Tag Archives: God

Kidnapping of Pakistani teenagers, conversion sparking Christian protests | Instant News


A teenage Christian girl was kidnapped and forced to marry her Muslim kidnappers in the port city of Karachi, Pakistan, her family said.

19 Oct 2020

KARACHI: A teenage Christian girl was kidnapped and forced to marry her Muslim kidnappers in the port city of Karachi, Pakistan, her family said.

A local Muslim man is accused of kidnapping 13-year-old Arzoo Masih while he was playing outside his home in Sts Parish. Antonius Karachi. The Catholic girl is the youngest of four children in her family.

Arzoo’s mother, Rita Masih, said she and her husband were at work on October 13 when they received a phone call from close relatives that Arzoo was missing.

The family immediately filed a kidnapping complaint with the police. This crime is punishable by death or long imprisonment in Pakistan.

However, on October 15, police summoned the family to the office where they were given a marriage certificate claiming Arzoo was 18 and willing to convert to Islam after marrying Ali Azhar, a local Muslim.

Raja Lal Masih, Arzoo’s father, said he was “very concerned” for his daughter’s safety. He wants the authorities to track him down and take him home.

Still said that Arzoo was under the age of marriage under Pakistani law. “At 13 years old, he is too young to marry,” he said.

“We have informed church authorities about what has happened and are asking for help. We are grateful to the National Commission for Justice and Peace for its willingness to help initiate the legal process,” he said.

Shabbir Shafqat, president of the National Christian Party, condemned the conversion and forced marriage of a minor.

“Forced conversion has become the main tool for the persecution of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan. We must unite against the kidnapping of Arzoo,” he added.

In March this year, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called on the Sindh provincial government to make the forced conversion of minority girls illegal.

Forced conversion “is too easy and too often disguised as voluntary conversion, leaving little girls especially vulnerable,” the commission said on March 22 after the forced conversion of two Hindu girls.

“The bad reality of forced conversions is that they are not seen as a crime, much less as an issue that should be of concern to ‘mainstream’ [Muslim] Pakistan, “said the commission.

The bill against forced conversion introduced in 2016 at the Sindh Provincial Assembly has not yet been passed, the commission said, adding the Sindh government had bowed to pressure from Islamic religious parties who objected to the bill.

He asked the panel to review and pass the bill without giving in to “any individual or party who objects to its content or the spirit that underlies it,” the commission added.––ucanews.com

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Black Orthodox Jewish Fashion Designer | Instant News


Elisheva Rishon’s design empowerment reflects her experience as a Black Orthodox Jew.

“One of my best sellers is the ‘Hashem love you’ T-shirt,” explained Elisheva Rishon, a Modern Orthodox Jewish fashion designer behind Eli7 Designs. “And that is very good. It tells me that people not only want to feel loved, but also to tell others that they are loved,” he explained. “I didn’t make a shirt that said ‘Hashem loves me’ because it was selfish – I make ‘Hashem love you’ to make others feel good. “

Launched in 2019, Eli7 Designs showcases clothing and accessories with slogans designed to help people feel good about their identity and uplifted. Elisheva was inspired by her own life experience as a Black Orthodox Jewish woman and as a millennial who had spent a lifetime nurturing her spirituality.

Feeling positive about herself is not an emotion that Elisheva often feels grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community in New York where she was often ridiculed and insulted because of the color of her skin. “My childhood was difficult,” he explained in an exclusive Aish.com interview recently.

Elisheva and her four siblings grew up in a tight Jewish community in Brooklyn in the 1990s and early 2000s. His father was African-American and converted to Orthodox Judaism; his black mother grew up in a traditional Jewish house and became religious when he grew up. Elisheva had noticed because of her black traits that people often asked about her own bloodline, always suspecting that she was not really Jewish. “My mother’s family has been back for years – people always ask.” It was just one of many insults he had received over the years.

“When I was a child I didn’t realize that the whole world was not Jewish,” he recalled. He also did not see the difference in skin color between him and his friends. He and his brothers loved everything about being Jewish. They will spend hours singing Jewish songs, pretending to pray from a Siddur, and say Shabbat shalom to whoever he sees.

Elisheva was eight years old when she realized for the first time that some people saw her differently because of the color of her skin. At Shabbat, many children in his synagogue used to go out to play together while their parents prayed inside. One day, a group of girls refused to play ball with him. When Elisheva asked why they told her that she was “dirty”. Elisheva was confused: she was not dirty, he explained. Instead, he wore the most beautiful Shabbat clothes. He even just washed his hands. The children tell him that he is “dirty” because he is black and runs away laughing.

