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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 233
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Greetings and Aloha,
I am sadden that in the 21st century ... fanaticism still exist. How in the world someone would include religion in the passport ? I think that it is wrong.. it is oppressive toward the minorities... in the US , we dont include religion in the passport , but if we do.... the world definetely in protest .


23 March, 2005
PAKISTAN
Religion back in passports


Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pakistani passports might still indicate the bearer’s religious affiliation, this if recommendations by a five-member ministerial committee are accepted by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. The proposal to restore the religion column in passports meets the demands made by Islamic groups who opposed removing it in the first place to “preserve the Islamic identity” of the country.

Speaking yesterday, Defence Minister Rao Sikandar Iqbal, who headed the committee, said that the recommendation was ‘unanimous’.

Human and minority rights activists have denounced the compulsory declaration of religion as a “source of intolerance”.

Should the recommendation be accepted it could put at risk Ahmadiyya Muslims, who are considered heretical by other Muslims, preventing them from visiting Makkah and performing Hajj.

The change in policy came after the six opposition Islamic parties forming the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) alliance demonstrated for months against the decision to remove religious affiliation from passports. It was their opposition that persuaded the government to set up the five-member ministerial committee to review the issue.

Everything started in 2004 when the government decided to remove religious affiliation from Pakistani travel documents in accordance to the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. So far 80,000 passports without religion column have been issued.

Information Minister Shaikh Rashid also said that the name ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ will appear on the on the cover page of the passport.

Muslims constitute 97 per cent of Pakistan’s population of 150 million. Christians are 2.5 per cent—Catholics number 1.2 million. (LF)

25 March, 2005
PAKISTAN
Government buckled under extremist pressure, Pakistani Christians say by Qaiser Felix

Christian groups condemn the government’s decision to reintroduce the religion column in passports.


Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha, chairman of National Commission of Justice and Peace (NCJP), in an interview with AsiaNews condemned the government of Pakistan for turning passports into ‘religious documents’. For this reason, he wrote a letter of protest to the country’s President, General Pervez Musharraf.

In a press statement, Archbishop Saldanha and the NCJP executive secretary, Peter Jacob, declare that the decision contradicts the government’s claim that it stands for moderation.

“The decision,” they write, “reflects [the fact] that the government is not acting on principle but is yielding to pressure from extremists. It is sad that the religious minorities in the country were not consulted and their concerns were not taken into account.”

Nisar Barkat, NJCP director in the diocese of Faisalabad, told AsiaNews that Pakistani passports are no longer normal travel documents when they have a reference to the holder’s religion. This is step backward with respect to fundamental freedoms.

For Johnson Michel, chairman of the Bishop John Joseph Shaheed Trust, in Pakistan everything is seen from a religious perspective and this is preventing the development of a united national consciousness.

“In the past, under the leadership of the late Bishop John Joseph, we were against a religion column in people’s identity cards. Now we shall do the same for passports,” he said.

“This is not the first time that the Pakistani government buckles under the pressure of Islamic extremists. It will inevitably influence Pakistan’s relations to other countries,” he added.

“For the moment, the situation worries us because I am convinced the extremists will keep up their pressure on other issues as well since the government has given in on several of their demands.”
Still, Mr Michel is urging Christian groups and political parties to back President Musharraf’s ‘enlightened moderation’ so that he can better fight the religious extremism that is affecting the whole country.

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I think we have nothing to worry about in the USA. When we travel the world, our biggest problem with others will simply BE that American passport, regardless of what it says. As for me, when we have to declare our religion on nearly every other document we have, it makes no difference to me whether it is on my passport or not. I am an Orthodox Christian, and have no intention of denying that fact, regardless of whether I am asked politely or at gunpoint. Of course, in the Islamic world, as you say, there are differences of opinion as to the USE of the information, but those hateful fanatics will find other ways to be hateful, based on appearance, or other methods. A passport designation will not harm people. A yellow star might, though. It is a fine line, indeed. But on a government document used solely for travel abroad, I would not object to it. I have ALWAYS objected to "internal" passports that MUST be carried at all times. I think there is too much potential for abuse in that system.

Gaudior, with no fears for the USA, but concern for other countries.

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I am only concern with being use the passport for intimidation. Anti CHristians are everywhere in the Islamic World... and it is very intimidating.... if US start doing the same, world will be in protest and strengthen thier anti amaricanism... honesstly, I am tired with this hate mongers....

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you are so worried about muslims in the other countries ahile your ayes are blinded and cannot see those who you already have in your own countries.

Trust me for i know, muslims in all around the world know that you are Christians by the way you look, smell and by the love we have to all (well most of us do anyways).

go to the muslim meeting in your country, even those "peaceful" groups who claim to have nothing against Christians and Christ, go there and listen to their teaching - they may seem very peaceful at first, "the love in the islam" the "peace islam is trying to pass to the whole world", but deep inside they all hate all other non muslims - according to islam THERE IS NO OTHER TRUTH BUT ISLAM AND M0HAMMAD - and dying for islam (and killing others on the way (what is called SHAHID) is the fastest and easiest way to reach the heavens (and get 72 virgins) ...

So worry less about who are outcide and concintrate more on those who are spredding the cancer of islam in your own countries.

May the Lord fill us with love and sympathy so we may help those whom are lost and want to be found.
Amen

Eli

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Right, it is sad that the cancer is spreading like virus. It look like wolves cover with sheepskin....

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Quote
Originally posted by RandyFermo:
if US start doing the same, world will be in protest and strengthen thier anti amaricanism...
Maybe because the world have higher expectations on a liberal democracy like the US than on feudal Islamic dictatorships...


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