Tuesday, 18 October 2011

False news of Nigerian Christians being burnt

An image of burnt people has been circulating on Facebook with thousands of people sharing the image without realizing that it is not been reported in mainstream media at all and so they did not even confirm it's authentication.
The Incident of July 03 2010 is the explosion of a Tanker in Congo resulting in the death of 235 people and injuring 190.
The same image has been shared on walls of many people claiming the image to be from Nigeria where Christians have been burnt either in a Church or a village. Nigeria has a record of assault on Christians and so it was easy for many to believe it to be a real incident.
Praise and Thank the Lord; that it never happened.

We request you all not to spread False news without checking first.

Here is a link of the incident in Congo:

Here is a video:

Friday, 7 October 2011

45 heavily armed men attack Christians, one murdered, 21 injured

Muslims in Punjabs’s Mian Channu area shot dead an unarmed Christian man and injured 21 others, six of them critically, in an attempted land-grab on Wednesday (Oct. 5).
Residents of the area said that 40 to 45 heavily-armed Muslims on 10 to 12 motorcycles, two tractor-trolleys and in a car reached Chak 134-16/L village, in Khanewal district, and forcibly entered the home of Adeel Kashif, a Christian carpenter who was living on a government-owned piece of land.
“The attackers forced their way into Kashif’s house and started throwing the family’s belongings onto the street,” Wazir Masih, a Christian elder in the area. “They also tore the clothes off Kashif’s three female family members – Violet, 40, Parveen, 35, and Esther, 17, and tortured the family.”
Masih said the assailants wanted to take illegal possession of the 18-marla piece of land (in Pakistan, one marla equals 30.25 square yards).
“Since pre-partition days, a piece of government land is given to Kammis [laborers or craftsmen] for residence, and in return they help the villagers in whatever way they can,” Masih said. “This allotment is made with the complete consensus of the villagers.”
Before Kashif, a Muslim carpenter named Muhammad Iqbal was allowed to live on the property, he said.
“Iqbal lived there for over 10 years and moved out about two months ago,” Masih said. “However, before leaving he prepared fake papers of the land in connivance with the Patwari [local revenue officer] and a local Muslim group and ‘sold’ it to them for 130,000 rupees [US$1,480],” Masih said, adding that the entire process was fraudulent because no one can sell the government’s land in a personal capacity.
He said that on Wednesday (Oct. 5), armed Muslims led by men of the area’s powerful Jagrane family arrived at the house and tried to force the Christians out.
“Kashif’s neighbors and some other villagers came out of their homes on hearing the commotion,” Masih said. “The village comprises about 250 Christian families, and some 90 to 100 people gathered there and tried to persuade the Muslims not to dislodge the Christian carpenter illegally. None of the Christians present there was carrying any weapon, as no one was expecting such a harsh action by the Muslims.”
Masih said the Muslims suddenly opened indiscriminate fire on the Christians, instantly killing 25-year-old Sajid Bashir Masih and seriously injuring 21 others, including women and children. He added that six of the injured were in critical condition, one of them Sajid Bashir Masih’s younger brother, Haroon.
“The Christians had done nothing to provoke the Muslims into employing such brute force,” Wazir Masih said. “They just opened fire on the defenseless people with their automatic rifles and shotguns.”
Masih said that as soon as Sajid Bashir Masih succumbed to his injuries, some of the assailants fled the scene while others took refuge inside Kashif’s house and started shooting at the villagers. He said the villagers immediately informed police, who arrived soon from a nearby station.
Police besieged the house and eventually managed to arrest 16 armed assailants, but the primary suspects remain free.
A First Information Report was registered against the attackers in Mian Channu’s Saddar Police Station by the deceased’s father, Bashir Masih, early yesterday (FIR No. 432 under sections 302, 324, 448, 511, 452, 148 and 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code).
Some of the injured Christians have been transferred to the District Headquarters Hospital, while those with serious bullet wounds have been admitted to the Nishtar Hospital in Multan.
A.D. Sahil, a Christian schoolteacher of the area said the Christians suspected police complicity in the incident.
“The police station is just a couple of kilometers away, yet such a large group of heavily-armed Muslims managed to reach our village in broad daylight,” he said, adding that there was tension between the two communities since the killing, and police have been deployed in the village. “The district police chief and the district’s administrative head reached the village soon after the incident and held negotiations with us.”
He added that, in view of the history of bitter inter-religious relations in the area, government officials have given assurances of protection to local Christians. The village is near Shantinagar, a Christian village attacked by thousands of Islamist extremists on Feb. 6, 1997.
The Muslims burned down 785 houses and four churches, and more than 2,500 Christians had to flee following allegations that a Christian villager had blasphemed against the Muslim prophet, Muhammad.

