Tuesday, 24 November 2015
TOPSY TURVY- Fleeing Persecution (from 2011)
I'm an immigrant from officially Christian Pakistan. In my home country the constitution stated "no law shall be made that is against the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." Because I am a Mormon, the official Church of Pakistan declared that I was not a proper Christian and barred me from employment appropriate to my qualifications. I and my co-religionists often fell foul of the blasphemy laws which make it a crime "to deny Christ's Lordship."
So coming to largely Muslim Britain where mosque and state have been separate for a long time has been a blessed relief. However, I have noticed, fearfully, that if I want to convert to Islam my family and elders in the Christian community will threaten me and I'm not completely confident that the police understand this kind of situation.
When I look round the world I'm worried. The Middle East is a Christian region, with small Muslim minorities. There used to be more, but Christian extremists claiming to act in my name are driving many out of Iraq. It's not as if the Iraqis don't have enough problems with the massive sectarian division between Porotestants and Catholics which has often led to violence. Christian leaders govern countries without a free press, independent judiciary, free trade unions or proper democracy. It's risky to convert to another religion and prosetelysing is impossible.
The only Muslim state, Palestine, with its capital in Jerusalem is hemmed in by hostile states which abhor "the Mahometan Entity." I feel sympathy for the refugees of our faith who suffered when the Muslims finally got a safe home after years of persecution. But they were betrayed by our own leaders who thought that since god was certainly with us, they didn't need to train and equip the Christian armies properly. Since then Egypt, Syria and Lebanon have not allowed the refugees to become citizens or to enter the professions. Instead they have forced them to stay in refugee camps. They are a useful tool to use against Palestine to suggest they are going to do something for the Palestinians. Actually, we all know that they are afraid of the Palestinians' education and spirit of nationhood. Christian brotherhood means nothing in reality.
Here in England we can breathe free and make a much better life for the family. But I'm amazed how many of "our people" cling to the traditional ways. And when it comes to election time the native English vote according to their individual conscience and judgement, while we decide family by family and trade votes in return for promises by the politicians. They rarely keep them anyway.