Our vision is to create a network of Pakistanis united in Christ, focused on better quality of life, fellowship and religious freedom for Christians in Pakistan and the UK.
In the last week or two we have had several official moments of silence for victims of Islamic extremism, first for the victims in Tunisia, then the 10th anniversary of the 7-7 attacks. However, for most of us, the memory is fading, the news headlines taken over by various other issues. But of course, extremism hasn’t gone away. View ITV London footage of BPCA Lee Rigby concert (click here)
There are many victims of such extremism, including fellow Muslims, but Christians tend to bear a great deal of the hatred and violence because they are a rival major missionary religion, and because they are seen to be adherents of a Western religion (falsely, of course, since Christianity was born in the Middle East, even though until recently, and perhaps arguably still, its main power centre has been Europe and the West). So, if you are, say, a Pakistani outraged at some event involving the West, you might not be able to strike the powerful ‘far enemy’, but you can avenge yourself on the satisfactorily handy and vulnerable ‘near enemy’ instead, because they are part of the ‘same’ enemy.
If you read of a Boko Haram or tribal attack in Nigeria against a school or village in the news, what is often not stated in Western news is that the target will more than likely be Christian. Similarly, al-Shabab targets Christians in Kenya, and ISIS are devastating the already devastated Christian communities of Iraq and Syria. Then there is much both here and abroad that doesn’t even make the news, whether it is the ongoing persecution of Christians in Pakistan, or attacks on Christian refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and the West, attacks on churches, Christian graveyards and Christian crosses across Europe, or attempts to cause huge casualties by bombing an Easter service in Indonesia (supposedly a ‘moderate’ Islamic country). In the latter instance, a 4000 strong church in a major city was targeted. The only reason it wasn’t on the news, is due to a dream one of the church leaders had the night before, in which he saw where the bomb was. He acted on it, called in the security services, and they found the bomb exactly where it was in his dream. What was perhaps even more chilling was the security services also later found that in buildings all around the church, video cameras had been set up, ready to record and broadcast the massacre to eager (or not so eager) audiences around the world. Instead, there was an unintended result. As news got out of exactly what happened, within a week the congregation doubled to 8000, as many Muslims responded to the evident supernatural protection by converting. (Whilst less dramatic, there is at least one UK church which has it’s building by a similar supernatural dream in which a church leader was shown what the Muslim leaders also bidding for an abandoned church building were going to offer.)
Occasionally, Christians suffering here in the UK or Europe will make the news. Converting from Islam especially attracts ire, and in every branch of Islamic law should be punished by death, certainly for males, and usually for females. Some experts suggest that about a third of so-called ‘honour-killings’ in the UK are the killing of relatives who have converted from Islam, nearly always to Christianity. The problem is large enough that some Christian groups have felt the need to set up networks of safehouses for such converts, or those fleeing from forced marriages. Although those involved are naturally secretive and security conscious, this fact has made the news in the last year. Another example that has made the news is Nissar Hussain, a convert to Christianity who, along with his wife and children, has faced 19 years of near continuous persecution in the Bradford area. He has repeatedly had his cars smashed (a tactic also used in Birmingham, according to BPCA’s contacts there), his house windows smashed, and arson attacks on a neighbouring empty house to try and burn his down, resulting in at least one house move. This is on top of daily intimidation, resulting in PTSD, huge stress and anxiety, as well as grave financial implications. When his new MP came in, he wrote a public letter, describing his suffering and the police response, summed up by one sergeant who told him ‘Stop trying to be a crusader and move out!’ Hence his concluding plea to the MP: ‘I cannot express in words the Police failure over the years which has led to our suffering and have no confidence in them whatsoever and am desperate for your help.’ You can read the open letter from Nissar Hussain at http://www.raymondibrahim.com/muslim-persecution-of-christians/uk-muslim-convert-to-christianity-persecuted-for-19-years/ .
You don’t have to be a convert, though, to face rough treatment from Islamicists. When a British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) researcher visited Birmingham last year, he listened as Asian Christians told of no-go areas in the city. They were afraid: ‘We know they are going to start targeting our children next’, they said. Many of them were from Pakistan, where Christian children face intense pressure in many schools to convert to Islam. BPCA also reports that one Christian family who had to flee for their lives from Pakistan after blasphemy charges were laid against one of their schoolboy sons, reported that within a few weeks of getting out of the asylum system and into council housing in Birmingham, they faced false accusations and physical attacks just like they would back in Pakistan. They were originally housed in a flat in an Asian area, opposite a mosque. Several weeks after they arrived, there was a knock on the door, and they were told that, since they were from Pakistan, they would be required to attend the mosque for at least one service a week. When they replied that they were Christians, they were asked if they were converts. They replied that no, both the parents families had been Christians for several generations. Soon after, there was another knock on the door, and the encounter was chilling. ‘How dare your wife desecrate our holy mosque? We have video proof!’ The pole outside the mosque was the designated rubbish collection for businesses on the street. The video showed a Muslim woman in a headscarf placing rubbish at this point. The Muslims wanted this Christian family out, and they called in the Muslim landlord, who to his credit told the accusers they were talking rubbish – it was clearly another woman in the video. However, he didn’t want to get the police involved. However, the next day, there was another knock at the door, and the father went to answer it. He opened it to be faced with drawn knives and punches, and had to flee to a nearby shop. The council moved the family, and they are happier where they are, but the fact that they faced exactly the same kind of attacks in the UK as they had in Pakistan has deeply shaken them.