Armed group kills Christian over disputed land in Mian Channu

Lahore – Sabir Masih, a Pakistani Christian living in Mian Channu, a town in Khanewal District (Punjab), was brutally murdered Wednesday night over a land dispute. A dozen people were injured. According to sources, a local Church had bought the land to build an orphanage, but an influential local feudal lord, Muhammad Ali Durrani, wanted to claim the land.

Local residents say the land mafia is strongly back by the influential feudal lord and they tried to take the land bought by the Church. On Monday, local residents submitted an application at the local police station against Durrani and his associates, but police tried to pressure them and threatened them to withdraw their complaint.

On Wednesday, arriving by car, armed men attacked locals, murdered Sabir Masih, and injured over a dozen other residents including children. They also took over the land. Police did not register a First Information Report (FIR) about the anti-Christian attack.

The Catholic Church in Khanewal has condemned the latest incident and called for immediate action.

“We strongly condemn this murder,” Fr Ilyas John from Khanewal said. “This is not the first incident of land grabbing in the district,” he said “Influential feudals target the weak and the vulnerable.”

The local Church does not have a big congregation but bought the land to build an orphanage. However, it should have given greater consideration to the organizational capacity needed in taking such a step because “the land mafia in this region is very strong and they keep an eye on such projects as they are an easy catch,” the clergyman explained.

Church of Scotland Trust asks help to stop illegal property sales

Islamabad—Church of Scotland Trust has sought the help of the Government to stop the illegal sale of property of worship places of minorities and denationalization of Murray College Sialkot, which was the property of the Trust. A four member delegation of Church of Scotland Trust headed by Dr. Peter J David, Attorney Church of Scotland in Pakistan called on Minister of State for National Harmony, Akram Masih Gill here on Thursday. Asia Secretary of Scotland world Mission Council, Mr. Sandy and Dr. Andrew Macllen, President Church of Scotland World Mission Council were also present in the meeting.

The delegation apprised the minister of occupation of land allocated for worship places of the minorities in Pakistan and added that property of Churches in Sialkot , Daska, Jalapur Jattan and Wazirabad is being sold illegally. The delegation informed the minister that Murray College and about 12 other Schools in the area of Sialkot were property of Church of Scotland Trust and nationalized in the past.

The delegation requested the minister to play role to stop the illegal sale of property of Churches and denationalization of educational institutions, which were the property of the Church of Scotland Trust. The minister said government is trying its best to take steps for the social uplift of the minorities in the country and assured the delegation to extend all possible help to address the issue.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Christian Mother of Five in Pakistan Alleges Rape

A Christian mother of five was allegedly raped by two Muslim men last week, and area Islamists are threatening to harm her family if charges against the suspects are not dropped, the woman and her husband.

On Thursday (Sept. 15), the 32-year-old woman said, she was returning home to Mustafabad, in Punjab Province’s Kasur district, from a garment factory where she works. Two Muslims, identified only as 23-year-old Bhallu and 27-year-old Shera, along with an unidentified accomplice, allegedly abducted her at gunpoint, took her to an abandoned house in the area and raped her, she said.

Working late, she had reached the Mustafabad bus stop at 11:45 p.m. and had begun walking to her home five minutes away; the street was deserted, said the alleged victim, whose name is withheld.
“As soon as I entered our street, Bhallu appeared from the shadows and put his hand on my mouth,” she told Compass by phone. “A second person, who I later recognized as Bhallu’s friend Shera, came from behind and put a pistol on my temple. A third person also appeared on the scene, and together they first gagged me and then forcibly took me to an abandoned house. I tried my best to get free from their hold and save myself, but they were too powerful for me.”

Once inside, she said, they took off her gag, and she pleaded with them to leave her alone.

