Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stop Killing Christians in Pakistan: Hector Aleem

Peace Worldwide along with other Pakistani Christian organizations protested against the inhuman treatment of Christians in Pakistan. The protest was in front of United Nations Headquarters New York, USA.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Testimony of Hector Aleem

My main charge was blasphemy under section 295 C that has only one punishment which is the death penalty. While I was in prison, many other charges were lodged against me so that I could not come out and start my work that I left (my missionary work and construction of the church).

This incident was on December 21, 2010. It was my hearing date that day. I was brought from prison in front of the judge. My wife and both of my daughters were also there for the hearing; they were covering their faces. I thought that it was a normal hearing.  The judge called, and told me that after one hour your case judgment will be announced (not the blasphemy case, the other case) but this was a false case of land grabbing.  It was actually a church land where a church was to be built which was already there many years ago but was destroyed by Government of Pakistan.  My only fault was to struggle to rebuild that church.

When judge called me after one hour, he awarded me seven years punishment without any proof and evidence. I wasn't allowed to have a lawyer. And almost $2500 in fines and in case I cannot pay the big amount, I would have to spend 2 more years in prison as a penalty. In short, it was of total nine years imprisonment. I was shocked and very upset, and I thought that it's totally illegal and baseless. My wife and both daughters started to cry and I was so helpless and didn't know what to do. After the hearing, I was taken back to the prison. And there I was put into a dirty and isolated cell. That night, I cried a lot and I screamed with pain and the feeling of being deserted. I could not sleep that night, and I prayed all night. I asked God why He has forsaken me and why I am suffering like this. I asked Him that when you know the truth that it was not a land grabbing case but I peacefully struggled for the rebuilding of the destroyed church than why you still let it happen to me? Then I decided that I would go on 10 day fast, I will eat and drink a little after every 24 hour.

When I completed my 10 days fast, that same evening, a prison officer came to my cell and told me that I will be shifted to another cell. He said that you are being shifted to another cell because your sentence has been finished because the High Court Chief Justice took an action against the judge that awarded me a long sentence without any evidence. That judge was removed from the Government Service and he ordered an inquiry against that same judge. “Now your sentence has been removed and your record is clean and you are as innocent as a little child” the officer said. And those false charges (against me in that particular case) have been dropped. I thanked God and it was my great testimony in prison that it never happened that a judge be granted a punishment for awarding illegal punishment. After that I became stronger in God and my faith got stronger than ever. Our God is great and He is good. Satan keeps doing his work and God allows him to do things against us but God does His work in time and his timings are perfect. Amen

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hector Aleem: Pakistan is the hub of Evil Thoughts

Pakistani Muslims always hurt the religious feelings of others. Actually, Pakistan is an epicenter of terrorism and hub of evil thoughts. Then they claim on their paki media that all religions are enjoying freedom and that we respect all religions (which is not true). Now here is another way for Pakistani Muslims to express their hate towards Christians. There are shoes being sold in Pakistan which has Holy Cross and British Flag printed on them. For those who don't know, United Kingdom is officially a Christian country and the flag of UK has four Crosses on it. These shoes are being manufactured and sold in Pakistan and people are buying these shoes with joy with a thinking that they are crushing Christianity under their shoes. Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) took action on it. Chief of CLAAS Mr. Joseph Francis and his colleagues have been successful in registering a case. On October 09, 2014 FIR # 959/14 offence under section 295-C has been registered against unknown persons in the Saddar police station Cantt Lahore. Now this FIR has been registered against unknown persons, what will happen after that? who is unknown? will the police even bother to arrest someone? The answer is no, nothing will happen and no one will be arrested because of biased police and discriminatory system of Pakistan. The shopkeeper who was caught red handed, the place he bought shoes from and the owner of the factory in which the shoes are being produced, all of them should be arrested and punished. I have been in jail for 4 years due to a false blasphemy case (A crime I never committed), they arrested me as fast as they could but police did not arrest anyone in this case. I really appreciate what Mr. Joseph Francis did for our faith. May God bless him. Now what should we all do in reaction? Should we also make shoes with the flag of Pakistan and face of Quaid-e-Azam (The founder of Pakistan)???