That moment is a turning point. Elisheva remembers going home and seeing herself in the mirror, her self-esteem dropped. It was still a painful incident that he remembered clearly today.

There is another insult. He remembers attending Shabbaton when a synagogue janitor refused to let him in. He insisted he could not become a Jew, despite the fact that Elisheva was clearly all dressed and ready for Shabbat. What hurts the most is the fact that while his friends sympathize with him afterwards, no one is brave enough to help him at this time. “People sometimes come to me twenty minutes later after an anti-black racist incident happens and say ‘wow that’s crazy’, but it hurts, no one intervenes when it happens.” Elisheva explained that the hats that he and other Black Jews – or anyone who were targeted and were told were not part of – needed not so much sympathy after the fact, but for people to defend them when they were insulted or humiliated or made to feel out of place.

When Elisheva was nineteen, she entered a “dating scene”, contacting a matchmaker to help her find a man to date. That process makes it a little more painful. His matchmaker insisted on setting him up with a much older man who had serious luggage. After one very dangerous date, Elisheva was confronted by a matchmaker who said it bluntly: because he was black, he could not hope to be treated like any other Jew. Elisheva withdrew from the dating scene.

One of the ways Elisheva handled racism she faced was through fashion. “Fashion is a way to express yourself. Through my clothes, I can turn negative to positive at a very young age. “He developed a talent for putting clothes together and noticed that people seemed to be attracted to him because of his clothes. “I would wear gloves in the 1920s, or a hat, or mix and match patterns and people would comment ‘wow I like that, where did you get it?’ Fashion attracts them to say something besides my skin color. “

He also noticed that fashion can change people’s moods and make them feel happy. “I just want them to be happy,” he explained.

When Elisheva enrolled at Brooklyn College to study history, she began to feel good about her performance for the first time in her life. “A student once commented that I have ‘beautiful Nubian princess skin.'” He did not know what that meant and had to look for it. That means Black in a beautiful way. “I began to see myself in a different light,” he recalled. It was the first time he was praised for his dark skin.

In 2019, Elisheva launched its own brand, Eli7 Designs. He had an idea for the name of his company since childhood. By that time, he had moved to Los Angeles and his clothes and accessories were relaxed. He designs shirts with slogans like “Gam Zu L’Tova“In Hebrew, which means” Everything is for the Good “, a mug that reads” Self-Care = Love “, and a handbag that reads” Malka. Point. “Use the Hebrew word for queen. Elisheva explains the meaning behind the slogan:” Because all Jewish girls / women are queens, PERIOD. “And no one can make you feel like a queen. Many other slogans also empower.

He also has products aimed at black customers and those who are black and Jewish. One t-shirt that says “Jewish. Yes, I really do. Please stop asking,” a sentence Elisheva wants to repeat to many people over the years. The section on this website gives advice to “frum” customers (Orthodox Jews) who might want to wear short-sleeved shirts that are displayed on the website, he gives specific advice on how to coat and pair items to make it simple, using his years to present himself fashionably in an Orthodox Jewish context.

Elisheva explained that she took her creative inspiration from two places. “The first place is my whole life – I know how people are made to feel bad about certain parts of their identity.” The design is intended to counteract some negative messages

that people hear and give positive encouragement. “I will kill to have things that make me happy about myself as a teenager and child.”

Their second inspiration was “extraordinary people I have met all my life.” Elisheva explained that she met countless Jewish girls who embodied the Jewish obligation to live a good life and treat everyone well. “They don’t have hatred in their bones. They are really good people, they are very extraordinary. These are the people I have met in my life who understand what it means to be an Orthodox Jew. These people are also part of my design process. “

He also tried to combine Jewish values tzniut, or politeness, in its design. For Elisheva, the command to be humble is spiritual as well as physical. Eli7 Designs began to boom, and Elisheva soon added more products, showing pictures of herself using her latest designs on her website. But then he started to get “nasty” comments on his website questioning why he was using the Black model.

“I made a post and said ‘hey, the reason there is a black girl in all the pictures is – it’s me!'” The response to his post surprised him. “I lost more than 300 followers. I canceled several dozen orders. All of my collaborations are canceled. I was devastated. “That experience made Elisheva feel like she lived in the 1950s.

He also began receiving harassing anti-black racist emails. It became so bad that he had a friend open an email for him; the amount of hateful emails downplayed the emails and orders he actually received. His business dropped for several months. “I shouted at myself, saying ‘Elisheva you are so stupid, why do you tell people that you are black?'”