“I tried screaming, but they hit me,” she said, sobbing. “Not for a minute did they acknowledge that I was a mother to five children. Then they raped me, one after the other. Their third accomplice stood guard as they tore in on me like animals.”

She said that her tormentors let her go after more than an hour.

“They had torn my clothes, and I could barely step outside the house,” she said. “I don’t know how I managed to reach my home … Words fail me even now.”

Muslim criminals in Pakistan, where the population is more than 95 percent Muslim according to Operation World, tend to assume they will not be prosecuted if their victims are Christians. The accuser said Muslim men in the area have been harassing Christian women for some time.

“There are around 500 Christian houses in this area, which is predominantly inhabited by Muslims,” she said. “There have been several instances when they have publicly harassed us but have gotten away with it, because we keep silent to avoid a clash.”

A month ago, as she was returning home from work, she was near her house when she suddenly felt someone pulling her head scarf, she said. She turned and found one of Bhallu’s friends holding the head scarf.

“I started screaming, and my husband and a neighbor rushed out, but the boy walked away as if nothing had happened,” she said. “We did not say a word about this to anyone out of shame and fear of the Muslims.”

She said that after that incident, her husband, who works as a sweeper, began accompanying her to and from the bus stop.

“But there were days when he could not accompany me to the bus stop, and I used to walk alone,” she said.

Her husband, Mushtaq Masih, said that he was speechless after she told him about the ordeal.

“We have five children – three boys and two girls – with the oldest daughter studying in sixth grade – I cannot express the thoughts that filled my mind at that time,” Masih said. “The Muslims had ruined us completely, and I did not know what would happen to us if we reported the crime, but seeing my wife devastated, I decided to face the rapists.”

He called police, who visited the crime scene and took the woman to the hospital for a medical examination that proved she had been gang-raped, he said. Police filed a First Information Report (FIR No. 491/11) against Bhallu and his accomplices.

The woman said that she knew Bhallu only because he lived in her neighborhood, and that although she recognized Shera, she did not know his name until the FIR was filed.

Masih said that Shera’s name came up during the initial police investigation, and he was in custody when the investigating officer asked Masih to bring his wife to the police station to identify the suspects. Bhallu had fled the area.

His wife said that as they reached the police station, Muslims warned the family against pointing out Shera.

“They told us that they will kill my children and husband if I identify Shera,” she said. “They said that we should not forget that we are chooras [sweepers, a derogatory word for Christians] and can bring no harm to them. They also warned that our daughters would face a similar fate if we did not listen to them.”

She refused to identify Shera and returned home, she said.

“What happened to me should not happen to any of them,” she said. “My children are my world, how could I put their lives in danger? … Please pray that no woman suffers what I have been through.”

Pressure to Drop ChargesArea Christians were shocked. The family continues to receive threats to withdraw the case against the primary suspect, Bhallu, who has been seen in the area several times though police have yet to arrest him, Masih said.

“Our Muslim neighbors are pressuring us to withdraw the case,” he said. “They want us to reach an agreement with Bhallu and his friends. They want us to ‘pardon’ the criminals who have dishonored us.”

Police are using delay tactics in the pursuit of Bhallu, Masih said.

“We told the Mustafabad police in-charge that the Muslims are forcing us to withdraw the case, but he is not bothered,” Masih said. He added that some policemen had also asked him to withdraw the case, saying there was little chance his wife would get justice.

“They asked me to take money in return for withdrawing the case,” Masih said. “They want that I should sell my wife’s honor for money.”

Investigating Officer Muhammad Sharif dismissed the Christians’ accusations that police had sought money in exchange for dropping the case, and he refused to acknowledge that Muslims were threatening the woman’s family and needed police protection.

Sharif told Compass that police were trying to arrest Bhallu.

“We took his father into custody but released him after interrogation,” he said. “I will soon catch hold of Bhallu.”

Sharif said the investigation would accelerate after the primary suspect is arrested.

As Masih and the few Christians daring to support him ponder their next step, the woman maintains a faint hope of getting justice in a country where Christians have little legal or societal standing. Mukhtar Masih, an elder of the area Presbyterian church, said the Christians were helpless as the Muslims held sway over local police.

