The longer, the deeper

This from the Barnabas Fund:

An influential Islamic political party has called for Pakistan’s Supreme Court to ban the Bible describing it as “pornographic”, “blasphemous”, and offensive to Muslims.

A leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam or the JUI-S party, Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi, made the appeal at a press conference at a mosque in Lahore on 30 May. The JUI party, whose name means “an Assembly of Islamic Clergy”, is represented in the lower house of Pakistan’s parliament.

Nor is this persecution of Christians confined to Pakistan: it is rife throughout the Islamic world. Evidence abounds of a major intersection for Christianity in western Asia and northern Africa. This from Iraq (again courtesy of the Barnabas Fund):

The Christian community in Iraq is living in fear following the brutal murder of another believer. . . .

Christians in Iraq are said to be living in tension and fear as their community continues to be targeted by kidnappers and murderers. A senior Iraqi Church leader said that since Jacob’s death, more Christians had said that they wanted to emigrate, but that this was difficult because of the political crisis and uncertainty in neighbouring countries such as Syria, where Christians have historically been welcomed as refugees.

The issue is very alive in Indonesia, too. Benedict Rogers is East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights organization based in London. In the  Wall Street Journal, 8 June 2011,  he asked: “Could Indonesia ‘Pakistanize’?” He concentrated less on Christians than on “Indonesia’s Ahmadiyya community, a Muslim sect regarded by other Muslims as heretical”. But the point was the same.

The rise of militant Islam has caused some in Indonesia to warn of “Pakistanization.” As a term to describe Indonesia today it is an exaggeration, but as a warning of what may come if action is not taken, it is valid. Pakistan’s path to extremism accelerated when the Ahmadiyya were banned in 1984; their treatment is a barometer of tolerance in a Muslim society.




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