Opinion Society

Mosque near ground zero, but no faith to be allowed in Pakistan

It looks as Pakistan has reached to that point where the country is shrinking its space for non-Muslims or those with a different notion of religion. We as a nation have allowed ourselves to set double standards and enjoy the invisible pride and dominance which we feel being Muslims. On one hand we insist on having a Mosque near ground zero and on other hand we beat Christians for preaching their beliefs. Is this a fair game?

In this country, we have made lives of non-Muslims not less than a hell and every step we take leads to their further intimidation and persecution. This country is for everyone and people cannot be victimized for saying what they believe in. Looking at the fact that Christianity should be the most acceptable religion for Muslims, the whole persecution seems baseless. Muslims cherish the thought of seeing their Mosques in every nook and corner and Muslims ruling the world, but they loathe the idea of co existing with people of other religions in their own countries.

It is the generosity and extreme of tolerance of Christian/other countries that they let Islam and Muslims to exist in their countries openly and the same attitude is expected from Muslims for non-Muslims in their countries too. But it is happening otherwise. I request Pakistanis to exercise tolerance and make this country available for people from all religions. The strength of Islam lies in its existence with other religions and giving people a choice to embrace it. But through such torturous behaviour, we have made Islam fragile and conveyed to the world that Islam is threatened by other religions. The time has come that we start watching what signals we send to the world as a nation.

Below is the story:
PUNJAB: Five young men severely assaulted a pastor in Punjab, Pakistan for preaching, a Christian human rights group said. According to International Christian Concern (ICC), Emmanuel Beshir, pastor of Holy City Pentecostal Church, was returning from preaching in Bahmani Wala village at 9 PM when five young men stopped him.

They asked, “Why do you preach that Jesus Christ is Lord and nobody can get salvation without Jesus Christ?” The pastor replied, “We will never stop preaching about the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will tell about him to all the nations.”

Then the men assaulted him with wooden rods, breaking his right hand and multiple ribs. Pastor Beshir is receiving medical treatment at Farooq Hospital in Lahore city, according to ICC.
Christians have been targeted before in Bahamani Wala village. On June 30, 2009, more than 600 Muslims attacked Christians in the village after falsely accusing them of blasphemy. The attackers destroyed the Christian homes and looted their property.

“We are deeply concerned by the attack against Pastor Beshir. The right to freedom of religion, including the right to share one’s faith, is an internationally recognized principle of human rights,” said Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia. “Unfortunately Christian minorities face attacks and even death when sharing their faith in Islamic countries. We urge Pakistan to protect Christian minorities from such attacks.”

About the author

Sadaf Arshad

Sadaf Arshad works as the Executive Editor of South Asian Media Monitor at South Asian free Media Association (SAFMA). She has been writing for The Friday Times & The Post. Currently she is Columnist with English Daily Pakistan Today. She holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication and has a deep-rooted interest in subjects like peace and development, security, poverty eradication, economic, gender equality and minority issues.

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