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Question on Malala and Refugee Children: by Hector Aleem

At a time when there is much hoo-ha about the Nobel Peace Prize of Malala Yousafzai and the whole world is praising her because of her struggle for education of girls, I would like to bring to the attention of the world my plight.

What did Malala do for education? Before fame, how many schools did she establish? When she became famous, two years back, she must be 15 years old, what can a 15 years old child do for education? She neither established a school or any educational center nor did any advocacy for education. There are many children who want to study but cannot; she was one of them who wanted to continue her studies. There are many refugee children in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Malaysia and other countries who desperately want to go to school and continue their education but they cannot because they are refugees and cannot continue their studies. These countries have not signed the 1951 Geneva Convention for Refugees and due to this all refugees are illegal and cannot send their children to schools, this also resists them to work legally.

I still cannot understand what her struggle for education was. She is doing nothing except promoting her culture to the world. She started to complain against Taliban that she doesn’t want to wear a head scarf and want to live a normal and free life but now when she got freedom she not only wears a head scarf but complete burka from head to toe. If getting a bullet is the key to the Nobel Peace Prize than what does her father did? Why has he been given the status of an ambassador in the United Nations?I think that Malala doesn’t deserve Nobel Prize, if she really wants to show the world that she is working for a cause i.e. education, she must donate all her money she received from the Nobel Prize award to United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for the education of all refugee children in countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia and make their cry reach the ears of those who care more for one single girl instead of paying attention to the education of refugee children. These children cry and beg their parents to send them to schools but don’t know that their parents cannot send them because they are illegal and don’t know for how long they are going to stay illegal in their country of asylum.

It is my plea to all those powers who are promoting Malala, to force these countries of asylum to sign the 1951 Geneva Convention for Refugees so that the refugees in these countries will feel safer and can work legally as well as send their children to schools for better education. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Vatican holds summit on Christian persecution in Middle East

The Vatican convened its ambassadors from countries across the Middle East and North Africa for the second day of a three-day summit on Friday, in an attempt to determine how Christian minorities in the region could be better protected from persecution in light of the rise of extremist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Vatican envoys from Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Libya, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Turkey met to discussthe fortunes of the region’s estimated 7.5 million Christians. Rising religious persecution has been especially pronounced in Syria and Iraq, where thousands of religious and ethnic minorities have been forced to flee in the face of death threats.
“There are no religious, political or economic factors that can justify what is happening to hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children,” Pope Francis said on Thursday. “We are deeply united in our prayers for intercession and in charity towards these suffering members of the body of Christ.”
Iraq’s Nineveh province, including its capital Mosul, is now completely devoid of Christians for the “first time in centuries,” according to The Associated Press. Yazidis, another religious minority group, have also been targeted by ISIL. In August, the Iraqi government said that ISIL fighters had killed at least 500 Yazidis and have taken hundreds of women as slaves.
Meanwhile, in Syria, thousands of people have been killed and millions have been displaced over the course of the three-and-a-half year conflict between President Bashar al-Assad’s and opposition groups that include hardline Islamic groups. Historic churches and icons were destroyed earlier this year in the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, located northeast of Damascus.
In a press release on Friday, the Vatican stressed the need for “protection and respect for Christians and other religious minorities as fully-entitled citizens” in Muslim-majority countries.
Jordan’s President King Abdullah II spoke out against sectarian violence in his address to the United Nations’ General Assembly last week, saying “Islam prohibits violence against Christians and other communities that make up each country.”
“Let me say once again: Arab Christians are an integral part of my region’s past, present and future,” he said.
Earlier this year, researchers at the Pew Research Center said that Christians faced “religious harassment in a greater share of countries in the Middle East and North Africa than in any other region in 2012.”
Of the Christians living in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Syria, 65 percent are Orthodox Christians, while Catholics comprise 27 percent, according to Pew.
In August, Pope Francis said that efforts to halt the advance of extremists attacking Christians and other religious minorities was legitimate, but stopped short of endorsing U.S.-led airstrikes, which continued this week.
“In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” Francis told reporters at the time. “I underscore the verb ‘stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’ And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated.”