“Several Christian women have complained that the Muslims have harassed them, but this is something that we have to live with every day,” he said, adding that even though the community was shocked, no one was coming forward to help the family because “they are afraid of the Muslims.”

Area resident Arif Masih told Compass that the Christians’ fears were understandable.

“We don’t have anyone who can face the police and the Muslims,” he said. “What happened to Masih’s wife is very tragic and can happen to any one of us, but is there really anything we can do about it?”

Christian Nurse in Pakistan Boldly Opts to Report Videotaped Rape

A Christian nurse  filed a police report on Sept. 3 alleging she was raped by a Muslim colleague who filmed the act in an attempt to blackmail her into renouncing her faith and marrying him, she and hospital sources told Compass.

Shaista Samuel, a 27-year-old nurse at the Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS), filed a First Information Report (FIR) at Shadman police station accusing Ali Adnan, an assistant accounts officer at the hospital, and an armed accomplice of abducting her at gunpoint from the government hospital on Aug. 21 and taking her to a house in Lahore where Adnan’s accomplice filmed the rape.

“[Adnan] was holding my arm tightly and forcibly led me to a white car in the parking lot,” Samuel said in tears, adding that as they approached the car, Adnan’s accomplice came out of the shadows and placed a handgun to her head. “Adnan said that they would shoot me if I raised my voice. I was in complete shock … my senses went numb, and I could not believe this was happening to me. They took me to a house in WAPDA Town [for housing Water and Power Development Authority workers in Lahore], where Adnan raped me while his friend filmed the entire incident. They ruined my life completely.”

Christians have little legal or societal standing in Pakistan, and Muslim criminals tend to assume they will not be prosecuted if their victims are Christians.

Samuel said she had worked several years at the hospital on good terms with Adnan.

“I thought of him as a good friend, since we were working together… he used to visit my home often and was known to my family,” she said.

Recently, however, Adnan had begun acting strangely toward her, she said.
 “He started criticizing Christians for not observing the purdah [covering of women] and of following our ‘own brand of religion,’” she said. “One day when I was least expecting it, he told me that he had started liking me and that I should convert to Islam and marry him. I told him that I had always considered him just a friend, and that although I held him in great regard, marrying him was not possible since we belonged to different faiths.”

Adnan began harassing her at the workplace and by telephone, she said.
“He used to block my way at the hospital, and then one day he forced his way into my house and threatened me and my family, saying that he would not rest until they marry me to him,” she said. “He was acting like a mad man … He started cursing my family and even tried to set the house on fire.”

Disturbed by Adnan’s obsessive behavior, Samuel said that she tried her best not to come into any sort of contact with him. On Aug. 21, however, as soon as she entered the hospital he approached her from behind and forced her to sit in a car in the hospital’s parking area, she said.

“All this while, he told me not to make a commotion as it would only create an embarrassing situation for me,” she said. “He said he just wanted to talk to me to ‘clear up some misunderstandings.’”
He then led her to the white car, and the accomplice appeared. Samuel said the two men held her for over an hour and then dropped her back at the hospital, telling her that if she told anyone about the rape they would send the film to her family and also upload it on social networking sites.
 In Pakistan, a rape victim is generally considered too shamed to resume a normal life or pursue marriage.

“I was devastated,” she said. “I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me. I did not share my ordeal with any person, not even my parents. I did not have the courage to tell them that their daughter had been dishonored, and decided to keep my misery to myself … I could not see my father and brothers face the shame brought by my bad luck.”
Her misery did not end there – Adnan began trying to blackmail her by phone, she added.

“At first he demanded that I convert to Islam, and only then would he consider forgiving me for refusing his proposal,” she said.

When she refused, he began demanding sexual favors and threatening to come to her house and show the film to her family – Pakistanis tend to shame the victims rather than the perpetrators of rape – but Samuel refused to be manipulated by his threats, she said.

“My defiance angered Adnan to such an extent that one evening he turned up at my home and showed the film to my parents,” Samuel said. “He then told my shocked family that they had no other option but to hand me over to him ... he told them that he ‘owned’ me now.”

Adnan left the house, leaving the family, members of Church of Pakistan-affiliated St. Andrews Church, in deep anguish.