Birmingham, of course, was also the scene of the now infamous ‘Trojan Horse’ plot to take over schools. There have been reports of such activity for several decades, but it had all been swept under the multi-cultural rug, with at least one headteacher who raised the alarm being slammed and evicted from their post. When the government sent in Ofsted to investigate, their findings were quite chilling, with taxpayers money in one case being used to build a religious educational facility in Pakistan, and those don’t usually come in any form that could reasonably called moderate. There was intimidation of targeted heads and governors resulting in a number being forced out of their jobs or otherwise marginalised, curriculum changes to conform to an extreme form of Islam, and in at least one case, the appointment of ‘religious police’ amongst the students to report any behaviour deemed ‘un-Islamic’, including behaviour of their own teachers and other staff. Inspectors described ‘madrassah curriculum’ (madrassah are the religious Islamic schools of Pakistan), and former staff reported fellow teachers publicly praising terrorists and describing the US as the ‘source of all evil in the world’. Teenage pupils' mobiles were taken and broken into to find evidence of ‘inappropriate relationships’, resulting in one girl being suspended. In another, non-Muslim staff were banned from assemblies where children were told that white women are ‘prostitutes’, and led in anti-Christian chants. One primary school head said homosexuals should be executed, and books in the school promoted stoning, lashings and the like. Sharia law was introduced, and children told that if they didn’t pray, they would go to hell; girls were told that refusing sex to husbands would result in prolonged punishment by angels. Christians and Jews were described as ‘ignorant’ and Christians were ‘all liars’. Similar things have been reported in schools in a number of other UK cities.
It is not just Pakistani Christians who are concerned, however. Christians from Middle Eastern countries also express shock and dismay at the situation in this country (in fact some prominent bishops in the Middle East have publicly warned the West that what they face in their countries will come to Europe soon). For instance, Palestinian Christians who have had to flee for their lives from the West Bank have expressed shock at the place we give Islamic extremism in our society (and at the Church of England’s unstinting support of charities which make the problems in their homeland worse, not better, but that’s another story). They warn that that at least some of what are seen as ‘moderate Muslim’ groups who the government turns to for advice are anything but, a concern echoed by some security experts, who are concerned that there is a deliberate tactic to play the diversity and Islamophobia card until the time is right for a change of tactics. (Just as I am writing this, one instance of this is making the national press – an Islamic extremist preacher who taught that Islamic State is no different to Western armies is in a position of advisor to the police on countering extremism and radicalism). One concern is the Egyptian group Muslim Brotherhood, whose tactics in the West are generally to infiltrate and take over from the inside, and are well-funded and very adept at disguising themselves behind a mass of small and benign sounding front groups designed to appear innocuous. At least one church in the UK has been advised by the police to take down signs designating them a ‘House of Prayer’ during Ramadan this year. That strongly suggests that we are far further down the road to at least a significantly sharia-tinged society than we might think, and significantly sharia-tinged societies are unlikely to stay at that level for long. We may delude ourselves about being prudent, or diverse, but the reality is rather different to the warm fuzzy soothing of relativistic multi-culturalism.
Additionally, there has been at least one Christian activist in the UK who has recently mentioned being on public transport and seeing a young Muslim woman take out her mobile and start filming the crowded conveyance, and seeming to stop and take photographs of him and one other individual. They didn’t go to the police; ‘It could have been something for an art project and just a coincidence, I suppose, but whatever the reason, it was nonchalantly and brazenly done with smiling face. Even if it was indeed entirely innocent, it was a reminder of how someone could play on Islamophobia – if I had challenged them, they could have played that card so easily’.
