Date: October 27, 2015
ROME, ITALY (ANS -- October 27, 2015) -- Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), Wilson Chowdhry, addressed an Italian conference at the parliament building in Rome on Oct. 19 2015.
According to a news release from BPCA, Chowdhry described the cultural genocide waged against Christians in Pakistan drawing on the attacks of Shama and Shahzad, a couple burned alive in a brick kiln after false allegations of blasphemy.
He also talked about the long term incarceration of Asia Bibi, which uses the same “draconian laws.”
The event, which was organized by the “Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy” and “Umanitaria Padana,” brought together church leaders from many persecuted nations and several NGOs.
Titled “Genocide of Christians and Jihad Form the Orient in the West,” the event was concluded by Professor Mobeen Shahid of the Vatican University, who brought together all the discussions.
At the end of the meeting BPCA said Chowdhry was allowed to speak to Parliamentarians, during which time he called for an amendment to the existing risk profile of Pak-Christians held by the Italian Home Office and Foreign Office.
Chowdhry described the “Special Status” afforded to Pak-Christians by the governments of Canada and Holland, decisions in which the BPCA was very influential.
Chowdhry offered to send copies of all the BPCA reports in such decision making process to all the MPs at the meeting, and presented each participating MP with a copy of the BPCA's 2013 report titled “The Targeting of Minority Others in Pakistan.”
BPCA said Chowdhry also explained how a conversation with Lord Alton of Liverpool had led to his visiting Thailand to meet the thousands of Pak-Christian asylum seekers. They're living destitute, and in fear of arrest and brutal incarceration in the Thai “Immigration Detention Center” (IDC) or infamous “Central Jail,” where they are treated like rapists and murderers.
He explained that Lord Alton had used the latest report to trigger a Home Office review of their existing policy, which states that Pakistani Christians face severe discrimination as opposed to persecution.
BPCA said Chowdhry also advised that the UNHCR have now revised their figure on the number of Pak-Christians in Thailand from 4,600 to 11,900. That's a figure so large that it clearly illustrates a far more serious concern than previously accepted by the west.
After the conference a 40 minute mass was held at the Chapel of Italian Parliament “Santa Maria della Concezione.” The mass was delivered in Italian and also Aramaic - the language spoken by Jesus Christ.
Chowdhry said in the news release, “This was a well organized event that brought together Parliamentarians, Christian Clergy and the NGOs challenging for protection of Christian minorities. It was a chance to bring to the fore a debate on the plight of Christians in the Middle-East whilst highlighting the ramifications of insouciance including the concern of Jihad in the west.”
BPCA said MPs in attendance will be more informed about Christian persecution and he hopes they respond vigorously to the highlighted risk to Christians to bring change.
Chowdhry said, “I am grateful for this chance to illustrate the mistakes made by the west in defining a lower than fair risk profile for Pakistani Christians. I will be emailing copies of all published reports on Pak-Christian persecution to the Italian Foreign Office, Home Office and (others).”
He added, “I hope that it results in a similar flurry of activity as we have seen in Britain in recent weeks, which led to a review of their Home Office policy statement on Pak-Christian persecution. 11,900 asylum seekers in Thailand alone is a figure that expresses the need for stronger focus on the humanitarian crises unfolding in the region.”
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Photo captions: 1) Wilson Chowdhry speaking at a rally in London. 2) Pakistani asylum seekers crowded into a cell in Bangkok. 3) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.