“Why the World is silent over the Christian Persecution”
Exhibition on Voices of Pakistani Christians
St. Bonifaz Church, Mainz Germany, August – September 2016
The Christians’ True Spirit Germany on the grave concerns of partners from interdenominational group of different congregations belonging to (ordinary) church members, deacons, ministers from catholic, evangelical (Lutheran and Reformed) congregations and from free churches in Goettingen, over the state of Christian Persecution in Pakistan organized an exhibition from 26 August to 24 September 2016 at St. Bonifaz Church, Mainz Germany.
In this connection Mr. Asher Sarfraz (Chief Executive CTS), Dr. Anette Graff (Member CTS Germany), Mr. Burkhard Schtmitz (Coordinator CTS Germany) and Ms. Katherine Sapna (Director CTS Pakistan and team made it possible to stage such kind of exhibition in order to aware the German church and public awareness over Christian persecution in Pakistan. Special thanks to Rev. Fr. Laurentius Hohn OP (Parish Priest St. Bonifiz Church) for his generosity to offer his Church for this exhibition as well as took well care of audience and the CTS team. After a few meetings, and discussions over the issue the German group of Churches agreeing to support the Christians’ True Spirit – CTS in high lighting the situation of persecuted church in Pakistan. The exhibition highlight dilemma of Christian persecution under the theme of “Why the world is silent over the Christian Persecution”. The exhibition well witnessed by 800 hundred audience including individuals, primary school children, teachers, religious, university students and all walks of life.
A following pictorial view of some activities during the exhibition:
Most important event during the exhibition
The exhibition was linked with an eve of “Nacht der Kirchen” (Night of Churches), ritually celebrate on 09, September 2016 in all over Germany. Prayer gathering assembled at St. Bonifaz Church, the worshipers recited prayers for Christian brethren in Pakistan.
Rev. Fr. Laurentius Hohn OP (Parish Priest St. Bonifaz Church Mainz)
Fr. Laurentius Hohn OP in his opening expressed grief concerns on the present situation of Christians in Pakistan. He stated that the Christian persecution over the world is a stark reality and the Christians are being targeted only because of faith. He further said that the Christians are facing injustice and suffering in Asian countries like Egypt, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan: they are victims of mob violence, forced removals and also facing social, political and economic discrimination. They are being killed, targeted, having their homes and churches confiscate or destroyed and being forced to flee for their lives and today are being subject to horrific religious persecution.
Ms. Ute Granold (Politician and City Mayor)
Ms. Ute Granold is a famous politician belongs to the Christian Democratic Union a political Party in Germany. She is a former member of the German Bundestag and she has also served as chairwoman of the Parliamentary Group in the committee on human rights and humanitarian Aid. Ute Granold is a lawyer by profession and part of the working groups of Christian Democratic Lawyers since 1990. Garnold is City Mayor of Mainz and talked about her own interaction with the Christian persecution and condemned the non- state actors for their coward attacks against innocent Christians in Pakistan. She appreciated the work of CTS and assured her full support and offered her volunteer services for the Christian asylum seekers in Germany.
Ms. Katherine Sapna (Director CTS)
Talking to the audience she said, “I come from Pakistan which is a country utterly blessed with beauty! I don’t just say it… it actually is. When we come to breathtaking landscapes and mind-blowing sceneries, Pakistan is absolutely matchless. Pakistan is as beautiful as Switzerland is, because it has very beautiful valleys in Kashmir, mountains in the northern Pakistan and deserts in Blochistan and much more. I can also say that Pakistan is the most stunning place on this planet, she added. Ms. Sapna further stated that Pakistan is a multi religious country populated with 191 million people including 3% of minorities. Two colors of Pakistani Flag also represent the same. The white, small part represents Christians and other minorities while the Green big part represent majority of Muslims in the country. At the time of foundation the name of Pakistan was “Democratic Republic of Pakistan” which should be a peaceful place and the people from all religions can do their religious things freely as they faith. Pakistan was British Colony and part of India and there were people who belong to multiple religions. That is why the blasphemy law was written in 1927, to bann insults directed against any religion. In 1973 General Zia-Ul Haq changed the name of state in to “Islamic Democratic Pakistan” and claimed that Islam is a “State Religion”. Since the time the religious Muslims, fanatics, extremists and militants groups were promoted, and Minorities are nothing in Pakistan. Zia-Ul Haq also modified the law to protect only Islam. This was the time when blasphemy and other discriminatory laws were amended and promoted by the religious Islamic groups in Pakistan.
