GEO TV’s latest venture Maria Bint-e-Abdullah has birthed agitation among the Christians in Pakistan. Promo of controversial drama Maria Bint-e-Abdullah (Maria daughter of Abdullah) is already taking flak from Pakistani Christians. Consequently, church leaders also explained their stance towards this episode.
In this regard, Pakistani priest Father Qaiser Feroze OFM Cap Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications told fides that Christians in Pakistan are definitely disappointed. “The promo launched by the famous broadcaster Geo TV uses symbols of Catholic faith like the crucifix and the holy rosary, and in the second scene openly hurts the sentiments of the Christian community in Pakistan”, he stated.
Father Qaiser Feroze said that drama Maria Bint-e-Abdullah, which will be aired on GEO TV, a popular channel in Pakistan has hurt the religious sentiments of Pakistani Christians. “The promo of the series not only profanes religious symbols, but insults Christianity as a religion and also Christians. The initiative hurts us”.
He noted expressing his disappointment: “This series will be harmful especially for young Muslims and Christians; it will destroy unity, peace and harmony among young people of various religions and will generate quarrels and divisions”.
The promo of this drama when aired already generated a wave of shock and anger among the local Christians. The promo shows Lahore’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, and then a girl is shown standing in front of the Crucifix, she says her name is Maria. The girl is then shown holding a rosary.
Later scenes show same girl standing in front of a mosque in a typical Muslim attire and reciting Islamic prayer and reading the Quran. The girl says that her mother’s name is Jenny D’ Souza but her father’s name is Abdullah. Seemingly the story will show a Christian girl (Jenny D’ Souza) married a Muslim (Abdullah) – this is a sensitive topic as the concept itself is contradictory to the Biblical teachings and has hurt the religious sentiments of Christians.
Another prominent Pakistani educationist Professor Anjum James Paul who heads Pakistan Minorities’ Teachers Association (PMTA) has sent a letter to the Primer urging a ban on this drama. “The Constitution of Pakistan guarantees that all citizens in Pakistan are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law. It is regrettable that equal rights and equal opportunities are not guaranteed to all because of discrimination based on faith”.
Professor Anjum James Paul asks to “stop the desecration of Christianity” in that TV series. He told fides that: “It is a shameful act. The publicity of the new series offends the feelings of Pakistani Christians”. He highlighted the fact that: “Christian girls are already at risk, they are often harassed, kidnapped and converted to Islam, or forcibly married to pedophiles”.
Consequent to the agitation GEO TV responded: “The drama does not show any conversion let alone forced conversion to any religion. However, GEO deeply cares about its minority viewers as well as its viewer’s religious sentiments and as a precaution, GEO will further evaluate the content to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court approved code of conduct.”