The attack on a Pentecostal Church in Karachi by some extremist Muslims came as a shock to many of us and that too when the even of “Burning Quran Day” was canceled. A group looted the Church, burnt nine Bibles, three hymn books and three wooden crosses along with furniture in Shah Latif Town, which is home to about 120 Christian families. The pretext of “Quran Burning Day”, as it looks, still being used to target Christians but here we seldom look for excuses when it comes on persecution of minorities. During all this time while fighting for the sanctity of our religious book-Quran- what we forgot was to give the same amount of respect to other religious books.
I mentioned earlier too that the events like “Quran Burning Day” can be a world reaction to what we do to people of their religions. Almost the whole USA including President Obama outrageously condemned such intolerant acts which pose threat to world peace and religious harmony. And despite the fact that all this happened in our support, we attacked a church and burnt their holy book.
With every passing day, we are becoming more intolerant as a nation. But on other side, I can still see some hope when I meet and talk to so many people whoo believe in co- existence of all religions. Those who are not poisoned with one-religion obsession. Let’s not empower intolerance. Let’s build a country which embrace everyone irrespective of race, religion and nationality. With this approach we will soon be able to defeat those extremist forces who loathe the idea of peace and stability in this country.
Below is the story:
“There are no imminent threats, but there is still fear evident among the Christian community. In Pakistan, we Christians are in a precarious condition: we do not know what may happen in the next five minutes,” according to Fr. Diego Saleh, President of the “Justice and Peace Commission” of the Catholic Diocese of Karachi, following the news of an attack, which occurred on the evening of September 18, at a Pentecostal Christian church in the District of Shah Latif Town, in Karachi.
The church was attacked and looted by a group of Islamic extremists who burned furniture and Bibles. According to local sources, the attack is linked to the “Koran Burning Day,” which has not yet sounded its last echo and is still being used by some extremist Muslim leaders to fuel anti-Christian hatred.
Fr. Saleh Diego added: “We condemn the attack, asking for the protection of the Government and, as the Christian community in Pakistan, the opportunity to live peacefully and freely in our country. We demand respect for all holy places and holy books of any religion.”
The priest, who is also Chancellor of the Diocese of Karachi, reported “I just spoke with the Archbishop Evarist Pinto, who expressed his concern: we want to avoid, as has happened in the past months, violence against Christian places or districts that could spread to other parts of the city. ”
Of course, observes Fr. Diego, we cannot neglect the “reckless actions” of some Protestant Christian denominations, which have a highly intolerant attitude towards Muslims. The church that was attacked was opened two or three years ago in the middle of a Muslim neighborhood. It had no Pastor and very few Christians attended it. It was an easy target for extremists,” he says.
In this situation, the Catholic Church in Karachi has been active in dialogue with other religious communities and other institutions, to defuse tensions. “We are establishing, as citizens, a special ‘Committee for Peace’ which will bring together Christian leaders from different denominations, and involve Muslim leaders and civil leaders. We continue to work for social and religious harmony, a valuable asset to be protected in our city.”