Christian Muslim Relations : Can they peacefully co-exist? By Bishop T. Nasir

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The ongoing anger of Muslim world over the unfortunate incidence of “desecration of Holy Koran” at Guantanamo Bay, has created a very uncertain situation for Pakistani Christians.

On 25th May Mr. Atta Ul Haq Qasmi, a columnist openly expressed his resentment that no Christian leader has condemned the "desecration" of Holy Koran as reported by the "News Week". However his attention was drawn to the CNI report in Urdu dated 12th May 2005 in which the CNI has not only condemned the desecration of Holy Koran but has also reminded the Muslims how the "Holy Bible" was "desecrated" in Murray College Sialkot in March 1970. Tomorrow, the 27th of May all religious and political parties are taking our rallies and will be protesting against the desecration of Holy Koran throughout Pakistan. Though the hard line religious coalition, the Muthida Majlas Amal (MMA) has invited all Pakistanis including Christians, Hindus and other minorities to join in their protest against United States, yet the uncertainty among Christian community of Pakistan does prevail. Under the present situation, created by the "Free Press" of United States, the already strained relationship between the two religions is bound to further deteriorate. I say it boldly that throughout the history, since 7th Century AD, Christians and Muslims have never been able to "patch up" the "inbuilt hate" between the two major religions. Tough the first refuge of Muslims was a Christian kingdom of "Habsha" or Ethiopia, and the first "treaty" with of Islamic empire in the life time of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) with the Christian Kingdom of Najran. After the establishment of a strong and powerful Islamic Empire, this "treaty" was broken by the Muslims. The kingdom of Najran was conquered and the Christian of Najran were dislocated and rehabilitated in the areas that are in present day Iraq and Kuwait. This was the first set back in the relationship between Christian and Muslims. After that the conquest of "Holy Land" that was then under the domain of a weak Bazantinian empire and further conquest of Muslims towards north, taking Christian dominated present day Syria. Destruction of Churches, desecration of places held Holy by the Christians. Forced conversions, broken treaties and humiliating conditions set forth by the Muslim conquers further enhanced the hatred between the two faiths. The demise of Roman Empire in North Africa (That was a Christian empire in 7th and 8th century AD) and the conquest of Spain, kept adding to the hate between Christian and Muslim world. Coming back to Roman Empire in Asia Minor and its conquest by Muslims saw all but few historical Churches under Islamic rule. Even to day the churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation are in modern Turkey. This conquest of all holy places of Christian world and heavy taxation on Christian Pilgrims to the Holy Land resulted in "Crusades" from 10th Century AD to 18th Century AD. Though Muslims were driven out of Spain in 1492, the Ottoman Empire gained control of Mediterranean Sea and conquered large territories in Europe. Under the Ottoman Empire, the most prestigious church of Saint Sofia built by Constantine the Great was turned into Mosque and then museum. This Church still remains in the hands of Muslim Turkey. The Ottoman Empire finally stated to retreat in Europe while the European Colonial rule was establishing in Africa, Asia, America and Australia. At the same time Ottoman Empire had started shrinking and most of its territories in North Africa were taken over by the European Colonial powers. The then "Christian Empires" including Russia started conquering all Muslim ruled land including India. By the end of 18th Century, the United States became an independent country and in mid 19th Century, India that was ruled by Muslims for over one thousand years finally became a British Colony. After First World War, the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist. All its European territories were lost; the Middle East and Arab territories were made independent states and the Present day map of Arabian Peninsula, creation of new states of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and present day Sultanates were once part of a greater Ottoman Empire. So was the case in Africa and other Muslim territories. In North Communist Russia dominated all Muslim territories that were later lost to "United Soviet Socialist Republic" or the former USSR. All Muslim territories remained mainly under American or British rule and gained "controlled" independence well after Second World War. In Twentieth Century, Islamic world had no significant role in international affaires. Even today in the Twenty First Century, no Muslim state enjoys an independent status. Today Iran is the only Muslim country that is defying the Western supremacy. Yet it is under constant threat from the West. It would not be wrong to state that today the entire world is being ruled by United States and the Western Powers. No government can survive without the consent of United States and the Western powers, Especially the Muslim governments. We can find the proof in Pakistan. When the government of Mr. Nawaz Shareef was overthrown by General Pervaiz Musharraf on 12th October 1999, Pakistan was thrown out of British Commonwealth, Pakistan was ignored by every major or minor Western Power, yet after 9/11 the same Pakistan with the same form of government was not only accepted but duly supported by all Western Powers. The