Moved by the inappropriate behaviour of some Christians in Pakistan, Brother Leighton Medley, Lead Outreach Officer for the British Pakistani Christian Association, has chosen to counter the demand of a truly misguided set of people in calling for the arrest and sentencing under the evil blasphemy laws of Pakistan, of Barrister Zafar Ullah. Brother Leighton was concerned how victim mentality has consumed many Pakistani Christians and has made them susceptible to the cultural norms in Pakistan including giving credence to the demonic blasphemy laws.
Barrister Zafar Ullah's comment
A letter by Joint Christian Action Committee (JCAC) Which has been promoted on social media, demands that a case should be registered under 295-C against Barrister Zaffar Ullah for the statement that has hurt the sentiments of the Christians.
Basharat Khokhar spokesman of JCAC while speaking to The Nation said, “Barrister Zaffar Ullah has hurt the sentiments of the Christian community and they demand an apology. Incase he does not apologies then blasphemy charges should be applied on him.”
He has submitted his letter to Abbpara Police station
Brother Leighton, wrote:
Yesterday, I was reading an article from Al Khaber news, that a barrister by the name of Zafar Ullah during a press conference in Islamabad, was trying to compare the persecution faced by Jesus, to that of his ally and friend, the current Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. Understandably so, Christians may be upset by this kind of statement, due to the fact that they are a persecuted minority in their own country, paying particular notice to the controversial blasphemy law in Pakistan, of which many Christians have fallen victim to and no doubt will do so in the future.
But upon hearing the reaction of certain Christian groups in Pakistan, that they are planning a nationwide protest in order to try and enforce their own version of a blasphemy law, fills me with concern. A concern that this sort of action could lead to further antagonism and violence between Muslim and Christian communities going forward. So what should our reaction be to this kind of statement, the answer will follow when we look at the attitude of our saviour, the Lord Jesus? Jesus said in Matthew 6:44 to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
We must understand that the Gospel today, is an offence to many people, this was true in Jesus` day. When we protest over statements such as these, we
must ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” Would He protest, did He incite nationwide rebellion against those who attacked Him, namely
the Pharisees? Many would answer that He certainly attacked the Pharisees (Matthew 24:13-39) verbally and He continually warned the people against their
teaching (Mark 8:15) and yes, there are numerous examples of His grave offence at the behaviour of certain religious people in Israel at that time. But
if He wanted nationwide protests, would He have been “led like a lamb to the slaughter, and a sheep before its shearers is silent, and so did not open
His mouth.” The answer to that is no. Jesus quietly in submission to His Father, went to the cross on our behalf, not to be a victim, but to be a conqueror.
When we protest at statements such as these by Zafar Ullah, I believe we are not loving our enemies. In fact, if I am to be honest, I do not think he was being particularly blasphemous in the sense that people believe. He was defending his friend, and yes I do believe that the comparison is perhaps not a good one, but we must understand, Mr Zafar Ullah has a different world-view to us and sees things through the eyes of a Muslim.
In one sense I am heartened to hear a Muslim speak of Jesus in this sense and recognise that He did in fact suffer, but as followers of Christ, we should be praying that his eyes may be opened further to the truth. By marching on the streets across the nation, is only in my opinion going to create further trouble for the Pakistan Christian community and actually fuel the heat of persecution leading to ironically, more blasphemy charges against Christians. This is not loving our enemies, but actually is inciting them to hurt us further... Read Brother Leighton's full response (click here)
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, spoke in support of Leighton's message. He said:
"I am totally flabbergasted that Christians in Pakistan can call for abrogation of the blasphemy laws of Pakistan and then react so viciously, calling for someone to be prosecuted under the same laws when they feel aggrieved. Have these Christian leaders learnt nothing from the violence and hatred they have suffered. What makes these particular 'leaders' any different from the Imams that they so often seek protection from?
"Calling for blasphemy charges to be laid against a Barrister for a fairly innocuous use of a analogy containing a description of the violence meted out to Jesus Christ, is a poor indictment of JCAC. The fact that the merest use of the name of Jesus Christ can enamour such vitriol and hatred is very disturbing and I will be praying for JCAC to stand down from their ridiculous and very polarizing actions. They certainly do not have the support of all Christians in Pakistan.
"This aggressive stance speaks volumes of the way in our scriptures are being misinterpreted in Pakistan. Which is the very reason why we have started our ministry and outreach vision in Pakistan. Some longstanding erroneous ideologies need to be removed and more focus needs to be placed on the true message of the gospel. Leighton returns to Pakistan in November and judging by the way things are in the homeland it would not be too soon."