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Asia

2012-12-11

ASIA/PAKISTAN - A statue of the Madonna desecrated in a parish in Faisalabad

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - On 30 November, in a Catholic church in Chak Jhumra, diocese of Faisalabad, in Punjab, the destruction caused by throwing stones at the statue of the Virgin Mary brought horror, fear, dismay and anxiety. In the month of February 2010 two religious Camillians (MI) had stayed there, the Italian Fr. Luca Perletti, Secretary-General MI, and the Pakistani Fr. Mushtaq Anjum. The latter, a missionary for 12 years in the Philippines, belonging to the diocese of Faisalabad, sent to Fides Agency his reflection on the incident.
"The author of this latest act of violence was a young 26 year-old local Muslim," said Fr. Mushtaq. "The news had even greater emphasis due to the fact that it was the statue of Our Lady, a figure worshipped also by Muslims." In his account to Fides, the Camillian states that "for laws and society order to be respected, such incidents should not remain silent, nor the guilty unpunished. This desecration has deeply upset the feelings of the Christian minority. Such incidents should not, however, stop our work for dialogue. The government of Pakistan must respect the fundamental rights of minorities and provide a safe place where they can live as full citizens of Pakistan," concludes the missionary. The parish was founded by the Dominicans in 1948, later taken up by the diocesan clergy and then, in 1983, the Missionary Society of St Paul, MSSP. (MA/AP) (Agenzia Fides 11/12/2012)

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