That raises an issue, though. Warning about this kind of thing is often the realm of far-right groups, and surely there is a problem with Islamophobia? BPCA chairman Wilson Chowdhry has told of how members of his own wider family, Christian children born in the UK, have been told to go back to ‘go back home, you ..... Paki Muslims’ on the bus. One of his team, a bearded white Christian who sometimes used to dress Asian, is sympathetic to such fears, since he was seen by many as a convert to Islam, and said it was frightening about the time of Lee Rigby’s murder, with people ‘approaching me and asking me what I was doing, was I looking for Lee Rigby, shouting from cars, or skinheads muttering darkly in train stations.’ However, he also points out that there is a well-oiled machine in some Muslim circles to exaggerate and leverage such genuine fears and incidents into gaining more power in society and more special protections for Muslims by using the British sense of fair-play and the diversity doctrine / victimhood card. He also pointed out that whilst incidents of attacks on Muslims do rise somewhat after events such as the Tunisia attacks, anti-semitic attacks and incidents are at a far higher level proportionally, and rising, and it often comes from within the Muslim community, not just in the UK, but across Europe. Recently a Jewish reporter dressed openly as a Jew and toured several cities across Europe filmed with a secret camera, and the worst treatment he got was in Manchester and Bradford.
The interplay of liberal cries of ‘Islamophobia’ and the need to be seen to be ‘balanced’ in a culture where extreme secularism and humanist agendas have increasing traction can lead to unexpected outcomes. For instance, in the world of multicultural orthodoxy, no religion should be seen as worse than another, so after the Ofsted inspections and enquiries into the Birmingham ‘Trojan Horse schools’ last year, when half a dozen were put into special measures, and a dozen more severely criticized, it was evidently deemed that to show an ‘even hand’, Christian schools should be similarly targeted and ‘exposed’ as being against the much vaunted ‘British values’. Ofsted chose to target two Christian schools in the North East, with one shutting, and the other escaping that fate by a whisker only after furious media and political campaigning by its governors and an absolutely united and outraged parental body. The parents, down to the last man and woman completely rejected the report as being without a single word of truth. The tactics employed were horrific, with the schools needing to appoint someone to look after the psychological welfare of the children as a result. It was blatantly obvious that there was a definite agenda, a result that had to be reached, and children were pounded with questions like in a police interview until they gave the required type of answer. Many children rushed to the toilets in tears and called their parents to get them out of there. We talked to one BPCA supporter in the area who knew families with children in both schools, who claimed that the media didn’t report the half of what went on, and that many teachers and educational workers in the area from other schools were appalled at what had transpired.
If we are talking about the effect of overriding concern for ‘community cohesion’ and avoiding ‘Islamophobia’, then the recent scandal over the grooming of largely white girls by largely Pakistani gangs of paedophiles in several cities can’t be avoided. Oxford and the Northwest are the ones that have made the headlines, but there have been and doubtless still are, others. What is clear is that it was too much swept under the carpet. Factors such as the ‘omarta’ silence of the honour-shame culture in the Pakistani community, or the disenfranchisement of second generation immigrants caught between cultures have all been blamed, but could a form of extremism have something to do with it? BPCA researchers noted that there is a huge level of rape and sexual harassment of Christian and Hindu females down to age 7 and younger, in Pakistan. On average, something like two a day from each community are not just raped, but kidnapped, raped, forced to convert and marry their rapists or sold as sex slaves or bartered brides. In a couple of cases, girls as young as two have been raped when their parents refused to convert to Islam. ‘That just cannot be a coincidence’ said one researcher, ‘There has to be a link of some sort, direct or otherwise.’ ‘Trojan Horse’ schools calling white / Christian women ‘prostitutes’, provides one way in which the attitudes of Pakistan are translated into the UK environment.
More generally, senior security and intelligence officials have gone on record saying it is only a matter of time before they miss a plot and an attack gets through. The BPCA understands that there has already been at least one attempt at a major attack on a UK church that has been thwarted in recent months. But what is causing all of this violence? Is it grievances against the West for bombings in the Middle East and the like, as so many claim? That will doubtless have an impact, but it is important not to give too much weight to this factor, which too many in the so-called ‘chattering classes’ do. Raymond Ibrahim, a Christian whose family is from Egypt, is something of an expert. He notes that often Islamic leaders have one message for the West and another for their ‘home crowd’. For instance, Al-Qaeda propaganda frequently cited things like the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia as justification for their campaign of violence, but when Ibrahim got hold of copies of their internal documents, it was quite clear this was just subterfuge to play on the West’s weakness of fearing to be seen as imperialistic or against the underdog. They were going to do it regardless, even had the American troops left. He also notes that when Islam operates from a position of weakness, it preaches peace, but when it gains more and more power in a society, it starts to practice war and violent enforcement. He documents this pattern throughout history, right back to the time of the founder of Islam, noting that often the first victims will be those Muslims who genuinely could be described as ‘moderate’. Radical preachers will push them out of leadership in mosques and so on. A number of experts say that one of the reasons IS is gaining such support is because it can justify pretty much all its actions and tactics from the Islamic holy book and the Hadith and the life of Muhammad. But on the other hand, the same violence is why increasingly large numbers of Middle Eastern Muslims in the affected areas and beyond are starting to question their religion and look to other faiths, primarily Christianity, including from within ISIS itself, with recent reports that even one ISIS religious teacher of Jihad was asking for bibles. One western Christian who recently visited the Kurds in Iraq reported, among other things, that handing out bibles on SD cards to Kurdish soldiers was ‘like handing out candy to kids’.
