Taliban church attack leaves 100 dead: The Church of England Newspaper, September 27, 2013 p 6. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Terrorism.
Tags: Peshawar, Taliban, Titus Pressler
The Church of Pakistan has called for three days of mourning and solidarity in the wake of a suicide bombing at All Saints’ Church, Kohati Gate in Peshawar.
As approximately 600 worshippers filed out of the church in Peshawar’s old city following the principle morning service two men wearing explosive vests holding ball bearings and other pieces of shrapnel detonated their charges. The police reported at least 78 people, including 37 children, were killed. Church of Pakistan leaders estimate the death toll to be at least 150 with hundreds more wounded.
The explosion at All Saints Church, built in 1883 by the CMS and unique among Peshawar’s churches as it was designed to resemble a mosque, comes a year and a day after a mob set fire to a church in the nearby town of Mardan in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they will continue to attack non-Sunni Muslims until the coalition forces end their drone attacks against terrorists in Waziristan.
In a letter to students and faculty, the Dean of Edwardes College in Peshawar, the Rev. Dr. Titus Pressler said the “scale of the atrocity is terrible. News is still coming in, but it is said that about 150 people or more were killed and 200 or more were injured. The news has gone around the world.”
“Information is emerging,” he wrote, “but a number of our current students were killed as were a number of Edwardes College alumni. The same is true of Edwardes College School and, of course, other church institutions throughout the city.”
The attack on Peshawar’s Christians follows upon attacks by the Taliban against Shia Muslims in Quetta this past February which killed 200, and on-going attacks against members of the Ahmadiyya community.
Dr. Pressler reported that members of the Muslim community were quick to reach out to Christians with offers of prayer and support. “Such ecumenical spirit is crucial in any place and time, but especially so in Peshawar and in Pakistan today,” he wrote. “So I thank God for such compassion and generosity of spirit between people of different religions.”
In a letter to the Church of Pakistan, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was “appalled” by the news.
“My heart goes out to all those bereaved and injured by this terrible attack. I pray for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ’s people. With the people of Peshawar I join in calling for the Pakistan Government and all people of good will to ensure that communities may go about their daily lives in safety, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
In a Twitter message released on 22 September 2013 the archbishop said: “Peshawar bomb reveals depths of human evil, yet those suffering speak of forgiveness as well as justice. That is the love of Jesus shown.”