Friday, August 24, 2007

News from the Barnabus Trust

In the Dora region of Baghdad Iraqi Christians are being forced to pay jizya, a humiliating tax for being a Christian, or be forcibly converted to Islam. Three months ago Saif Isam Shamer (aged 19) was shot dead for refusing to convert.

On June 3rd a minister and three deacons were shot dead as they dove away from their church in Mosul.

Dr Rebekka Zakaria, Mrs Ratna Bangun and Mrs Eti Pangesti are currently serving 3 years jail sentences for allowing Muslim children to attend a Christian club that they ran in Indonesia.

Walter Fazal Khan a 79 year old Pakistani Christian has been arrested having been falsely accused by his Muslim nephew who covets his property of setting fire to a Qur'an.

Sumaira Rafiq Masih, a Pakistani Christian aged 14, has been gang raped by three influential Muslim landowners near Patoki. No action has been taken by the authorities.

Shamimu Muteteri Hassan 9aged 16) was murdered by her father on July 1st in western Uganda for converting from Islam to Christianity.

David Shestakov is imprisoned in a labor camp in Uzbekistan for 'incitement to religious hatred'. He had been preaching Christ and him crucified.

Please pray for Christians suffering under Islam


Friendly Curmudgeon said...

This sort of Islamic fundamentalist lawlessness is what makes me wonder why we (US and UK keep sending our boys to die over there) I am against all wars being a Quaker, but even more so stupid wars....

Anonymous said...

How very curious, I try to use a new search feature on blogger using physician as a starting point, find no other that the world famous haematologist who made me quiver at my final Haematology MRCPath viva, and then when I click on to this site, I find the first few words of the current post about my homeland Iraq.
Very spooky!
I disagree with this post, but will be returning to read all the research posts with interest.

Terry Hamblin said...

The post comes from a Pakistani Muslim who himself converted to Christianity. I have met him and have no reason to doubt his veracity.

Anonymous said...

Dear professor Hamblin

I am responding to your post not in the hope that this response will be published (in fact it may be best not published), but because I feel very strongly that what may appear like innocent pleas for solidarity can in fact be the seeds of future wide scale and very bloody wars.

Let me explain my background, as I mentioned previously I am Iraqi, my mother is Christian, my father a secular Muslim, I am an atheist.

Let me also explain my disagreement with your post, I do not dispute the fact that at any one time somewhere in the world a Muslim may well be committing a crime against a Christian, I hope that you will not dispute the fact that at the same time it is equally possible that somewhere else in the world a Christian is committing a crime against a Muslim, in either situation it is possible that the crime has nothing to do with either individuals beliefs or indeed their families beliefs, it is equally possible that the crime is being justified in the eyes of the criminal by a firmly held belief that their religion is superior to the other, a belief ingrained in that individual through years of indoctrination by family, community and religious elders.

However it is also possible for individuals of differing beliefs who have for millennia lived peacefully together to turn against each other, driven not by their own criminal minds but by fear, fear created by those who threaten us with the “other” threaten us with the “different” threaten us with the erosion of our ways of life, the erosion of our “peaceful lives” the threat to our loved ones from those who will force them into doing things against their will, or encourage them to leave the “better” ways of their elders.
Some people who spread such fears are genuinely concerned; others have a more malicious intent.

I speak as someone who grew up in a mixed society, where for the first five years of my life I did not know that I must choose between being a Muslim and a Christian, and for the next twenty years did not even know who in my father’s family where Sunni or Shia, and yet I now see my country driven to destruction by those with personal gains to be made from claims and counter claims of persecution (you may not be aware that in the eyes of the current government of Iraq Iraqi Christians were Saddam supporters) and who therefore try to justify displacement or worse of entire villages or towns, or of the redistribution of a country’s entire mixed population.

I firmly believe that we all have to be careful not to be drawn into the very dangerous defensive mentality, which is the first step in eroding our sense of the sanctity of all human life regardless of how or to whom people pray.

Terry Hamblin said...

I think you views should be published. It is very important that people realize that the situation is complex. The situation in Iraq is particularly difficult right now, as for all his faults (and they were very many) Saddam had built a society which kept the lid on religious violence (apart from his own). The lid has come off.

Nevertheless, although there are many Muslims who live peaceful lives and abhor violence, there is a strand of Islam which is currently terrorizing and terrifying the rest of the world. It is not particularly Sunni or Shi’a; both are committing atrocities. Bin Laden and the Taliban are Sunni and Muqtada al-Sadr's militia and the Iranians who held American embassy staff hostage for so long are Shi’a. I haven't yet heard of any atrocities in Iraq committed in the name of Jesus. (It is a mistake to think of all Americans as Christians – certainly some Americans have committed atrocities, but I can’t think of a single Christian organization that would defend Abu Ghraib)

That is not to say there have been no Christian atrocities in history. I have condemned elsewhere in these columns the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, the fundamentalist preachers in the American south who connived at racism, the Crusaders of the Middle Ages and the wars between Catholics and Protestants from the time of the Reformation to Northern Ireland. Although these have the label Christian, they are now seen as perversions of the religion and contrary to its teaching. As people have got closer to the New Testament, the more they are seen as travesties. Nevertheless, if any Christian anywhere in the world is mistreating a Muslim, I wholeheartedly condemn it.

However, there are features of the kind of fundamentalist Islam (which really are all there in the Qu'ran) that make it unacceptable in the modern world: the desire to impose Sharia law without the consent of non-Muslims; the subjugation of women, including the dreadful forms of dress imposed even on non-Muslims; Jitzya - the tax imposed on Jews and Christians for permission to live unmolested in Muslim-ruled communities; murder - disguised as martyrdom; the unwillingness to allow former Muslims to change their faith; honor killings; Taqiyya, the practice of telling lies to non-Muslim’s, which has in practice according to Hamid Enayat, a Muslim historian who was a Fellow of St Anthony's College Oxford, become the norm in public behaviour among all Muslims - both Sunni and Shi'a - whenever there is a conflict between faith and expediency. If Muslims wish to live in Europe or the USA they must abandon all these ideas. If they want to establish states where these rules apply, and can do so without oppression of minorities and with the consent of the people at free elections – all well and good, but they must not expect those who find these conditions abhorrent to want to trade with them, send them aid or admit their citizens except as refugees from oppression.

To dismiss these offences as tribal or cultural and exonerate Islam is to miss the point. Some people believe that Islam is missing the Reformation that took Christianity back to the New Testament in the fifteenth Century; on the contrary it is the current fundamentalists who are taking Islam closer to the Qu’ran. What Islam is missing is the Enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

Thought you might be interested in this:

Anonymous said...

Somebody I know says he has adopted what he claims was the feelings of Albert Einstein; 'There is no good war, and there is no bad peace.'

I wonder if the Jews in WWII being led to their deaths in Nazi Germany opposed the liberation of Europe and Germany by the Allies.

The Quakers can exist to exercise their freedom as long as others are willing to die to protect it.

Is it too much trouble to ask for a little thanks?