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Pakistani Muslims stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians

by Aaron James

Hundreds of young men and women with the Pakistani NGO Bargad were calling for other Muslims to stop using derogatory names towards Christians and recognise them as equals. They were joined by Pakistan's only Christian senator, Kamran Michael.

Bargad has been using the word "masih", which means "people of the Messiah", to counteract other negative terms for believers.

It's demonstration in Lahore was part of their 'Green for White' campaign, which refers to the Pakistani flag.

The project is trying to change attitudes towards religious minorities by acknowledging that the Pakistan national flag has two colours side by side - with green representing Muslims and white representing other groups.

Saiha Shaheen, the executive director of Bargad, said: "Today we are laying the seed for social harmony and change.

"Students have taken an oath and pledged to be messengers of this change."

Pakistani Christians are routinely persecuted through the country's blasphemy laws.

Asia Bibi has been held on death row for six years accused of blasphemy - a charge she denies. Her health has significantly deteriorated while in prison, and numerous judicial appeals have failed.

A Christian couple, Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi, were beaten and burnt to death in a brick kiln in 2014 after a mob accused them of insulting the Quran.

106 people were charged after the incident.

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