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Pakistan President denounces church burning; The Church of England Newspaper, September 30, 2012, p 6. October 5, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Persecution.
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St Paul’s Mardan after the 21 Sept 2012 attack

The President of Pakistan has condemned last week’s attack on a church in Mardan in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

A mob set fire to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and looted St Paul’s High School in response to Western acts of “blasphemy” against Muhammad made in the “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video.

On 23 September 2012 President Asif Ali Zardari said “vandalizing revered places of worship and inflicting damage in retaliation amounted to playing into the hands of perpetrators of the crime who produced the anti-Islam film.”

On 21 Sept a several thousand strong mob stormed the church compound after Friday prayers on Ishq-e-Rasool day. The Diocese of Peshawar reported the church was set alight and the homes of its two priests and the school’s headmaster were destroyed. The school, which serves the Christian and Muslim community, was ransacked and newly installed computers taken away by the mob.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has ordered inquiry into the attack and has called for patience on the part of the Christian community, Express News reported.

“The damage has been very severe, and we will need to rebuild. We are asking for people around the world to keep us in your prayers,” said Bishop Humphrey Peters of Peshawar.

The Moderator of the Church of Pakistan, Bishop Samuel Azariah released a statement condemning the attack, saying the church burnings would damage “relations between the communities in Pakistan and around the world.

“The government and faith leaders in Pakistan have a role to play in education people that they have the right to protest, but to damage property and terrify people in this way is completely wrong. The government and faith leaders should provide the lead in preventing attacks,” Bishop Azariah said.

On 12 Sept 2012 a remote-controlled explosive device placed against the wall of St Paul’s detonated, causing one wall of the church to collapse.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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