bitter fact of the history is that "land can be conquered" minds of conquered nations can never be conquered. From 7th Century AD, to 18th Century AD, Islam ruled almost the entire known world, but it could never conquer the thoughts and minds of the conquered land and Christians. A conqueror has always faced rebellion and unrest in their conquered lands. Let us view the Jewish history in last two thousand years. Palestine or Judea was ruled by Roman Empire (The only supper power of its time) yet they never gave up the idea of a deliverer. They rebelled against the Roman Empire in 68 AD and drove the Roman armies from their land. A fresh Roman army was sent to regain the lost territory. It crushed Jewish rebellion without mercy. In one day Forty thousand Jews were killed. Romans gained the control of Palestine and Judea. Yet the Jews waited for almost two thousand years and finally got their lost land. On the other hand Palestinians had undergone all the hardships and isolation, persecution and have lost hundreds of thousands of their youth, yet they are not deterred and they are still fighting and struggling for an independent Palestinian State. Many generations have perished but the Jewish state with all its support from West has failed to defeat the mind and thoughts of Palestinians. Hundreds of thousands of people mostly youth has been killed in Kashmir, yet India with all its military might has failed to stop freedom struggle of Kashmiri people. May centuries ago, Islam conquered almost all Christian lands but failed to conquer Christian minds. It rules Spain for Eight Hundred years, yet it had to retreat. Same thing happened in Europe and other Muslim dominated areas. Russia with all its military might failed in Afghanistan and United States failed in Vietnam. After 11th September 2001, United States succeeded in over throwing of "Talibans" in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussain in Iraq. Yet final "victory" or "peace" is no where in sight. The fact remains that the United State has made more enemies in last three and a half years than friends. With the "reported" desecration of Holy Koran by American Prison Authorities, the hate for United States has increased to its optimum height. As we have not forgotten the desecration of Holy Bible that took place thirty five years ago, how can one expect that the Muslims will ever forget the desecration of their Holy Book? The United State has to rethink on its policy towards the common Muslims. It can not keep things under control with the support of few thousand rulers of Islamic countries. If United States has any interest in winning the war against terrorism, it has to win the common Muslim's mind. And the only way to win the hearts and minds of common Muslims is to respect their religious sentiments. "News Week" is not an unknown third rate "gossip" magazine. It has its name and people all over the world take it for granted that any thing reported by such magazine has "certain element of truth" in its reports. And being a country that gives total freedom to its press some thing some where has gone wrong. Now it is the moral obligation of the government of United States to make an independent enquiry in the report of desecration of Holy Koran. Constitute a committee with representatives from Muslim countries and if the Prison Authorities of Guantanamo Bay are found guilty, they must be punished in an exemplary way that in future no body dares to play with religious sentiments of people of any faith. The same action has to be taken by the governments of Muslim countries. The desecration of Holy Bible is daily affair in Pakistan in one way or the other. The Islamic press and writers are playing with religious sentiments of Christian community. We find derogatory remarks from highly educated people of Pakistan. Every day none sense is written by the columnists, Mullahs and third rate Muslims. Yet the government of Pakistan has never tried to discourage such "hate traders". I was assured by the Federal Minister of Religious Affairs, government of Pakistan that all books maliciously written by Muslims will be taken off the shelves of Book Stores. This type of books are still there. I receive dozens of Islamic magazines and all I see is derogatory articles against Christianity, the Holy Bible and our faith. Yet there is no one to apologize to Christian Community. Few months back I wrote an article in Urdu, "Under the calm surface". Its theme was that apparently we are living in "perfect peace and harmony" with Muslims, yet we are ignoring the "storm" underneath the calm waters. I hope this storm will not become a "Tsunami" for Christian on 27th May 2005 or may be at a later stage. I must warn the world that Christian Muslim relations are at the lowest level at this time. The concept or dream of peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims may become a dreadful "nightmare". I hope that the American and the Pakistani government will take appropriate steps to avoid the dreadful fait of Christian minority of Pakistan that is unfortunately identified with every thing that Americans do. Bishop Timotheus Nasir

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"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti

On demand of our readers, I have decided to release E-Book version of "Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" on website of PCP which can also be viewed on website of Pakistan Christian Congress www.pakistanchristiancongress.org . You can read chapter wise by clicking tab on left handside of PDF format of E-Book.

nazirbhattipcc@aol.com , pakistanchristianpost@yahoo.com