Pakistan: Christians flee neighborhood in fear of Muslims, build church in forest

Will the Islamophobia never end? “Fearful Pakistani Christians make home in forest,” from The Associated Press, August 27 (thanks to David):

ISLAMABAD (AP) – In the middle of a forest in the Pakistani capital, a group of Christians has cut down trees to clear land and has begun to build a church out of branches after leaving their neighborhood in fear when one of their own was accused of violating Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.

The roughly 100 men, women and children who slept overnight on the ground in a clearing just a few miles (kilometers) from the seat of the Pakistani government are fallout from the case of a young Christian girl accused by a neighbor of burning pages from Islam’s holy book, the Quran. The case has spotlighted attention on the country’s strict blasphemy laws which can result in life in prison or even death for those accused.

“We used to come here to collect wood for fuel so we find it a suitable place for shelter,” said Sumera Zahid, who was feeding her three children and her parents. “Here it is not anybody’s home, nobody’s land. Let us live here in safety.”

Their ordeal began a little less than two weeks ago when a Christian girl was accused by a neighbor of burning pages of the Quran. Much of the case is still in question including the girl’s age, whether she was mentally impaired and what exactly she was burning. But as word of the blasphemy accusation spread, hundreds of people gathered at her house demanding something be done to the girl. The police eventually arrested her and are investigating whether she broke any law.

The Associated Press is withholding the girl’s name; the AP does not generally identify juveniles under 18 who are accused of crimes.

Even if she did what she is accused of, it isn’t a crime, except under Sharia — which apparently AP has adopted.

Most Christians in the neighborhood fled, fearing retribution from their Muslim neighbors. Christian residents also reported that their landlords evicted them.

After living with relatives and in churches, many of the Christians arrived at this clearing on Sunday, determined to build a home.

“We are thankful to the Lord for this land although here is no water and food but rest assured the Lord will create water fountains and provide all fruits here for you if you remain patient and suffer these hardship, thanking the Lord,” said Pastor Arif Masih….

A medical review is currently being conducted to determine the girl’s age and mental state, said Sajid Ishaq, Chairman of the Pakistan Interfaith League, a group that works to improve relations between various religious and sectarian groups. He said about 600 families have fled the neighborhood where the Christian girl lived and have been staying with family and friends.

“They are actually fearful. And we are trying our best to send them home safely. And also we are demanding to the government that they should give them compensation for their loss. And protection as well,” he said.

Ishaq took part in a press conference Monday with the All Pakistan Ulema Council, a group of Muslim clerics and scholars from across the country, to discuss the blasphemy case. The groups called for an investigation into whether the girl was wrongly accused and what role religious extremism played in igniting the case. They demanded that all Christians be allowed to return to their neighborhood.

The degree of international attention on this case has not gone unnoticed in Pakistan, where many already feel their country is unfairly portrayed as being a haven for terrorists and religious extremism.


The chairman of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, Maulana Tahir-ul-Ashrafi, urged the world community to avoid any interference in the case and promised that Pakistan would provide justice for the girl and the Christian community.

A few Christians have moved back to the neighborhood. Nooran Bashir said she left her house in panic, hours after the Christian girl’s arrest.

“I don’t know whether she burned pages of some holy book or not, but we all had to abruptly leave our homes to save our lives,” she said. On Sunday, she finally decided to return to their house and spent the night there, along with one of her sons. But her other children were too scared to return with her so she sent them to stay with relatives.

She said local Muslims asked them not to worship at their church, and if they do, they were told not to sing songs during the service.

Islamic law forbids dhimmis to build new houses of worship or repair old ones, as well as to make a public display of their faith — i.e., through loud singing or processions.

But others are not ready to return. A group of about 200 Christians protested in front of the city administration offices, demanding that they be allowed to stay in the clearing they had created and where they hoped to build their church. There was word on whether their wish would be granted.

“We don’t have a big list of demands,” said one Christian resident, Salim Masih. “We have cleared this place with our hands, and we have laid the first foundation of a small church here. Although this is a mere skeleton made of tree branches, this is the holy home of God. This should be respected.”

But it won’t be.

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  1. says

    A few days ago in Pakistan, they found the dead body of a little 12 year old Christian child – the child had been brutalized, tortured and had body parts cut off while he was still alive.

    The reaction of the police was telling – the official interviewed in the media wanted to first verify whether the 12 year old dead child had actually committed blasphemy or not.

    Tells you something about such people – does it not?

