According to Universal Declaration Human Rights adopted by United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris, distinction on the bases of religion, race, colour, creed, age, language, gender and country of origin is condemnable. All states signatory to the said declaration promise to uphold the dignity and respect of every citizen of their country. Furthermore, they shall not allow their citizens to be persecuted on basis of mentioned factors. Though every member state has been doing her best to control persecution yet, it is quite shocking to know that persecution especially on the basis of religion is still on the rise day by day. Majority of Christian believers living in different countries are being persecuted because of their Faith.
However, for Christian believers, persecution is not a new thing. Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of Christian faith Himself was persecuted in His infancy. King Herod wanted to kill Him because wise men told him that a new king of Jews is going to born in this land. They have come here following a star. According their astrology, star shows the birth of a King. Upon hearing this, King became angry but he did not show his anger to them. Hiding his anger, the King asked them to provide him all the information about new King because he wanted to offer Him tribute.
In fact, the King wanted to kill Jesus right away. They followed shining star and found Jesus Christ. They bowed before Him and offered their gifts. They went back to their countries without passing information to King Herod. Nevertheless, King Herod ordered to kill all boys under the age of two years immediately. Gabriel appeared before marry and Joseph and asked them to flee to Egypt with a new born baby. That was God`s plan to rescue baby Jesus from persecution.
Going through scriptures, we can examine that except John; all disciples of Jesus were persecuted and were killed through beating and torture. Now the question is: Is God happy watching His believers dying on crosses? God does not want this to happen. Our God is an Almighty God. He is stronger than all gods. He has defeated Satan and his powers on the cross. God always has His plan that is always perfect and flawless. He chose persecution as a tool to chasten believers and spread Good News in four corners of the world. God wants us to learn that believers should not be afraid of enemies who can take their lives but they cannot kill their souls.
In the sight of Almighty God, believers who are killed, tortured and beaten, they shall inherit His Kingdom. They shall be gloried with slain Lamb of God and shall be enthroned with Him. Jesus has a special prize of everlasting life for `Martyrs’. Their names shall be written in the book ever lasting Life. That’s why Jesus said, “Matthew 5:10-12 blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.
Now the question is: why people all over the world are being persecuted on the basis of religion, race, colour, creed, age, language, gender and because of country. There are so many causes and factors behind the persecutions .However, jealousy, greed and hatred are the main issues that give rise to persecution. For Christians, hostility on the base of faith is eminent because, they do not accept Jesus Christ as the Son of Almighty God. Jews are against this faith and Muslims follow the suit. It is hard for them to understand the doctrine of ``Trinity``. Yes, they cannot understand it unless it is revealed to them by Good Lord. He would do so at His time. Jesus knew about the grudges the other nations shall have against followers of Jesus Christ.
Basically, three major religions in the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam are monotheist. All three are from the lineage of Abraham. Because of differences on the bases of faith, Islam and Judaism consider Christianity Polytheistic religion. That`s why, they are against Christians. Generally speaking, Muslims are against Jews and Christians. Muslims have a problem with Jews they think they have occupied Jerusalem. According to them, it is their sacred place called masjid-e-Aqsa whereas this place rightly belongs to Israelites because it is temple which was built by King Solomon. They hate Christians because Christian countries like United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and other countries in European Union support Israel. They believe as a nation, Israel has a right to live while Muslims want to wipe them out from the map of the world. They are against Christians because they side with Israel. Israel and Christians share together Old Testament. Muslims believe Angeel (The Gospel) is a sacred book. They do not believe in Old Testament. Moreover, they think ``Angeel`` has been changed and distorted. Muslims want to spread Islam with the power of sword. They want to overthrow all Christian governments in the world. They want to bring Sharia Law on the bases of power. That’s why, they behead, slaughter, burn and tortured Christian everywhere to death.
According the data provided by Open Door` organization, the following countries are the most effected by religious persecution.
1. North Korea Scored: 92/100 2.Somalia Score 90/100 3.Iraq Score : 86/100
4. Syria Score: 83/100 5.Afghanistan Score: 81/100 6. Sudan Score: 80/100
7. Iran Score: 80/100 8. Pakistan Score: 79/100 9. Eritrea Score 79/100
10. Nigeria: Score 78/100
The other countries: Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Central African Republic. Qatar, Kenya, Turkmenistan, India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Djibouti, Myanmar, Palestinian Territories, Brunei, Laos, China, Jordan, Bhutan, Comoros, Tanzania, Algeria, Colombia, Tunisia, Mexico, Oman, Mali, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have varying degrees of religious persecution going on.
Though Pakistan has eighth position in the list the most affected countries of religious persecution, it is becoming focal point of persecution. ISIS, Taliban, Al-Qaida, and other militant groups like Lahsker Janghaive, Lasherker Tayaba, Sipah Sahaba and many others under different names are quite active to change the constitution of the Pakistan. They are interested to impose Sharia Law even against the will of people. All these religious fanatics have one thing common among that is Sharia Law. Anybody who dares to speak for democratic values , equal rights for minorities and justice become their enemy.
Ex-Governor of Punjab, Mr. Suleiman Taysser was killed by his body guard. The reason behind his killing was that Governor was allegedly helping infidels (Christian Lady) Asia Bibi. According to his bodyguard, Mr.Tayseer was violating Blasphemy Law and hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims. Therefore, being a committed Muslim, he felt it was his religious duty to kill Governor. So he killed Governor using his official gun and he felt proud of his action. His action was much appreciated by Masses.
In fact, Mr.Tayseer was a Human Rights activist. He had visited Christian woman Asia Bibi in Jail and assured her that justice shall be done to her during her trial. Moreover, He shall be sending his recommendations to the President to grant her pardon. According to his findings, she was wrongly convicted in Blasphemy Law and nobody in government had courage to release her because everybody of scared of Muslim masses. Fanatic and fundamentalists used Governor`s own security staff member to assassinate him. This was a big shock for a common person.
After the brutal assassination of Mr. Suleiman Tayseer, Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, the ex. Federal Minister for Minorities became victim of these terror groups. He was the biggest supporter of all minorities that were being persecuted and were being deprived of their equal rights because of faith. He was committed to repeal notorious Blasphemy laws and he was convinced that Blasphemy Laws are mostly used against Christians and other minority’s members to settle score against them.
Mr. Bhatti was aware of the fact that young Christian and Hindu women are being forced to embrace Islam. They were being abducted and raped under the nose of Police and nobody was able to take any action against them. That was the sole reason that he was deadly against Blasphemy Laws. Terrorists wanted to kill at any cost. Mr. Bhatti received many threats on his life but he never bowed before the fundamentalists. Eventually, he was assassinated by Pakistan Tehrek e Taliban Militants while he was on his way back to his office after visiting his mother on March04, 2011.
Sadly, government of Pakistan and all secret service agencies could not save his life despite of having all intelligence and resources. The government of Pakistan, especially Ministry of Interior failed to provide him a Bullet proof car that was requested by him. However, his sacrifice has made him immortal in the hearts of all Christians. His sacrifice reminds us to continue his legacy. His brothers Dr. Paul Bhatti and Peter Bhatti are committed to carry on his legacy. Let us get united behind their leadership become a voice of voiceless. Let us be partaker of Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti`s martyrdom and make a difference. Yes, together we can turn the tide.