Help Needed in General for Christian Asylum Seekers
By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LONDON, UK (ANS. SEPT. 4, 2015) In two weeks, ministers and officials from three of the most powerful EU nations – Germany, France and Great Britain – will meet to discuss the huge refugee crisis engulfing Europe, with the intent to standardize procedures across the EU.
In a news release from the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), its Chairman Wilson Chowdhry said it is an opportunity to raise broader issues about Christian asylum seekers from nations like Pakistan as well as those from war torn countries in the Middle East and Africa.
He said there is a problem in general direct and indirect discrimination against Christian refugees.
“The concerns we have over the hoops Christians seeking safety from Pakistan have to go through, and the blocks they encounter, are shared by groups working with Christians from other places of persecution, particularly in the Middle East.”
He said that while Muslim refugees can often get support by going to nearby Muslim nations, it’s a different situation for Christians.
Chowdhry said, “Pakistani Christians, for instance can face blocks from their own fellow citizens or even some arms of the government, in part because too many getting out would reveal more of the horrific conditions and discrimination they endure. It’s a face-saving exercise, to try and avoid shame in the international community.”
He challenged Western governments, saying that while they have various kinds of affirmative action programs which help those experiencing suffering discrimination and cultural elites, it’s far from the same in other countries.
“We often hear people say that some kind of special focus or allowance for Christian refugees and asylum seekers from such places as Pakistan and the Middle East would be unfair, and against secular equality values, but the fact is that they are often in an even more vulnerable position than others, and face greater challenges in reaching safety.”
Chowdhry continued, “It is not unfair to give priority to groups that share our values, that are often arbitrarily blocked – for instance by the US State Department – from programs of refuge. To do so would be a win-win situation.”
The BPCA said it is calling on Christians everywhere to press for the issue of Christian refugees and asylum seekers to be raised at these meetings.
According to the news release, the BPCA is considering ways to help Christians get this message out, including pre-written letters for politicians and others which explain the benefits of such an approach.
For information visit www.britishpakistanichristians.org
Photo captions: Wilson Chowdhry speaking at a protest in London. 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on “From Destitute to Ph.D.” are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at email@example.com.
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