What, then, should Javed David do in the face of this violent intimidation? He should stop building churches, right? Because if he continues to build churches, he will offend Muslims, and be needlessly provocative. Right? That is what the mainstream media has been telling us in the wake of our Muhammad cartoon contest: it offended Muslims and was needlessly provocative, even inciting the Muslim killers who came to it in order to commit mass murder.
So if Javed David builds another church, he will be inciting the Muslims to violence, and he will be responsible for what he gets, right? He’s asking for it, right? After all, he knows it offends them. He knows they will kill over it. So if he builds another church, he’d just be poking them in the eye, right?
People who dislike our event because it focused on the Muhammad cartoons are missing the point: if free people don’t push back on the points where they are being threatened and menaced, they are only inviting more threats and menace. If we give on the Motoons and stop drawing them, we will have established the precedent that adopting Sharia and giving in to violence is right and proper. That will lead to what Javed David is facing. Will those Christians who are criticizing us for insulting Muhammad and Islam wake up to what is really going on when they are in his position, and are threatened with death for the crime of building a new church?
Lahore (AsiaNews) – For the past three months, Javed David, a Christian leader in Lahore, has been receiving death threats from a group of unidentified people because of his involvement in the construction of several churches in the area.
Three of his associates – John Akram, Ata-ur-Rehman and Saman Joy Alexander – have also been threatened. David is president of a Christian association, ‘Hope for the Light Ministries’.
The latest incident occurred on 4 April, the day before Easter, but the Christian leader spoke to AsiaNews about only today.
“I had been to church in Sheikhupura to attend a meeting with colleagues,” he said. “It was 8 o’clock in the evening when we left to return to Lahore. We were about to reach the main road when a motorbike drove up and blocked the way. Maybe they were following us. The two bikers were wearing a helmet. One of them came up to my window and spoke to me. ‘We know what you are doing here,’ he said. ‘Stop building churches. Convert to Islam, which is the true religion. Otherwise we will make a horrible example of you.”
A similar incident occurred on 22 February, after he visited another church under construction. “On that occasion too, I was going home,” he noted, “when a motorcycle stopped in front of me. The driver knocked on the window and threw in a piece of paper. I did not open it before I got home. It said, ‘This is an Islamic nation. We cannot allow church building. Either you convert to Islam or you leave this country! Stop building churches or you’ll pay the consequences!”
Since 2013, David and his associates have helped poor communities build churches. The first one was erected in a village in Shekhupura district. In 2014, they built a second one in Jaranwala district, near Faisalabad. This year, another one is being built, also in Jaranwala district.
“Right now we were shocked and frightened,” Ata-ur-Rehman Saman said. “Previously, when we bought land to build the church in Sheikhupura, we met resistance from some members of the local Muslim community, but then it all worked out. The head of the local madrassa laid the first brick. Both communities live in peace there, although we have seen rising religious intolerance.”
“My family and I are scared and worried because I continue to receive threats,” Javed David said. “Where can we go to enjoy religious freedom? This is our country; we have lived here for generations.”
“After the tragedy in Youhanabad, circumstances have changed and now there is more fear,” he added. “Still, I dedicated my life to Christ and I shall continue to serve His people, no matter what happens.”