Praise in the midst of pain by Nasir Saeed, Coordinator CLAAS UK
In spite of the persecution they have suffered at the hands of Islamic extremists, Christians in Gojra and Korian are still very strong in their faith.
By Nasir Saeed
11/20/2009 Pakistan (Pakistan Christian Post)-I recently had the opportunity to visit Gojra and Korian, two towns attacked in the summer by Muslim extremists over the alleged desecration of the Koran by Christians. Four months on and the pain and sense of injustice over those horrific events is still etched on the faces of the Christians who live there. They know the attacks were baseless. This was just another deadly example of Muslim extremists misusing the blasphemy law to settle personal vendettas.
I travelled to Pakistan with Sally and Hamad Bailey from one of our supporting churches, St Paul ’s in Slough, and there to meet us at the other end was Joseph Francis, head of CLAAS in Pakistan . The difficulties facing the Christians of Gojra and Korian were apparent. They are still living in tents, their homes having been destroyed in the attacks; some of the children are unable to go to school; many of the adults have been sacked from their jobs by their Muslim employers.
The readiness with which they spoke of their hardship was testimony to how much these people long for justice. Investigations and trials are always a frustratingly long and drawn out process in Pakistan and justice rarely swings in favour of the voiceless Christians. They appeared grateful simply to have their stories heard as they greeted us outside their tents. One of those we met was Nouman Masih, who has just been released from prison following CLAAS’ successful bail application.
In spite of the obvious difficulties they face, their gentleness and kindness were evident as they served us drinks, shared their stories and joined with us in a time of worship for the God they have never stopped believing in. We did our best to comfort them through our words and Sally and Hamad Bailey performed some Christian songs for them in the Pakistani language. It was a modest gathering but one that allowed everyone – young and old, men, women and children – to forget their suffering for a while at least. As we sang to God I couldn’t help but notice the slogans scrawled across several wall banners in the church – “Is it a crime to be a Christian in Pakistan ?”; “Stop the massacre of Christians in Pakistan ”. In the midst of such a violent reality, they still praise.