So what can people do? Well, for a start, people who have stayed silent can start raising the issue, even in the inevitable accusations of Islamophobia from not just Muslims, but from certain political movements, because the threat is very, very real, and burying our collective heads in the sand will not make the problem go away, and in fact will worsen the situation. It must be faced firmly and steadfastly. Lemming-like surrender in the name of political correctness and diversity is societal suicide. When we have a situation like we do, where certain groups of Muslims will march proclaiming publicly ‘This town is ours’ or ‘British soldiers, go to hell’ (Luton) and intimidating local newspaper editors for the un-Islamic sin of describing the Islamic sect the Ahmahdi as ‘Muslim’ (also Luton) then we need to face up to the fact that in essence we are already at the stage of forced compliance starting in some places. Dulled by the narcotics of ‘multiculturalism’ and the ‘boiled frog’ syndrome, we run the very grave risk of awaking only when it is too late, if indeed we haven’t already reached that point. It’s almost certainly even worse in much of Europe, with violence against Catholic churches and children in Italy, and even reports of Islamic roadblocks in one French city (Marseille). There is a reason why so many Jews are desperately fleeing countries such as France and Belgium. As has often been noted, they are like a weathervane, or the canary in the mine, and we should pay close attention. (Some will point out that calls to boycott goods and businesses, such as we see today in the BDS movement, is exactly how the road to the Holocaust started).
Talking to MPs and the like could also help, as will emphasising how significant the issue is to church leaders – they will already be aware of it to some extent, but may need reminders in all the 'busyness' of looking after their flocks. Talking to Christians in this country who have come from Muslim nations, and supporting them is also a good step to take. Most cities and towns will have them, whether it is Iranians, Egyptians, Pakistanis or Eritreans, or others. People need to be alert that church members from these nations can be targeted, even by the security services of their own country. There has been at least one case in recent years where Iranian agents have successfully pretended to be British Christians visiting a church and exposed Christians back in Iran to great danger. There are also unconfirmed reports that the intelligence service of at least one Muslim nation is actively spreading disinformation about the treatment of Christians in their nation into the immigration and asylum systems of Western nations, including the UK. For Christians, if nothing else, there is a spiritual self-interest in helping such Christians, because Jesus said in Matthew 25 that one of the criteria on judgement day will be how you have helped suffering brothers and sisters. Christians in Muslim nations are often discriminated against in the asylum process in practice. For instance, the US is pressing ahead with taking in Sunni Syrian refugees, but Christian Syrian refugees....? Practical advantages in favouring Christian refugees (note, not to the exclusion of others) is security and (especially important in these days of austerity and economic pressure) cost. It will cost less to vet them, they traditionally have integrated very well into host countries, and with their experience and knowledge, they can provide alerts about extremism due to their deep experience of it in their homelands. These are points that you can raise with MPs and government ministers in support of a change in policy to remove the discriminatory roadblocks against vulnerable Christians accessing safety in the West. In a number of Muslim countries, Christian pastors report that quite often their persecutors seem to easily gain access to the West, sometimes by claiming asylum, but Christians do not, they are turned away. So much for ‘overcoming barriers to diversity and inclusion’!
On a more global stage, there is at least one other issue you can raise. By far and away the largest recipient of UK aid is Pakistan, with a significant part of that meant for a literacy drive. Aside from the usual corruption issues involved in such aid, there is also the question of why we should spend money funding literacy in a state where even government schools have textbooks that severely denigrate and defame the religion and role of their minority-faith citizens, such as Hindus and Christians, without effectively using that funding to leverage changes. If so-called ‘British values’ are to be enforced so vigorously at home, surely a smidgeon of that zeal should be applied to tax-payer funded projects abroad, or does that only apply to sexuality issues in Africa? There are evidently significant double standards at play here.
Speaking out is a must, and not being cowed by a culture dominated by a cultural and moral relativism that would rather cling to conformist factoids to
than to confront hard facts. What does the future hold? We don’t know for sure. There is a reason why most of the BPCA researchers
quoted in this article are not named. There is the line that gets quoted all the time, but it is very applicable in this case: ‘All it takes
for evil to triumph, is for good men to remain silent’.
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