DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES, CA: Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs gathered outside the James Kahn City Hall building Saturday (5 Nov.) morning in downtown Los Angeles as part of the International Christian Unity USA Association’s rally. Together they peacefully marched for peace to prevail over the Christians and minorities of Punjab.
“Christians in the state of Punjab are going through challenges while practicing their faith freely,” said Danial Masih, a youth pastor and son of Pastor David Masih who assembled the congregation that very morning. “My father and I are standing here to request our people of Punjab, the Indian Government, and the US government, to protect our Christian brothers and sisters!” he said.
Participants in the march pointed to a recent incident in Punjab that occurred on August 31st where the Infant Jesus Catholic Church was vandalized and broken into. Two statues of Jesus and Mary were destroyed in apparent retaliation for increasing Christian conversions in Thakarpura village.
Church officials claim the increase in conversions is due to the extensive social services many Catholic parishes offer the local community, which can inspire underserved people to embrace Christianity.
Millions of Christians live in India, but they only make up 2.4% of the country’s total population. Christians have been known to be very peaceful in India.
Ironically, in Los Angeles, Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus are coming together as a symbol of hope to bring about peace between communities.
Hailing originally from Lahore, Pakistan, Artesia City Council Member Ali Taj was also present at the rally, sharing that he felt touched by Pastor Masih’s cause. “I in fact went to a Catholic school in my home country and therefore felt more strongly to come out and support Reverend Masih at his gathering,” said Taj, who was also a former mayor of Artesia.
He said he personally believes that everyone must stand up for, the minorities across India and Pakistan, especially with the current incidents happening but also across the globe and on our American grounds. “We must protect those who are being persecuted based on religion, gender, race, or class,” said Taj.
“We are all one!” emphasized Reverend Masih, “Governments need to hear our emotions and cries for those who are being tormented,” he said, underscoring his hope that their voices are heard not only by officials but even by God’s ears so that peace can prevail upon all the communities in India and abroad to live in harmony.