In recent months, he has slowly begun to rebuild his brand. “I get real and actual followers who don’t care what color my skin is.” Women have begun to reach out to him to thank him for being a role model for Black Jews and for creating products aimed at Black Jewish women. “I now hear more positive things than in my entire life.”

When the United States had begun a national dialogue on race, Elisheva felt a deep sense of relief. “Finally in the last few months we Black Jews can speak our truth … I feel people are more interested in what everyone is saying.” He likened to Black and Jewish to carry heavy piles of stone. Black Jews have a burden that is not favored by anti-Semites because they are Jews, dealing with anti-black racists and difficulties facing racism from within in the Jewish world. He finally felt that some of the burden was shared.

“People finally feel safe enough to talk. I will hope that this continues and that they continue to let us talk. “

Elisheva has some concrete suggestions for people who want to be more sensitive and inclusive. If you see someone being targeted or harassed because of their skin color or for other reasons, talk. Don’t excuse the behavior, and don’t try to minimize or ignore it. Don’t try to rationalize racist, cruel or degrading actions. Think about how you want others to defend you. Don’t use the term insult, and talk when others do it.

“Nothing is real ahavat Yisrael (love of fellow Jews) when we don’t defend Black Jews, “Elisheva said. “Sisters must stand with sisters, you must stand with brothers.” Elisheva explained that she hoped to build a Jewish family one day, God willing, and she did not want her children to experience the pain she was experiencing herself. “There is so much potential, so many good things to do,” he felt. “We have to wake up.”

Elisheva felt that the current “Three Weeks” period, between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, was the right time to work to love fellow Jews. “We have weeks of mourning before Tisha B’Av because of Sinam Chinam (baseless hatred) – because Jews don’t love each other as they should. And when Jews don’t love each other it makes us weak and it makes us very easy for them who hates us to hurt us. This is the right time for all of us to make serious introspection. “

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Memoirs of an Imam about Muslim parents | Instant News


Father Abid Habib, a Catholic priest, follows the Muslim funeral tradition after his father’s death.

June 19, 2020

By Kamran Chaudhry
Father Abid Habib, a Catholic priest, follows the Muslim funeral tradition after his father’s death.

A cleric read aloud Salatul Janazah (Islamic funeral prayer) when a former Capuchin leader joined his relatives in burying a coffin in the Muslim grave of Chak Hakeem Imam-ud-Din in Punjab province this month.

Retired Major Habib Ahmed, 96, was among the first recruits of the Pakistani army soon after independence. His family shunned him after he married Maria, a Catholic from Goa, India, in 1950 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore. He was buried in a Catholic cemetery in 2007.

Ahmed’s six Catholic children silently pray when Muslim relatives read prayer beads in Rasm-e-Qul, the prayer of the church for three days.

More than 20 priests celebrated the Requiem Mass, led by Father Habib at the Church of Sts. Mary in Lahore. The priest thanked all for attending Mass despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“I cannot administer the anointing of the sick because he does not know about the sacrament. He suffered because we became Christians, “Father Habib said.

“Sometimes he expressed his displeasure with mothers who prayed at church. We do family prayers every day without him. He used to go jogging during Mass. In fifth grade, he called me a bad boy because he studied catechism. In grade 13, my friend used to invite me to become a Muslim in accordance with my father’s beliefs, “he recalled.

According to the priest, increasing questions inspired him to explore the Bible and the Koran.

“I will strongly challenge their questions but that was before 1980 when the military government of General Zia-ul Haq began adding additional clauses to the defamation law. I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps but failed the army recruitment test twice. Vacancies continue to grow, “he said.

In 1976, he met with Father Andrew Francis, who later became bishop of Multan, during the silver Jubilee celebration at the Little Seminary of St. Mary in Lahore.

“He praised my altar boy’s robe and talked about a priest in Karachi whose father was also a Muslim. Finally it resolves obstacles. My mother was referred to another old priest for further counseling. Finally, my brother’s death changed my father forever, “Father Habib said.

“My father’s greatest sacrifice allowed me to become a priest. He accompanied me to the Capuchin home in 1979. My relatives were left in the dark about the priesthood. “

The 63-year-old priest has served as regional coordinator of the Justice and Peace Commission of Catholic religious leaders, president of the Pakistan Grand Leadership Conference, seminary professor and director of the Joti Center for Education and Culture in Sindh diocese, Hyderabad diocese of the province.

