ASIA/PAKISTAN - The Peace Center: "The answer to terrorism is unity"

Thursday, 23 February 2017 terrorism   dialogue   human rights   peace   justice   violence   religious minorities   civil society  

URI Pakistan

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - "Our response to terrorism is unity. We will continue to promote peace, justice, harmony with all men and women of good will in Pakistan, in the face of the terrorist threat that has bloodied the country", says to Agenzia Fides Dominican Fr. James Channan, Director of "Peace Center" in Lahore, the center committed to promoting interfaith dialogue.
In recent days, after a number of terrorist attacks in the country (see Fides 17/02/2017), the Pakistani army launched an operation on a national scale against terrorism. The Taliban faction "Jamat-ul-Ahrar", which claimed responsibility for some of the recent attacks, has released a video in which Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, religious minorities and even Muslims are threatened. According to the Taliban group, places of worship and religious minorities will not be targets if they keep their distance from the government. The radicals have also announced plans to hit "all those involved in the blasphemy of the Prophet", a reference especially for the Ahmadis, considered a heretical Muslim minority.
"They hit everywhere - says Fr. Channan to Fides - also soft targets such as schools, squares, places of worship, to create panic and terror. In this time of challenge, all people of good will must unite. In recent days, we held a seminar at the Peace Center, which was attended by 35 religious leaders and leaders of civil society, questioning the response of Pakistani society against terrorism. They all agreed on the urgency to rediscover the UN objectives of sustainable development and build peace, justice, gender equality".
In particular, explains the Director, "Christians feel a sense of vulnerability, fear and insecurity, especially for gatherings or liturgical celebrations like Sunday Masses. But the faith of the baptized in Pakistan is strong and people, despite the fear, never ceases to attend and crowd the churches". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/02/2017)