“We had a very tough decision to make,” Samuel said. ‘We could have either conceded to his demand or be ready to face the shame and dishonor by reporting his crime, but we chose the latter. Adnan must be punished for ruining my life. I thank God that he rescued me from Adnan’s blackmailing, otherwise I would have remained in mental agony for the rest of my life.”
Compass tried to reach Adnan for comment, but he was unavailable as he had turned off his cell phone.

Although Shaista and her family have filed an FIR with police, getting justice without higher government help may be difficult. At press time police had yet to arrest the two suspects, who fled their homes soon after the registration of the case and have managed to obtain pre-arrest bail.
  “The police deliberately gave them time to get interim bails,” Samuel said. “My father and brothers have been going to the police station every day to ask them to record the statements of the accused, but the investigating officer of the case is using delay tactics. I’ve been asked ridiculous questions about the incident, but I will not be discouraged from seeking justice.”

Samuel said she was tired of suspicious and questioning eyes at her workplace and has taken leave from the hospital. The administration has formed a committee to probe into the matter.
  “I am sick and tired of people staring at me and asking questions,” she said, adding that after she took leave, no one from the hospital administration had contacted her though she had heard of the committee’s formation. The two-member committee includes SIMS medical Superintendent Muhammad Javaid and the hospital’s finance director.

Many of Pakistan’s Christian Flood Victims Still Homeless

Many Christians living in the southern belt of Pakistan’s Punjab Province who lost their houses in last year’s floods remain homeless despite a plan by the Punjab government to allocate land to residents in the area, area Christians said.

Hameed Masih, a resident of Kot Addu in Muzaffargarh district, said the provincial government has not set a quota for granting of land to members of minority communities left homeless by the devastating floods that began in late July 2010.

The government has begun four plans in Kot Addu under which around 435 plots of five marlas (151 square yards) each were to be distributed among people who lost their property. Several people were allotted land last month, but so far no minority member has been given land, he said.

“Christians in this area are not rich people,” Masih said. “They lost their houses and lands in the floods and should have been given a 5 percent quota in the scheme. Flood victims could have been easily accommodated, but the quota system has not been followed, and thus no minority member has been allotted land.”

Aid distribution was also initially unfair, he said.

“There were some problems in the beginning, but then minority members protested and the issue was resolved,” he said.

Masih added that Christian families in his village are receiving monthly stipends from the government.

The list of homeless people was prepared by local land revenue officers who did not do so fairly, said another Christian. Sarwar Masih said he does not have property and does menial work for a living, but his name was not included in the list by the land revenue officers, or patwaris.

“Patwaris had to refer our names to higher authorities, but the names of those who could not ‘make them happy’ were not included in the list,” he said. “My name was not in the list, so I had no hope of getting land, though being homeless I fulfill the criteria.”

Areas where plots have been allotted include Gurmani Sharki, Jandeer Dueaja, Chak 568 and Chowk Sarwar Shaheed. There are some 8,500 registered minority voters, mostly Christians and Hindus, in these areas, with the total minority population said to be around 18,000.

“Several people who have been allotted plots under this scheme already have plenty of resources and land, while those who do not have property have been ignored,” said a Christian identified only as Wasim, who is minorities coordinator of Kot Addu.

He added that one person who owns 22 acres of agricultural land has been allotted more land under the government rehabilitation plan.

Napoleon Qayyum, a minority rights activist and leader of the Minorities Wing of the Pakistan People’s Party, said that under Pakistan’s constitution, minorities should be given a 5 percent quota in all government plans. He added that the Punjab government should adhere to that quota as well.

Officials from the local administration responded to the allegations by saying they did not directly handle flood rehabilitation, adding that plots were allotted to homeless people through a lottery draw.

Chaudhry Ehsanul Haq Nolatia, a local Member of the Provincial Assembly from Kot Addu, said a committee was formed to look into the allotment.

“It is true that the government did not allocate any special quota for minorities in the scheme, but the plots were distributed through a draw,” he said.

He added that he would take up the issue in the Punjab Assembly.

Flooding from monsoon rains affected the Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan regions and the Indus River basin, submerging about one-fifth of Pakistan’s land. Close to 2,000 people died, and some 20 million people lost their livelihood, property or other infrastructure in the flooding.