Presently religious discrimination is a serious issue. Christians, Hindus and Ahmadia Muslims are routinely discriminated. They are at times refused jobs, loans, housing and other similar things simply because of their faith. Christian Churches, colonies and individuals are often attacked. She said, that Christians’ True Spirit – CTS painfully observe the sufferings after alleged incidents of blasphemy or any other alleged allegations related to the religion and always resulting inhuman mob violence, target killings, looting and burning the houses, worships places (churches) and holy books into fires etc which is alarming and it is a grave threat to the peace and security of the messes in Pakistan.
Katherine Sapna said that CTS is here; only representing the Christians persecution in Pakistan. We have experienced that the world is silent over the Christian persecution. We feel that all Christians are a part of the body of Jesus Christ. So we all should be aware of the sufferings of our brothers and sisters who live far away from us and we should feel the same pain. In the closing remarks she said that Christians’ True Spirit asks international brothers and sisters to pray for Peace in Pakistan. Pray for the Persecuted Christians and especially Asia Bibi and other blasphemy victims who are behind the bars, facing death sentence and life imprisonment. At the end she invited people to the exhibition and said that this beautiful evening you have chance to know a few stories of the persecuted Christians which are placed on the boards, you can see movies, hear audios and see the pictures and something from the culture to know about the Christian’s life in Pakistan.
Mr. Nadeem Anthony Advocate High Court (Legal Advisor CTS)
Mr. Anthony expressed grave concern over discriminatory legislation against Christians in Pakistan and discussed the condition of Asia Bibi and updates about her case appeal pending before the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan and will be fixed for regular hearing in second week of October 2016. He talked about victimization against Christians in the country and shared about day to day religious intolerance and violence in the name of religion. Since the creation of blasphemy laws, innocent people especially Christians falsely involved. The underage Christian girls are not only victims of rape but also of forced conversions and forced to marry with Muslim men. Asia Bibi is imprisoned in Women Jail Multan-Punjab Pakistan and waiting for her acquittal.
Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti Shaheed (martyr) Award
The Christians’ True Spirit – CTS took an initiative to announce Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti Shaheed (martyr) Award on the birthday of the great Christian Leader, President All Pakistan Minority Alliance (APMA) and former Federal Minister for Minority Affairs in Pakistan. He raised the voice against the Christian persecution especially helped Asia Bibi the victim of blasphemy which caused assassination of Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti Shaheed by his own body guard. This is the award in the recognition of courage and bravery of Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti Shaheed against the Christian persecution in Pakistan. The award was presented to Mr. Burkhard Schmitz, Coordinator CTS Germany and Dr. Anette Gräff by Rev. Fr. Laurentius Hohn OP, Ms. Katherine Sapna Director CTS and Mr. Asher Sarfraz Chief Executive CTS in the recognition of the courageous and brave work and for their volunteer services and passion to work to highlight Christian persecution in Pakistan. Mr. Burkhard Schmitz and Dr. Anette Gräff is the first recipient to receive this award by Christians’ True Spirit – CTS. The CTS will continue to present this award and encourage those who dedicated their lives to serve humanity. The CTS team also appreciates both the recipients for their extra ordinary services to help CTS for organizing this exhibition on Christian persecution in Mainz, Germany. The exhibition was visited by number of people; it was a source to realize the Christian persecution in Pakistan. Ms. Katherine Sapna closed the session with thanks to the participants and especially thanks to the St. Bonifaz Parish Mainz Germany for the cooperation and appreciated Rev. Fr. Laurentius OP for his day and night struggle to make this exhibition not only possible but successful.
CTS Team Pakistan