    But, then again its not surprising, when we had a person from this offensive cult, actually celebrate the molestation of non-Muslim women by Muslim men in India, on these forums.

  2. says

    Sooooo: not only did the Muslims attack and arrest a poorly 11-year old for ripping up a book, they also savagely and violently ran the whole Christian community out of their homes for good measure.

    Its round about now that we, the West, should be doing everything possible to destroy Islam.

    Destroy the far-Left. Destroy Islamism. Destroy political correctness. Destroy Multiculturalism.

  3. says

    Sooooo: not only did the Muslims attack and arrest a poorly 11-year old girl for ripping up a book, they also savagely and violently ran the local Christian community out of their homes for good measure.

    Its round about now we, the West, should be doing everything possible to destroy Islam.

    Destroy the far-Left. Destroy Islamism. Destroy Political Correctness. Destroy Multiculturalism.

  4. says

    From the article:” The degree of international attention on this case has not gone unnoticed in Pakistan…”.


    Pile on the pressure, everyone.

    Our religious leaders – starting with Pope Benedict XVI himself, since this little girl is a Catholic Christian and is therefore one of his flock – and our governments *ought* to be publicly, repeatedly denouncing this vicious cruelty and gross injustice morning, noon and night.

    The British Pakistani Christian Association held a protest outside the Pakistani High Commission in London.

    it would be appropriate for Aussie Christians in Canberra to do the same outside the Pakistani High Commission there; and for there to be a *massive* protest, led by American Catholics, outside the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, DC.

    There should be Consequences.

    Pakistani diplomats can be hauled onto the carpet for short, sharp ‘please explain’ sessions in various countries, and then, when they have delivered themselves of the usual slimy taqiyya, told to pack their bags.

    ‘Aid’ should be curtailed.

    All sorts of other privileges should be withdrawn.

    The Pakistani cricket team should discover that they are no longer welcome to play in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and UK. Down with religion-based apartheid!

  5. says

    UK posters – whether religious or nonreligious, Christian or of other faiths such as Hinduism – who wish to do something to help this little girl, would be best advised to contact ‘The Barnabas Fund’ and also the ‘British Pakistani Christian Association’, especially since the latter body has already held one protest rally. I am sure the BPCA would **love** to have many more ‘warm bodies’ out on the street with them if they organise another.

    Here’s the detail for their next protest – outside the Pakistani Consulate in Manchester, right in the middle of heavily-Islamised northern England.

    “BPCA is calling for all who care about the rights of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan, especially those in the North of the UK, to come and join our protest outside the Pakistani Consulate in Manchester on 1st September 2012 from 12 noon to 3pm. ‘

    “Guest speaker David Dean of Nelson, Jabber Singh from the British Sikh Council, Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Group and Ooberfuse who will be performing their well know[n] campaign songs… “.

    All UK posters and lurkers within reasonable travelling distance who can make it on the day, do please go along and help boost their numbers — and, therefore, their visibility and ability to put pressure on the UK Government. Send the UK politicians a strong message: ‘business as usual’ with abominable human-rights-abusing Islamic Pakistan **must stop**.

    This is your chance to Resist the Jihad in person. Be there and be LOUD, law-abiding, and resolute.

    Tell everybody you know! If you’re a Christian, get up a party from your church; if you can, drag your priest or bishop along! Catholics should take special note: the current case – Rimsha Masih – involves a Catholic girl. So send her story to every nunnery and convent school in the UK and *beg* them to send representatives. Full habit, rosaries and all. If you’re a British Catholic: contact your bishop and Archbishop and ask him to join the rally. Frankly, I want to see the Archbishop of Canterbury and Britain’s Catholic Archbishops right out there at the front of the demonstration. And…send the story to your local MP, whoever he or she is, and urge that they go…or, if they can’t, that they should send a personal message of support.

    This protest should have **thousands** of people, not hundreds; and it should have lots and lots of native Britons, especially churchgoers but also non-Christians, and it should have lots of Hindus and Sikhs, because they are suffering just like the Christians, in Pakistan. (Indeed, back in 2005, of the reported cases of abductions of non-Muslim girls, there were twice as many Hindu as Christian girls abducted by Mohammedan rapists and force-‘converters’).

  6. says

    Here in the US, if I recall correctly, Pakistani Muslims form about 10% of the Muslim population.

    The situation is much worse in the UK, of course. Countries like Spain, Greece and Norway are facing significant problems with much smaller numbers of Pakistani Muslims.