ASIA/PAKISTAN - The Dominican Channan: "Dialogue with Islam to change the blasphemy law"

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - "Christians in Pakistan are suffering because of the abuse of the blasphemy law. Also, when a Christian is accused, the entire community suffers serious consequences": says to Fides Dominican Father James Channan, director of the "Peace Center" in Lahore, who constantly works for interreligious dialogue, broadening the reflection on the case of Asia Bibi and all other Pakistani citizens, Christians and Muslims, innocent victims of the blasphemy law.
Fr. Channan explains: "Christian minorities, such as Hindus and members of other minority faiths in Pakistan are often subject to discrimination and persecution. Being a non-Muslim in Pakistan is sometimes dangerous, especially because of the blasphemy laws". To counter this situation, Father Channan has worked for years to develop good relations with the most important imams in Lahore, such as Abdul Khabir Azad, the Imam of the royal Mosque in Lahore, the largest in Pakistan.
Thanks to good relationship, the two leaders have been working together to resolve situations of tension, such as the attack on the Christian "Joseph Colony" area in the heart of Lahore, in March 2013 and, most recently, the attack against the Christian community in the district of Sanda, always in Lahore. Both cases were generated by charges of blasphemy against a Christian.
With other leaders, imam Azad "agrees on necessary changes to the blasphemy law to prevent its abuse as a means of settling private disputes" notes Fr. Channan. This is why the work of Islamic-Christian dialogue, he concludes, is invaluable and necessary to advance ideas and actions designed to enhance interreligious harmony and to build broad consensus to reform the blasphemy law". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 22/07/2015)