Shamim sent this Christian activist editorial a few days ago. Due to other projects I am a bit behind in reading my email which includes writers and reporters submitting articles to this blog.
Due to finding out that Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi having yet another appeal from a death sentence due to a Blasphemy Law conviction, this editorial is extremely apropos. There are Muslim nations with a larger population of Christians than Pakistan and so the very limited American media coverage of Christian persecution almost always ignores the horrendous treatment of Christians in Pakistan. I would hazard to guess that Christians in Pakistan as a whole receive worse treatment than other Christians in Muslim dominated nations if for no other reason than being treated in a marginalized manner in the literalist Islamic tradition of dhimmitude.
Christian Struggle to Keep Faith
By Shamim Masih
Sent 10/15/2014 1:25 PM
ISLAMABAD: Yaqoob Masih, 50, begins his day before sunrise. He has been a Rawalpindi Development Authority – RDA employee for around the last 15 years. He and his wife rarely make [enough] to cover their residence and to deal with [the] livings for their 5 children.
Yaqoob Masih – Pakistani Christian Sanitation Worker
Pushing an overloaded wheelbarrow and gasping for breath, this individual rings a single doorbell [after another and] following one more to recover almost any [kind of] crap during the day. He separates plastic bottles, cardboards, material bits and other recyclable stuff in various chambers and bags dangling from his trolley.
He has not enrolled his children in school, the eldest [child] is free to look after the younger ones while both parents are away at work. He feels extremely guilty about not being able to send his children to school. He said with a melancholy look on his tired face that sometimes I am asked to work on Sundays due to [the] shortage of sanitary workers but he cannot afford to leave his job.
Pakistan came into being as a homeland for Muslims, at the time of partition, most of the Hindus fled to India. A small remnant stayed on here, hoping to continue to live peacefully as before. But the Christians remained here by their own will. But now they become isolated and neglected in [the] Muslims’ country. Coming mainly from the lowest strata of the social order, they have been increasingly marginalized and isolated, their privileges withdrawn. A devastating blow was struck when the government nationalized many of the Christian colleges and schools in early 70s. Thus Christians were left with few opportunities for education or progress in the modern world.
A minority in a Muslim homeland, they’re demonized and barred from equal opportunities. Although no official statistics are available but half of the Christians in Pakistan are below the age of [their] 20s and most of them have no access to an education. The pressure of extreme poverty forces many families to send their children to work to bring in any small amount of money to feed the family. Children, some even below the age of 10, work with their parents in the brick kilns and other parental jobs. Pakistani Christians of this segment are open to severe exploitation, and many end up unemployed, become drug addicts or are abused in the sex trade and start illegal alcohol selling. Many Christians live in villages or in city slums, where they live together largely for their own security. Thus the environment becomes extremely unsafe and socially hazardous. The growing menace of drug abuse has rendered the streets of slums extremely vulnerable for growing children.
Minorities should not be limited to sanitary duties; they deserve to be given equal rights and proportionate employment in various government and semi-government departments. They have been facing forced conversions, arson attacks, enforced displacements, blasphemy allegations, attacks on worship places and killings at the hands of religious extremists for many years. And still Pakistani children are taught that Jews are tightfisted moneylenders and Christian’s vengeful conquerors – all in textbooks approved by the administration. There are blasphemy laws, which carry a penalty of life imprisonment and even death – often without evidence or penalty for false accusations. We now have military generals who are Christian. Still, minority religions face inordinate dangers.
Human Rights Activist
For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending this LINK to a Western Union agent in Islamabad. Include Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560
Edited by John R. Houk
All text enclosed by brackets are by the Editor.
© Shamim Masih