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.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hector Aleem writes about the murdered Christian Zafar Bhatti

I know Zafar Bhatti personally who was murdered in Adiala Prison on 25 September, 2014. Bhatti was accused of blasphemy under section 295-C. Pakistan has become the most dangerous country, these Christians get killed in the name of religion because civilised countries do not respond to these blasphemy cases and never come forward to help Christians in need. Western countries are providing aid to Pakistan for education and poverty alleviation to exterminate extremism but the more they get educated the more they become extremist. The biggest example we have is the leader of ISIS who is a PHD. The solution of this problem is not financial aid but a stern action by the western powers is needed. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has arrived at United Nations Headquarters New York, USA. I urge all civilized nations to question him about what is happening to Christians in Pakistan.
A person who is accused of blasphemy do not get positive response by western embassies after they get released and if they succeed in fleeing from Pakistan they do not get positive and immediate response regarding the asylum in civilised countries. They get same response by the Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organisations because all these organisations care about is Palestinians and IDPs of Pakistan. The western countries and all human rights organisations are also responsible of killings of these Christians inside or outside the prison as much as their killers are. The killer will not be punished but will be considered as a hero of Pakistan and Muslims, even the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would be smiling right now because he also considers him a hero. When Salman Taseer was shot dead, Nawaz Sharif and Shabaz Sharif did not attend his funeral. All non elected Christian parliamentarians should resign immediately and stand tall with the Christian nation because the whole Christian nation in Pakistan is under threat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

8 things every Christian should know about Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the High Holy days in the Jewish calendar – the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur ten days later (the ten days of repentence). What's it all about? Here's your handy guide...
  1. You might need a trumpet. Rosh Hashanah means 'head of the year', and marks the start of the new year in the Jewish calendar. It's referred to in Leviticus 23:24-25 as "a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts." Hence its other name – the Feast of Trumpets. A shofar is blown during the service at the synagogue. (In case you don't already own a shofar and you'd like to join in, they're available on eBay.)
  2. It is the new year for people... and animals and legal contracts. Technically there are four starting points in the Jewish calendar. Rosh Hashanah comes at the beginning of the month of Tishri, the seventh month, but it is the point at which the Jewish year is marked and the number of the year increases. It is the new year for people, animals and legal contracts. We are entering the year 5775 in the Jewish calendar.
  3. The exact date varies. The celebration happens on the first and second days of Tishri (usually in September or October). Observance of the day varies. Orthodox Jews will celebrate across two days, (this year from sunset on September 24, to sunset on 26), while some reformed Jews will often just celebrate one day.
  4. It's an Adam and Eve thing. At Rosh Hashanah Jews celebrate the creation of the world.
  5. It's not all 'happy'. Amid the merriment, Rosh Hashanah has a reflective note. The day before, some Jews will visit the graves of relatives or righteous people, to pray to God for a sweet new year. It is believed that the prayers are heard 'in the merit of' the righteous.
  6. There's a special moment to feed the ducks. Well, not quite. Rosh Hashanah is seen as a time to cast off sin and ask for forgiveness, which is called Tashlich. The idea is taken from Micah 7:19: "You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." The ceremony used to be marked by emptying your pockets into the water, today it is more common to throw breadcrumbs.
  7. White as snow. To symbolise the cleansing of sin, some will wear white, and the ark hanging is also changed to white.
  8. There is good food! Despite the sombre side, no festival is complete without feasting – and this is no exception. Traditional foods include dipping apples in honey, honey cake and raisin challah bread, all symbolising the hope of a sweet new year. The challah is usually round, to represent completeness. (Again, if you want to join in, check out these recipes.)

It is a Crime to be a Christian in Pakistan: Hector Aleem

In Pakistan being Christian is a crime. If they raise voice for their rights or someone speak in their favor, their corpses will be on the road. I ask Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Nawaz Sharif, what will you say about Minorities in United Nations General Assembly? Are minorities living according to the charter of UN in Pakistan? That is why whoever gets a chance is fleeing from Pakistan especially Christians.