Church leaders condemn deadly Pakistan rampage: CEN 8.07.09 p 6. August 10, 2009Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Persecution.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has joined the Pope and other Christian leaders in denouncing Friday’s attack on a Christian village in Pakistan by a Muslim mob that left 9 dead and destroyed over 40 homes.
On Aug 4, Dr. Rowan Williams stated the “recent atrocities against Christians in Pakistan will sear the imaginations of countless people of all faiths throughout the world. As the minister of law in the Punjab has already said, such actions are not the work of true Muslims: they are an abuse of real faith and an injury to its reputation as well as an outrage against common humanity, and deserve forthright condemnation.”
Dr. Williams stated Pakistan’s 2.8 million Christians were a “small and vulnerable minority, generally with little political or economic power.” He urged the government of President Asif Ali Zardari to “spare no efforts, not only in seeing that justice is done in the wake of these terrible events, but also in continuing to build a society in which all faiths are honoured and in which the most vulnerable can be assured of the protection of the law and the respect of their fellow-citizens.”
On Monday Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone stated Pope Benedict XVI had called “on everyone to renounce the violence that has caused so much suffering and start working towards peace.”
The pope offered his condolences to the families of the dead and urged Pakistan to build a country were all faith communities displayed a “mutual respect” for one another.
In an email from Karachi, Bishop Ijaz Inayat reported that over 100 houses had been looted and 40 burned in the communal violence in the town of Gojra in the Punjab. Nine Christians had died—seven in the fires and two from gunshot wounds.
“This all started about 12’ o clock [Friday] when thousands of Muslims gathered near the railway station and marched towards the Christian town area where over two thousand Christian families have been housed for over fifty years,” he wrote.
“On reaching the neighborhood some two hundred persons hiding their faces with clothes opened fire on the Christian houses instantly killing on person named Inayat Masih and injuring others. Most of the people fled to save their lives, yet some unlucky got trapped inside their homes and were burnt,” Bishop Inayat said.
The police are alleged to have taken no action to stop the attacks, while the fire services were prevented from reaching the town by the mob, the bishop said.
Press reports from Pakistan indicate the government has blamed outside agitators linked to Al Qaida for the attacks and will compensate the victims of the attack and launch an investigation in to the local government’s handling of the affair.