Dialogue of life
With his Islamic background, Father Habib has interfaith dialogue in a Muslim-majority Pakistan, where religious minorities often face persecution and violence. From parishes to prisons, the authors of several research papers on Islam regularly hold peaceful meetings with Muslims.

Father Habib has also converted 10 people. The two-month process involves instruction from a priest, learning about Christian faith, Bible and Church teachings and evaluation from those who are interested.

“They were all inspired by their neighbors, not a priest or nun. They were baptized at the Easter celebration in small churches which were far from the media’s attention, “he said.

‘Interfaith dialogue is rooted in everyday life. I have a dialogue about ecology and general problems with ordinary people. The scholars only focus sawab [spiritual merit]. I did not stop Muslims standing outside listening to my homily. ”

With conversion comes a challenge. The Pakistan Penal Code does not mandate the death penalty for apostasy. However, it was interpreted as a major crime by traditional clerics and the Islamic Ideology Council – a constitutionally mandated body that was tasked with ensuring that all laws obeyed the Quran and Sunnah (the life of the Prophet Muhammad).

To avoid attention, Father Habib gave appointments to the candidates according to different schedules. However, in the late 90s, police agents tracked Father Habib when he was serving in Lahore.

“My first task for Muslim candidates is to find Jesus in the Koran. I gave instructions to the couple when they ran away after seeing a visitor at the church and hiding in the monastery. After an individual investigation, the two accuse the other of being spies. They are banned from the church. Their miscommunication saved my life, “he smiled.

Father Habib now plans to move to Dubai to continue his mission of interfaith dialogue.

Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad expressed his “wholehearted” condolences to the family of Habib Ahmed for their loss.

“Military personnel follow strict standards, but Ahmed gave us the gift of a dedicated priest. This is a rare example of interfaith harmony based on love, “he said.ucanews.com

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ACN reaches out to Pakistani Christians affected by the Covid-19 crisis | Instant News


In Pakistan, many poor Christians and members of religious minorities continued to be denied food assistance and basic needs during Covid-19.

June 2, 2020

By Robin Gomes
Some Muslim charities and mosques have denied food aid and emergency equipment to Christians and members of minority communities.

Cecil Shane Chaudhry, executive director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan (PCBC), made a look at international Catholic charities and foundations, Assistance for Churches in Need (ACN).

Discrimination against Christians
Chaudhry believes that with Covid-19, all people are at risk regardless of their religion. Therefore, it is unfair for Christians and other minorities to be denied emergency assistance, especially when they are among the hardest hit.

The NCJP executive director urged the Pakistani government to target assistance to the most vulnerable and provide masks, gloves and other protective equipment for health and domestic workers.

In the latest count, nearly 66,500 cases of Covid-19 infection have been reported in Pakistan, with nearly 1,400 deaths. According to Chaudhry, many cases were not reported.

ACN approved a grant for Pakistan
ACN International’s executive president, Thomas Heine-Geldern lamented that “even during this global crisis, such minorities were clearly disadvantaged,” in Pakistan. ACN has taken action to provide Covid-19 food and other emergency assistance to more than 5,000 of the poorest families in Pakistan. On May 28, it approved a grant targeting the most vulnerable in the capital, Islamabad, as well as in Rawalpindi, and the Diocese of Lahore and Faisalabad.

Vulnerable Christians
Heine-Geldern observed that Christians were among the poorest and hardest hit by locking in Pakistan. He said the state of emergency had “usurped their already small livelihoods and forced them to live through the crisis in conditions that were very narrow and overcrowded with minimum resources.”

He said many Christians get the lowest wages, work as day laborers, housemaids, janitors or kitchen staff. “All of these occupations,” he said, “are the ones most affected by economic closure.”

“Many Christian employees have been fired unannounced by families who have worked for them for years.” The ACN Executive President said these entrepreneurs were worried that poor people could bring infections to their homes.

Awareness creation, PPE, mass benefits
In Faisalabad, the ACN emergency assistance program includes the use of radio and social media to increase awareness of the risk of coronaviruses and ways to protect it. ACN has planned to distribute face masks to the faithful in the churches and equip priests, nuns, catechists, diocesan staff and volunteers with personal protective equipment.

As part of the COVID-19 program for Pakistan, ACN provided pocket money for 70 priests in the Lahore Archdiocese, four priests at the Mater Redemptoris Main Seminary, Karachi, and four other priests at the St. Francis Xavier Seminary, Lahore.

ACN announced an emergency fund of COVID-19 € 5 million in April. Recently approved a grant that provides emergency assistance to more than 20,000 families in Syria.Vatican News

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Muslims are urged to seek the mercy of Allah | Instant News


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