Time to break our silence for the persecuted Christians

Nasir Saeed

Muslims everywhere continue to protest to show solidarity with Gazans on religious grounds. Recently British foreign minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi resigned from her ministerial post, in protest of the government’s policies related to Gaza and she is being praised by her Muslim fellows especially by the Pakistani Muslims.

It is being said that she has returned to her roots, when in fact she never separated from them and she has always sided with Muslims and Pakistan. This is a dilemma faced by almost every Pakistani British politician, they receive votes from the English and Pakistani alike, but mostly speak for Pakistan’s issues as they are proxy representative of Pakistan, like Sajjad Karim, MEP. He was elected by English voters, but he worked day and night to get Pakistan GSP plus status and in return he got an honorary doctorate. Lady Warsi’s interview and stories are all over the English and Urdu newspapers, but she is getting special coverage in Pakistani media and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that she has become a hero for Pakistanis. Muslim Mayor Lutaf ur Rehman had hoisted up the Palestinian flag on Tower Hamlet’s town hall to show solidarity with them. Without going into the argument of what is wrong or right, one thing I must admit and appreciate is that they are standing boldly with their Muslims brothers and sisters and without care of the repercussions. They have no hesitation to be identified as Muslims and  have shown the courage which  we (Christians leadership)  don’t have.

Last year in a lecture at Georgetown University in Washington Lady Warsi said that Christians in some parts of the world face extinction because of violence against them. But who are the perpetrators? She also told the BBC that this “persecution” has become a global crisis but I don’t remember if she has done anything to stop this ongoing persecution.

Christians are in the majority and much more powerful than anyone else, but how many times have we been be able to demonstrate such a courage or show solidarity for Christians in the Middle-East, Pakistan and especially in Iraq, who are being tortured, killed, thrown out of their cities, houses and churches. Christian girls are being kidnaped and enslaved, and now they are being given a choice of converting to Islam, paying a Jazya (tax), or leaving the country. What a battle to be a Christian in Muslim counties. It has proved that Christians have no future in any Muslim country, it is painful reality, they are being exterminated and we are silent. 

The media continues to publish stories of our brothers and sisters’ persecution, of their helplessness, but we read them just like any other news and forget it. These news fail to provoke us and to make us think of any appropriate action, despite them relying on us. They are screaming and calling out to us for help, but we have lead in our ears. What is wrong with us? Do we still believe that we are all one body in Christ, and if we do, then why are we not crying with pain? How can we continue with our regular lives? Why are we are not sad, why are our eyes still dry, why are we failing to show solidarity with them? What is holding us back, why can we not free ourselves from all the trepidations and stand with those who need us? Showing solidarity with them should be our priority.

We are living in a Christian country and almost all political parties have their own Christian groups, and apart from this, there is a Christians in Parliament (CIP) parliamentarian group. Christians like me have a lot of expectations from them, but it is hopeless. Their silence is beyond my understanding. Are all these politicians and powerful people the victims of the political correctness, which I have never understood? What message we are sending to those Christians being persecuted in other parts of the world and looking towards us.

Are they saying that although they are Christians, they are going to do nothing for them because they are not British, EU or Americans.

God’s sake, let us not abandon them  in these difficult times, but remember and help them when they need us most – this is what the Bible teaches us. This is the time to support them, comfort them, to be with them. 

I am from Pakistan – an overwhelmingly Muslim county. I know what it is like to be a Christian in Muslim country. I can easily understand their situation in the Middle East. Therefore I cannot be silent anymore. I believe that if I remain silent then I have no right to call myself Christian, a follower of Christ. And moreover, I will be counted with persecutors and before I am counted with them, I am breaking my silence to raise myself in my own eyes. You can do this in your own way. I am further thinking of which party I should vote for in the next general election, who will do the most to support persecuted Christians?

You may think I am an emotional person but it is natural because all Asian Christians are emotional – religion comes first for them. I don’t know about Middle Eastern and other non-white Christians, but I know all non-white Christians have a lot of expectations from the British white Christians.  If we get upset and disappointed over this silence, it can be costly in the next election.

Lady Warsi has already said the Tories won’t win a majority in 2015 if they ignore ethnic minorities. When she says ethnic minorities she means Muslims, and more precisely Pakistani Muslims, which are only 1.2 million. But Christians can really make a difference, so I call out to politicians and  Mr. David Cameron to break their silence, because just saying that Britain is a Christian country is not enough, it has to be demonstrated. 

Also prayers are important in such a difficult time, for consolation, for their protection. But this not enough, something practical is very important. Even though Christians are under attack worldwide, more than any other religion, they are steadfast in their faith. Even new people are constantly coming to Christ. This means we will see more persecution in the coming years. How we are going to respond and challenge it? 

We need to understand our responsibilities and play our role. The international community needs to make sure that freedom of religion and belief is fully granted to every citizen, especially in those countries that have signed the universal declaration of human rights and have signed international treaties in this regard. 

The former head of the Australian army, Peter Leahy, has warned that Australia needs to prepare for an increasingly savage, 100-year war against radical Islam that will be fought on home soil as well as foreign lands.  This means we must be ready to see more persecution of our brothers and sisters in foreign lands and especially in the Muslim countries. 

I am glad that things have started moving  and some church leaders have responded to the cry of our brothers and sisters, and have written to the government and have also asked to mark Sunday 10th August as a prayer day for the Iraqi persecuted Christians. I can witness that Asian churches have also prayed for the Iraqi Christians because they know the taste of being persecuted.

However, unfortunately this is not enough. We have to build maximum pressure on our governments and force them to break their silence and open their doors for the persecuted Christians, so they can find peace and comfort, live without fear of persecution, and practice their religion fearlessly and freely. 

 

 

 

Advertisements