Catholic puts first audio Urdu Bible online

Riaz-Masih-Gill
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Riaz Masih Gill

RAWALPINDI (UCAN) — A Catholic school teacher is working on the world’s first audio Bible in the Urdu language on the Internet.

Riaz Masih Gill, 31, a software developer says he was inspired when installing a digital version of the Qur’an on his computer three years ago.

My Muslim friend used to listen to the Qur’an in Arabic. I copied this concept since there is no such software for Bible in local languages available, he told UCA News.

Gill launched last Dec and since then has been publicizing the information of his project by cell phone text messages among Christians.

There is now an almost complete audio version, although Gill still has a few New Testament books to go.

Father Nasir Javed, his parish priest at Immaculate Conception church in Rawalpindi has praised Gill’s efforts.

Most of our community is poor and illiterate. This website gives them a chance to listen to the word of God even if they can’t read it, he told UCA News.

He said the Internet has opened new doorways for evangelism in Islamic milieu of Pakistan.

The Pakistan Bible Society (PBS) confirmed that it is the first online bible in Urdu with an audio option.

Anthony Lamuel General secretary PBS told UCA News that the society is working on a virtual Bible in unicode – a standard text coding system – that is 70 per cent complete.

Gill said he opted for a virtual Protestant Bible due to availability of pastors for support and guidelines.

I wrote a letter to Catholic Bible Commission a few years ago but got no reply, he said.

Gill now plans to upload the Bible in four other local languages with text and audio option.

However, the project is not without challenges.

To date he has invested 50,000 rupees (US$581) of his own money, although he earns 12,000 rupees a month at St. Mary’s Cambridge School in Rawalpindi.

I paid a few pastors for the voice-over. However several tuition poured in as a blessings and many customers bought other software I had developed, he said.

According to Gill, he has had praise from Muslims too.
You have done a good work. I did not have this holy book before in my house, he quoted one of them as saying.

PA08704.1587 February 3, 2010 41 EM-lines (381 words)

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