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REX/Rana Sajid Hussain
World News

Campaigner: Christians should open their homes to Pakistani Christians in Thailand

by Hannah Tooley

The meeting has been called to discuss the current refugee crisis in Europe.

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association has suggested that people open their homes to those that need shelter from further afield.

He said: "There is a problem with much direct and indirect discrimination against Christian refugees generally.

"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.

"Muslim refugees can often get support by going to nearby Muslim nations, but for Christians, that move is often out of the frying pan and into the fire.

"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."

Mr Chowdhry stressed that Christians in Thailand are being imprisoned, with much more serious criminals, for overstaying their tourist visa.

"We are aware of the fact that Pakistani finding it so difficult to get to the UK that they're now going to countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka and Malaysia - where the tourist visa application has a very simple protocol and is very inexpensive.

"But there they're being re-persecuted, placed in shackles and metal chains, often squeezed into rooms that can fit around 100 people, where 200 of these asylum seekers are being placed inside these rooms."

The British Pakistani Christian Association is encouraging Christians here to write to their politicians explaining the economic and social benefits of allowing these people in.

He said that the government needs to be clear that: "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 - Western nations get a class of genuine refugees who integrate better with our values, aiding community and cross-cultural cohesion and the particularly vulnerable Christian brothers and sisters get a better shot at reaching safety.

"Therefore we are calling on Christians everywhere to press for the issue of Christian refugees and asylum seekers to be raised at these meetings."

Listen to Premier's Dan Golding speak to Wilson Chowdhry here:

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