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Friday, November 18, 2011

Pakistan Telecom Authority bans ‘offensive’ text messages including the use of ‘Jesus Christ’

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LONDON, UK (ANS) -- A Pakistani Christian leader has attacked The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) who is reported to have told mobile phone companies to begin blocking text messages containing “obscene” words including “Jesus Christ.”

Wilson Chowdhry asks, “How long until we see signs like this on Pakistani highways?”

Mobile phone companies Telenor Pakistan and Ufone confirmed to the BBC that the PTA has sent them a “dictionary” of banned words and expressions.

The PTA has reportedly ordered operators to begin screening text messages by November 21, 2011.

“Ufone say they are now working on how to block the offending words,” said a BBC story. “A letter dated November 14, apparently written by Muhammad Talib Doger, an official at the PTA, has been leaked to Pakistani media.

“It states that mobile phone operators should begin screening the words, provided on a list attached to the letter, within seven days.”

The BBC went on to quote Anjum Nida Rahman, corporate communications director for Telenor Pakistan, as saying, “We have received both the dictionary and the memo and we're discussing a way forward.”

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman, British Pakistani Christian Association, has told the ASSIST News Service that one of those “offending” words is “Jesus Christ.”

In a message sent to ANS, he said that among the words and expressions that have to be blocked are:

* Athlete’s foot
* Flatulence
* Jesus Christ
* Monkey crotch
* Back door
* Bewaquf (foolish)
* Bakwaas (nonsense)
* Wuutang (a presumed reference to American rap group the Wu-Tang Clan.)

“The inclusion of the name of Jesus Christ within this list of offensive words is another example of the intense hatred that resonates within Pakistan towards Christians,” stated Chowdhry.

Baroness Caroline Cox: Peer for the Queensbury London seat at the House of Lords at a 2009 demonstration in London about religious persecution in Pakistan. Wilson Chowdhry is in the background and Alex Chowdhry, his brother, is nearer the front of the picture

“Such censorship would be received with great animosity in the democratic countries of the West. Moreover such intervention flies in the face of the freedoms of expression that Pakistan's Government has committed the nation too.

“It beggars belief that Jesus Christ could be considered a word offensive to Muslim's as he is written about as a great prophet in the Quran. It would seem that Pakistani Muslim majority hatred for Christians exceeds the love for one of their own prophets. The selection of other words raises further questions. I am baffled at terms such as 'Athletes foot' and 'flatulence' receiving a ban when they are commonly used medical terms.”

Pakistan has seen a big increase in mobile phone use in recent years with 100m Pakistanis are now estimated to be mobile phone users.

I wonder how many of them who are Christians will risk using “Jesus Christ” in a text message and, if they so, what the punishment will be?


Dan Wooding, 70, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 48 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. He now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California which is also carried throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK and also in Belize and South Africa. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 200 countries and also provides a regular commentary for Worship Life Radio on KWVE. You can follow Dan Wooding on Facebook under his name there or at ASSIST News Service. He is the author of some 44 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, has also recently released his first novel “Red Dagger” which is available this link.



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