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Christians burst into anger over bombing; Slam PTI govt in KP

24 September, 2013

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PESHAWAR: Angry Christians protested across the country on Monday to demand better protection after a devastating double suicide bombing at a church killed more than 80 people.

The attack on All Saints Church in Peshawar after a service on Sunday is believed to be the deadliest ever to target Pakistan's Christian minority. Christians demonstrated in towns and cities around the country, including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar to protest against the violence and demand the authorities do more to protect them. A Muslim man was killed in Karachi when scuffles broke out at a Christian protest outside a mosque, police said.

More than 600 protesters blocked a major highway in Islamabad for several hours during the Monday morning rush hour, burning tyres and causing long tailbacks, an AFP photographer said. Later around 2,000 people gathered to protest outside parliament. In Peshawar, around 200 demonstrators took to the streets, smashing windows at the main Lady Reading hospital, where many of the victims were treated, and blocking the main Grand Trunk Road.

In front of All Saints church, more than 100 people chanted slogans demanding justice and attacking the government for failing to protect Christians. And they had harsh words for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan whose party runs the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Protesters shouted abusive slogans against Imran. "Imran Khan and his senior deputy have failed to protect Christians at their praying centres," Khalid Shahzad, who lost five family members in the attack, told AFP.

"The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Imran Khan are just making slogans, there is nothing practical (to protect us). They do not have any sympathy for minorities." The death toll from the blasts rose to 82 on Monday, according to medics, with around 130 in total wounded. Senior Peshawar police official Najeebur Rehman said security around churches in the city would be stepped up, but survivors of the bombing spoke of their fears of further violence.

"We had very good relations with the Muslims – there was no tension before that blast, but we fear that this is the beginning of a wave of violence against the Christians," Danish Yunas, a Christian driver wounded in the blast, told AFP. The 400 or so worshippers were exchanging greetings after the service when the bombers struck, littering the church with blood, body parts and pages from the Bible. The walls were pockmarked with ball bearings that had been packed into the bombs to cause maximum carnage in the busy church.

A faction linked to the Pakistani Taliban on Sunday claimed the attack, saying it was to avenge US drone strikes on Taliban and al Qaeda operatives in the country's tribal areas along the Afghan border. But on Monday the main spokesman for the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group said they were not responsible. "We haven't done this nor do we attack innocent people," Shahidullah Shahid, the main TTP spokesman told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. "Whenever we carry out an attack we claim it, but the Taliban are not involved in this attack. It was an attempt to sabotage the atmosphere of the proposed peace talks."

Normal life was disrupted in most parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in capital Peshawar. The victims of the attack were buried in various graveyards of the city, while relatives, friends and members of civil society organisations rushed to hospitals to enquire about the 145 injured. The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had announced a three-day mourning across the province. All missionary educational institutions and businesses remained shut in the city and streets were deserted.

The Christian community and civil society organisations brought out rallies in Peshawar, Nowshera, Bannu and DI Khan and strongly condemned the act of terrorism. Thousands of people participated in rallies in Peshawar from Kohatai, WAPDA House, Peshawar University Campus, Press Club, Tambwano Mor and Safaid Dheri against the killing of innocent people and called upon the government and security agencies to bring the perpetrators of the incident to justice.


Reader Comments:

Reconciliation between the followers of different faiths

The Holy Quran teaches that God has sent His revelation to all people from time to time. Many of prophets of the Old Testament are mentioned by name and so is Jesus who with other prophets is honoured and revered by all Muslims. Indeed, the Quran requires belief in the truth of all these prophets. Islam is thus unique and distinct in requiring an affirmation in all prophets wherever they appeared and therefore it seeks to bring about reconciliation between the followers of different faiths and to establish a basis of respect and honour among them. The Quran says:
''Surely, those who believe and the Jews and the Christians and the Sabians - whichever party from among these truly believes in ALLAH and the Last Day and does good deeds, shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon then nor shall they grieve (Quran2:63)
The same message is repeated :
''Surely, those who have believed, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians — whoso believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds, on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Quran 5:70)

The basic unity of the followers of all faiths is emphatically stressed in the Holy Quran and the creation of discord and disunity by terrorism or otherwise has no place in Islam. It is unfortunate that Islam, the religion of peace, hope, harmony, goodwill and Brotherhood had been badly tarnished by the perpetrators of various terrorists acts and barbarism as seen in recent days.

SparklingMOON, - 26 September, 2013

The Charter of Freedom Of Prophet of Islam(Peace be upon him)

The Charter of Freedom which Prophet of Islam granted to St. Catherine's Monastery in Mount Sinai in 628, the 6th year of Hegira( the migration of Prophet of Islam and his companion from Mecca to Madeenah), is, perhaps, the best illustration the Holy Prophet's desire for inter-religious peace. It states:

“This is the document which Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, God's Prophet, Warner and Bearer of glad tidings has caused to be written so that there should remain no excuse for those coming after. I have caused this document to be written for the Christians of the East and West, for those who live near, and for those of the distant lands, for the Christians living at present and for those who will come after, for those Christians who are known to us and for those as well whom we do not know.Any Muslim violating or distorting what has been ordained will be considered to be violating God's Covenant and will be transgressing against His Promise and by doing so, will incur God's wrath, be he a monarch or an ordinary subject.

''I promise that any monk or wayfarer who will seek my help on the mountains, in forests, deserts or habitations, or places of worship, I will repel his enemies with my friends and helpers, with all my relatives and with all those who profess to follow me and will defend them, because they are my covenant. And I will defend the covenanted against the persecution, injury and embarrassment of their enemies in lieu of the poll tax they have promised to pay. If they prefer to defend their properties and persons themselves, they will be allowed to do so and will not beput to any inconvenience on that account.

No bishop will be expelled from his bishopric, no monk from his monastery, no priest from his place of worship, and no pilgrim will be detained in his pilgrimage. None of their churches or other places of worship will be desolated or destroyed or demolished. No material of their churches will be used to build mosques or houses for the Muslims; any Muslim doing so will be regarded as recalcitrant to God and His Prophet. Monks and Bishops will be subject to no poll tax or indemnity whether they live in forests or on rivers, in the East or in the West, in the North or in the South. I give them my word of honour. They are on my promise and covenant and will enjoy perfect immunity from all sorts of inconveniences. Every help shall be given to them in the repair of their churches. They shall be absolved of wearing arms. They shall be protected by the Muslims.

Let this document not be disobeyed till Judgement Day.”
(Signed: Muhammad, the Messenger of God. ([Letters of the Messenger])

This important historical document affirms the sincerity of the Prophet of Islam leaves no room for doubting his disposition to peace. This document of the Prophet of Islam is also a guideline for Muslims to follow who desire to practice the real teachings of Islam

SparklingMOON, - 26 September, 2013

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