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hector Aleem's interview in Daily Jinnah

This interview was published in a Pakistani Newspaper known as "Daily Jinnah". For those who cannot understand Urdu, Hector Aleem here is talking about some Christian politicians of Pakistan who are not doing anything for Christians. Instead of working for them, these politicians are misusing their name. (Media Coordinator, Peace Worldwide)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Iraq’s Christians start taking security into their own hands

AL-QOSH, Iraq: When jihadists raided their ancient heartland last month, Iraq’s Christian Assyrians were left defenseless and fled, but now some have decided it is time to put up a fight.
In Sharafiya, a village that Kurdish peshmerga retook from ISIS fighters just north of the jihadist hub of Mosul, the homes are still empty and only a few armed men can be seen patrolling.
From a distance, with their sand-colored uniforms, they look like peshmerga. But their arm patches sport crossed rifles and the Assyrian flag – a golden circle in a blue four-pointed star with wavy red-white-blue stripes.
Meet the Dwekh Nawsha – an Assyrian phrase conveying self-sacrifice – one of the newest militias in the ever-expanding galaxy of Iraqi armed groups and one of the first to be exclusively Christian.
It was officially created Aug. 11, a week after the Ninevah plain exodus that clerics have called the worst disaster to ever befall Iraq’s Christians, and is made up of a modest 100 men.
“We are small in size but big in faith,” said Lt. Col. Odisho, the former Iraqi army officer in charge of training new recruits.
According to the Assyrian Democratic Movement, Iraq’s most prominent Christian political party, at least 2,000 men have already volunteered to fight ISIS.
But it says training and military equipment are badly needed to confront the jihadists and their army of suicide bombers, battle-hardened foreign fighters and looted U.S. military gear.
In a bid to structure a real defense force, an Assyrian delegation recently traveled to Lebanon to seek inspiration and advice from the Lebanese Forces group, a Dwekh Nawsha member told AFP.
They met with Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces, which was the largest Christian militia in the country during the last years of the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War that killed some 150,000 people.
Geagea said his party would “support any decision made in consensus by Iraq’s Christians with a view to remaining” on their land, the fighter said.
In neighboring Syria, where ISIS already controlled swaths of land before their June offensive in Iraq, Christians have long taken up arms, notably under the banner of the Syriac Military Council.
The outfit fights alongside the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units rebels.
In Iraq, while there is no alternative for the Christians but to cooperate with the peshmerga, some wounds will take time to heal.
Many of the tens of thousands of Christians who fled their homes in panic in early August with nothing but their clothes blame the peshmerga for abandoning their posts and leaving them exposed.
A few miles north of Sharafiya lies Al-Qosh, a larger town nestled at the foot of a hill and a historic center for the Assyrians, who have inhabited the region for millennia and once ran one of the dominant kingdoms of ancient Mesopotamia.
The jihadists never reached Al-Qosh and its ancient monastery carved into the mountainside when they swept the region in August but the population fled nonetheless.
In the deserted dust-coated town, the headquarters of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, with its walls painted in the bright purple color of the party, is hard to miss.
Inside the building, uniformed men sat around steaming cups of tea, their rifles laid down beside them.
Most of them were Christian civilians who stayed behind to defend their town and every one of them gave the same account of the night of Aug. 6-7, when the peshmerga retreated to Kurdistan.
“They left without telling anybody,” Athra Kado said.
“They left the town’s men by themselves,” he said.
“Two days earlier they had assured us that we wouldn’t need any weapons, that they would protect us,” one of his tea-drinking comrades chipped in.
“The Kurds did not protect us, the Iraqi government did not protect us,” a third militiaman in same group said. The Kurdish peshmerga, buoyed by foreign military assistance, have since gone on the counter-offensive and returned to guard the town’s entrances.
But around 100 Christian fighters patrol Al-Qosh night and day.
“Maybe they’ll just run away again, so this time we’re staying,” Athra Kado said.