired by the Pakistani Benazir Bhutto, who became the Muslim world’s first woman prime minister and was killed in 2007 by terrorists for challenging their ideas.

By rejecting the Taliban’s version of Islam””which was being brutally imposed by force of arms””Malala showed greater foresight than many of Pakistan’s politicians, generals and public intellectuals who have gradually ceded space to extremist Islamists. She didn’t buy into the propaganda description of the Taliban as a nationalist reaction to U.S. dominance or Indian influence, recognizing them as a menace that would set the country back several centuries.

Read it all from the WSJ.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Education, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Violence, Women

(AP) Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satharthi win Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work for children’s rights.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Malala, 17, is the youngest ever winner of a Nobel Prize. A schoolgirl and education campaigner in Pakistan, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago. She.

Satyarthi, 60, has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” the Nobel committee said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Education, Globalization, Middle East, Pakistan, Syria, Violence, Women

(Lambeth Palace PR) Archbishop Welby joins calls for protection of Pakistan’s Christians

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said the Christians of Pakistan are a people under siege and joined calls for their churches to be protected and for them to be able to worship in safety.

“Freedom of worship is a universal human right around the world, and all countries need to pay attention to that,” he said.

Meanwhile, condemning the “revolting lynching” of a pregnant Pakistani woman who was stoned to death by her family in front of hundreds of people outside the Lahore high court, the Archbishop told the Times: “I was utterly horrified and every Pakistani I have spoken to is also horrified. It (the stoning) was in no sense a punishment, but but a revolting lynching.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Church Times) Tight security for Archbishop Welby in Pakistan

The threat facing minorities in Pakistan was laid bare on Monday, the day of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s arrival in the country, when an American doctor was shot dead in the Punjab province.

Mehdi Ali, a volunteer cardiologist born in Pakistan, was a member of the minority Ahmadi community, which faces persecution in the country.

Security is tight for Archbishop Welby’s visit to the country. On Tuesday, he met the diocesan bishops of the Church of Pakistan, the Governor of Punjab, and leaders from a range of faith communities.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology