ASIA/PAKISTAN - Anniversary of the attacks on churches in Lahore: faithful pray for peace

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 persecutions   local churches   peace   religious minorities   terrorism  

Paolo Affatato

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - Faithful Christians, Catholics and Anglicans, recalled the first anniversary of the attacks, March 15 of 2015, against two churches in Youhanabad district, Lahore with liturgical celebrations. The attack caused 21 dead and 80 injured. Both in the Catholic and in the Anglican church, affected by the attacks, Masses and prayer vigils for peace were held.
Soon after the suicide bombings, Christians, shaken and angry, lynched two Muslims, alleged accomplices of the terrorists. The government of Punjab began an operation against residents in Youhanabad, arresting more than 120 young people, accused of having participated in the lynching. Today the atmosphere in Youhanabad remains tense and people are afraid to talk about the incident. More than 50 Christian families are still waiting to know the fate of their relatives, on trial for the murder of two men.
Samran Paul, a Catholic resident of Youhanabad, told Fides: "Everything has changed for us. Youhanabad was once a symbol for Christians in Lahore. Now they are afraid and feel uncertain". "It is encouraging to see that we have come together to pray for peace and that we all wish to live together as a family. I would like to see Youhanabad as it was in the past, pride for Christians in Lahore". Amir Masih from the Anglican Church remarked: "A year has gone by, but the wounds are still open. Today we have gathered to pray for peace, we ask God to make us live with joy and peace in our neighborhood". (XW-PA) (Agenzia Fides 15/03/2016)