London: (By Hannah Chowdhry and Juliet Chowdhry) Terrifying: The application for Islamic text and abuse of a local Pastor strike fear into local Christian community near Central Brooks Church, Saddar, Karachi.
Christians in Pakistan are facing heightened fear and concern following two alarming incidents involving the appearance of Quranic script on the walls of churches.
On 20th August, images depicting Quranic verses written on the walls of Central Brooks Church in Saddar, Karachi went viral on social media, intensifying existing anxieties.
The incident at Central Brooks Church comes in the wake of the tragic events in Jaranwala, where the alleged allegations of blasphemy against Raki Masih and Amir Raja led to the destruction of hundreds of homes and 26 churches (click here). This incident, combined with the deliberate display of Islamic text on church walls, is viewed as a malicious attempt to propagate fear and intimidation within Pakistan’s Christian community.
Mr. Tahir Ashrafi, Chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council, has unequivocally denounced this distressing incident, emphasizing the need for unity and mutual respect among all religious groups. We took this video from TikTok:
Mr Ashrafi, strongly condemned the individuals responsible for the graffiti incident. He acknowledged that Christians were not only distressed by the content of the graffiti, but also anxious about the process of removing it and the potential for being falsely accused of blasphemy. Ashrafi emphasized that such an accusation would lack validity.
A similar unsettling occurrence transpired in Rehmat Town, Satyana Road, Faisalabad, where members of the militant group Tehrik-e-Labaik inscribed Islamic text on the walls of a local Presbyterian Church. The inscription proclaimed the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad and included the phrase “Labaik Ya Rasool Allah.” Shockingly, the text also contained curses directed at the local Pastor, Vicky Masih.
The inscriptions were discovered during the morning prayer service, causing immediate concern and trepidation among the congregation. Pastor Vicky Masih promptly documented the situation and shared the evidence with law enforcement agencies and the wider Christian community in Pakistan. His rapid response included notifying the police, emphasizing the need for swift action to address this distressing incident.
Regrettably, a disconcerting pattern is emerging, designed to intimidate and terrorize Pakistan’s Christian population. While these incidents grow in frequency, the law enforcement agencies in Punjab have raised concerns about potential foreign involvement. During a press conference on the same day, Mr. Muhammad Usman Anwar, Inspector General of Punjab Police, indicated that local intelligence suggests external forces, including those from India, may be behind the events in Jaranwala. He claimed that it was attempts to deflect pressure on the Indian authorities to deal with persecution of Christians in Manipur.
These developments have deeply disappointed the local Christian community, as the Pakistani government seems to be attempting to draw parallels between the persecution of Christians in Pakistan and similar instances in India. Rather than safeguarding the rights and security of minorities within its borders, the state’s remarks risk fostering further unease among Pakistan’s Christian population.
It should be noted that only days earlier a viral video sent by an Islamic man called for more violent action to be taken against blasphemers we have translated his video taken from facebook:
Renowned human rights activist Juliet Chowdhry a trustee for British Asian Christian Association, has expressed profound apprehension over the police investigation into this act of aggression, asserting that the incident is not being scrutinized with the required diligence due to the absence of physical violence.
In a statement released today, Mrs. Chowdhry highlighted the disturbing trend of not treating non-physical acts of aggression with the same level of seriousness as those involving violence. She emphasized that while physical harm may not have occurred in this instance, the psychological and emotional impact on the affected community cannot be underestimated.
Mrs. Chowdhry has drawn attention to the fact that such acts can sow the seeds of discord and communal tension, even without explicit physical harm.
Ms. Chowdhry, a well-respected advocate for human rights and interfaith harmony, urged law enforcement agencies to consider the broader implications of such actions beyond the absence of physical violence. She stressed that an investigation that thoroughly explores the motives, potential collaborators, and implications of these incidents is essential to prevent future occurrences and foster a sense of security within minority communities.
In her statement, Ms. Chowdhry stated, “It is imperative that we recognize the power of psychological and emotional harm, particularly within a fragile social fabric. Acts of aggression that aim to intimidate or spread fear can have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond immediate physical harm.”
She further called upon the authorities to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and protection for all citizens, regardless of their religious or ethnic background. Ms. Chowdhry’s unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive and harmonious society underpins her call for comprehensive investigations into acts of aggression, irrespective of their immediate physical impact.
The British Asian Christian Association (BACA) remains steadfast in its commitment to assisting the victims of the tragic Jaranwala violence. While the scars of the events continue to heal, BACA’s tireless efforts to alleviate suffering and provide support have become a beacon of hope for affected families.
Since the unfortunate incident, BACA has undertaken a vital role in providing essential aid to those who have borne the brunt of the violence. Notably, the organization has been offering free Bibles to replace burnt ones and sustenance to individuals who are yet to access their 2million Pak-rupee (£5158) compensation cheques, ensuring that they do not face further hardship during these trying times. We are also working towards installing a clean water pump to assist the significant number of Christians in the area who lack access to clean water.
Furthermore, BACA has emerged as a lifeline for numerous individuals who have raised concerns about not receiving the aid they were promised. In response to these grievances, the organization has proactively extended its helping hand to those who are still awaiting assistance, thereby bridging the gap between promise and delivery. You can help us continue this work by donating (here)
A distinctive aspect of BACA’s approach lies in its dedication to transparency and accountability. In line with this principle, the organization has been meticulously documenting its efforts and gathering video evidence that will be submitted to the Pakistani High Commission, during our protest in London on 9th September (learn more about our protest and join us here). This comprehensive documentation aims to shed light on the ongoing challenges faced by the victims and to advocate for their rights to be upheld and compensation delivered.
BACA’s unwavering support is further underscored by its planned protest scheduled for September 9th, 2023. The protest is not only an expression of solidarity with the victims but also a resolute call for justice, equitable treatment, and the prioritization of humanitarian concerns.
“Through our continued efforts, we aim to be a voice for those who have been silenced and a refuge for those who have been marginalized,” stated Mrs. Chowdhry, Trustee of BACA. “Our commitment to aiding the victims of Jaranwala violence extends beyond providing immediate assistance – it encompasses advocating for lasting change and the restoration of human dignity.”