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Christians in Pakistan Hiding in Forest

Hundreds of Pakistani Christians have fled Islamabad following blasphemy accusations against a young Christian girl (who may have Downs Syndrome). While some have returned home, CBS reports, many Pakistani Christians are still living in a state of fear and uncertainty:

. . . Nooran Bashir, who had fled a few hours after the girl’s arrest, was back in her home Monday.

“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. She said one of her sons came back with her, but her other children were too frightened and she sent them to relatives.

She said Muslims asked the Christians not to worship in their church, and if they did, to refrain from singing.

Persecution and mob violence against Pakistani Christians, sadly, is something of a “dog bites man” story, and so often fails to make the news. That doesn’t mean that their suffering should be forgotten. But Christians are far from the only religious believers persecuted by murderous, ignorant hate in Pakistan. Shia Muslims, Ahmadiyyas and Hindus also live in fear because they follow the call of conscience.

This is not what Jinnah intended; it is not what generations of Muslim sages and saints would recognize as an “Islamic” Republic. One can hope and pray that the persecutors and the killers return to some kind of sanity and spiritual health; at the same time NGOs and governments around the world must do what they can to protect religious freedom and the rights of minorities whatever their faith in Pakistan, Burma and wherever they are threatened.


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  • WigWag

    “This is not what Jinnah intended…” (Via Meadia)

    I’m afraid that Via Meadia has a rather myopic view of Muhammad Ali Jinnah; the spectacles that the author of this post uses to peer at Mr. Jinnah seem to be rose colored.

    For an excellent rendition of the founding of Pakistan and India, readers would be well-advised to take a look at Piers Brendon’s “The Decline and Fall of the British Empire.” While Brendon’s take is a little bit too critical of his British forebears for my taste, he can be very funny and his book is quite informative. More here,

    Jinnah did everything he could to ruin the chance to produce a united India that would protect the rights of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. At least if Mr. Brendon is to be believed, he undermined Nehru at every chance and he never missed a chance to subtly insult Gandhi; always referring to him as “Mr.” instead of his more respectful honorific title, “Mahatma.”

    As Brendon put it,

    “Jinnah whipped his cohorts into action…He inflamed the minds of his impressionable followers with the idea that Pakistan was a new Prophet’s Paradise on earth and the only means of protection against Hindu domination. Jinnah apparently said that he cared not a whit if Muslims voted for a lamp-post as long as the lamp-post was Muslim.”

    Like so many Islamist leaders, Jinnah made hypocrisy an art form. As he prepared to lead the fight for Pakistan (critics called it Jinnistan), Jinnah began to appear in front of the illiterate Muslim masses in new garb. Here’s Brendon again,

    “He abandoned his monocle, the symbol of white sahibdom, and his Saville Row suits (200 of them), silk ties (a fresh one every day) and sola toupee in favor of a Muslim shetwani (long black coat), shalwar (baggy trousers) and black karakuli (sheepskin cap)…He rallied his co-religionists with the cry ‘Islam is in danger.'”

    Jinnah cultivated an increasingly pious public image while in private he never hesitated to indulge his taste for the finest British scotch and ham sandwiches.

    While I am sure that Pakistan is not as wealthy or stable as Jinnah would have liked, I don’t doubt that Pakistan’s anti-Christian animus would have been entirely acceptable to Jinnah as long as it served his ends.

    Pakistan has not strayed from the path that Jinnah set it on; the road from Jinnah’s day to today is perfectly straight.

  • pst314

    “it is not what generations of Muslim sages and saints would recognize as an Islamic Republic.”

    Perhaps, but it IS what generations of other Muslim sages and saints would recognize. Intolerance is entirely within the mainstream of Islamic thought and practice.

  • Riki Tiki Tavi

    Opponents of the “two-nation theory” predicted 8 decades ago where this fatuous ideology would lead. Jinnah perhaps propounded his ideas only as a cynical ploy to grab power. But, as WigWag says above, the path connecting Jinnah’s fatuous ideas to what Pakistan has become today is rather straight. It is ironical that the shia are hounded in Pakistan when Jinnah himself was born Shia. Not to mention other groups that initially supported the two-nation theory, such as the followers of the Agha Khan that also remain hounded.

    As Gandhi observed a long time ago, politics without principles never goes far.

  • Luke Lea

    In which Muslim countries are Christians not being persecuted? Is that list longer or shorter than the list of those in which they are being persecuted?

  • Old School Conservative

    No religion that advocates conversion by force should be tolerated. To become legitiamte in my mind all sects of Islam must renounce this basic tenet of Mohammed.

  • Rabnif

    Via Media apparently does not know ANY Muslim sages and saints. Every Muslim sage or saint of note, Sufis included) followed Mohammed’s example and called for constant war against unbelievers. They only “tolerated” unbelievers if those people accepted humilitating second class status and paid extra taxes for the privilege of living in that debased condition. Whenever the kaffirs appear to be getitng out of line by building churches, asking for basic human rights, or rejecting the superior religion of Islam, the Muslim population reacted with violence and oppression just as they have done throughout history.

  • Herschel Smith

    The term “saint” has no context except for Christianity. There is no such thing as a “saint” in Islam.

    As to what was intended by generations of Muslims, you might be forgetting their Qu’ran-recognized authority to force conversions and grant leniency in lieu of forced conversions by taxing non-Muslims (i.e., the Jizya).

  • Jacko

    “One can hope and pray that the persecutors and the killers return to some kind of sanity and spiritual health;”

    This is a nice wish, but the best option for religious minorities in the Muslim world is to get out and move to the West if you can.

  • Rob Crawford

    What? The nation founded by separatist Muslims and given — by them — the name “Land of the Pure” is intolerant towards non-Muslims?!

    Huh. Weird.

  • Ray

    Rabnif (6) must be a very fortunate man to have known all Muslim saints. Or else he is making an invalid induction from his more limited knowledge. I have indirect experience of only one, and to the best of my knowledge he never called for war of any kind.

    Hershel Smith (7) should add to his knowledge by searching on “peer pir” to find references to Sufi and Shia saints, as a start.

  • mojo

    “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”
    — Luke 22:36

  • teapartydoc

    When was the last time you heard a lefty say or imply that Pakistan needs to emulate Sweden or the Netherlands? Gee, I’ve never heard one do so, either. I wonder why…

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