Pakistani Christians threatened: ‘convert to Islam or die’

Breaking News and Prayer

ASSIST News Service

May 12, 2007 – Post

PAKISTAN — Christian residents of Charsadda in the Northwest Province of Pakistan received a threatening letter with an ultimatum of 10 days to convert to Islam or face dire consequences and bomb explosions.

The deadline of the ultimatum expires on May 17, 2007. According to All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), copies of the letter are being distributed among the Christians in Charsadda, a town in NWFP where Islamic militants have a heavy presence and are attacking video, audio and barber shops.

APMA says the militants are harassing women to veil themselves and not to attend schools and threatening barber shops to stop shaving beards and mustaches. Charsadda is a town where Federal interior minister of Pakistan, Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, narrowly escaped a suicidal attack last month that killed 28 people and injured several.

More than 50 Christian families are residing in a Muslim Majority area of Charsadda. Police officials were informed about the letters and security is being stepped up.

An e-mail from APMA obtained by ANS says: “Over the past years, the influence of religious extremist groups has increased in NWFP and other parts of Pakistan. These pro Taliban extremists are committing violence in the name of religion to impose their own radical and Taliban style concept of Islam by force, which is worrisome particularly when these elements are taking law in to their own hands, blowing themselves as suicidal bombers and policing the society.”

APMA says the ultimatum has further aggravated the sense of insecurity and fear among the Christians of Charsadda as they are spending their days and nights in fear and many are thinking to vacate the area due to threats and possible attacks.

“Christians of Pakistan are already facing victimization and discrimination; many innocent Christians are incarcerated and killed and many become targets due to the misuse of blasphemy law by the extremist elements,” the organization says.

APMA also says: “Attacks on Churches, Christian schools and other institutions have been experienced by the Christians of Pakistan in the past few years and now the uprise of vigilante groups and the threats have further aggravated the situation. In these circumstances, the government is unable to control the violent activities of militant organizations in Pakistan or provide protection to its citizens. It is noteworthy that Northwest province is ruled by Muthaida Mjlis -e- Amal, MMA (Coalition of pro-Taliban Islamic parties).”

An APMA team visited Charsadda to express their solidarity with the Christians of the area and higher authorities are being informed and asked to increase the security measures and provide protection to the lives and properties of innocent Christians.

Christian residents of Charsadda told the APMA team that although they fear for their lives and are mindful that the militants can kill them, they trust God for their protection and cannot succumb to the demands of the Islamic militants.

APMA asks that concerned Christians kindly pray for the protection and safety of Christians of Charsadda, who continue to remain in siege but undefeated spiritually and continue to uphold their faith in these difficult times. Please also pray for government of Pakistan that God may provide them wisdom and courage to make sincere efforts to control the situation and violence.

From Islamabad, reports the same threatening letter was sent to Christian communities in Charsadda and Mardan, ordering the closure of churches and conversion to Islam within 10 days on pain of execution. The police are treating it as a joke. The bishop of Islamabad has expressed deep fear and called for the support of the government the world.

The AsisNews report says: “Convert to Islam within 10 days and shut down all the country’s churches: the ultimatum was delivered in a threatening letter that Muslim fundamentalists sent to Christian communities in Charsadda and Mardan, in northern Pakistan. If their orders are not obeyed, ‘all Christians will be executed.'”

AsiaNews says the letter was sent on May 7 to local churches, who immediately took it to the police. Feroz Shah, district inspector of Charsadda, said he had investigated the matter.

“For him,” says AsiaNews “‘it’s a ‘joke’, and so ‘there is no need to make any arrests’. Christians, he added, ‘are safe and well-protected in the area.'”

Mgr Anthony Lobo, bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, does not share the inspector’s view. He told AsiaNews: “This letter is not a joke, but a threat that needs to be taken seriously. It has left the Christian community of Pakistan very frightened. We have already appealed to higher powers in the country to ask for help and we will continue to do so.”

According to AsiaNews, the bishop said it was important “to understand that even jokes, if aimed at minorities, could become reality. Even if this letter is the work of an isolated madman, it’s possible that he may commit some atrocity against Christians.”

The bishop added: “Now we must pray, but we cannot stop at that. We have already protested against this situation of fear and uncertainty and we will continue to do so. In the meantime, I appeal to the world to help us in this dangerous struggle against fundamentalism.”

8 thoughts on “Pakistani Christians threatened: ‘convert to Islam or die’

  1. These morons are illiterate and ignorant. Their interpretation of Islam is to go and start living 1400 years back with no TV, VCR, DVD, Computers.

    This is not Islam. Islam commands to protect the minorities and their places of worship. Islam also teaches us that there is no compulsion in religion.

  2. How can they be ignorant to causing fear? It seems to me this is something intentional and evil…not illiterate and ignorant.

    Please tell me what you mean by “there is no compulsion in religion.”

    Thank you!

  3. The God has given every person the right to believe in Him or not to believe in him at all. They have corrupted the religion with introducing fabricated traditions (Hadiths – Oral Laws like Talmud) after the death of Prophet Muhammad.

    Did the God commanded to covert all the people of other religions? Absolutely not.

    Qur’an verse.
    2:256 Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. –

    Muslims are commanded not to get engage with unecessary arguments with Christians and Jews. Qur’an commandment is that God will be the judge on the day of judgement on things which they differ.

    29:46 And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).”

    People of books are Christians and Jews. Here I am with what commanded us to do without any disrespect to Christianity and Judaism.

    Actually they are ignorant and evil who do have any fear rejecting the message of Qur’an for the love of their beloved Imams who had corrupted Islam after Prophet Muhammad death.

  4. “Here I am with what commanded us to do without any disrespect to Christianity and Judaism.”

    Very interesting! If YOU are commanded so, why do millions of Muslims not feel the same calling? For those millions, nevermind simply not disrespecting…how about simply not hating? Can they do that? Not hate Christians and Jews?

  5. I am sorry you did not read my comments carefully. The problem with the majority of Sunnis and Shias (two main factions of Islam) is that 95% don’t know what is written in Qur’an. They recite Qur’an in Arabic without understanding the message of Qur’an. The majority of these Sectarian Muslims go and look in the books of Hadiths (Oral laws like Talmud) which is written mostly by Persians.

    Hatred is more political than religious. There are also hadiths (traditions) which promote and teach hatred.

    Also hatred is always two way process. There are Christian religious scholars and Jews Rabbis who teach and preach hatred against Islam and Muslims.

  6. If there are Christian religious scholars that preach hatred against Islam and Muslims I question whether those scholars are truly Christian. They may be labeled so, but the bad “fruits” they are showing by this hatred would most likely indicate that they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

  7. I do not have enough information to differentiate between different Muslim factions or what is a real Muslim or not. So, in that sense you are correct.

    I have no idea what any Muslims are being commanded by God to do. My belief is that Jesus is the door to God, so I believe that anyone not reaching out to Jesus is probably not getting any sort of commandments from God. Although I believe God can speak to anyone He choses, so I am not the final decider of who has a relationship with Him and who doesn’t.

    I can only witness what He wants to show me.

    Great discussion!

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