ASIA/PAKISTAN - Attack on a church: Christians forgive the aggressors

Friday, 16 February 2018 religious minorities   violence   discrimination   islam   christianity   extremism   human rights   peace   justice  


Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - After the attack, the response was forgiveness. Pastor Samson Ashiq who leads the community of the faithful of the "Church of the Assemblies of God" - among the evangelical denominations present in Pakistan - in the district of Malir, in the area of Karachi, has signed an official document forgiving some Muslims who on 11 February attacked the Christian community immediately after the Sunday liturgy. The Pastor told Fides: "The document was signed in the police station between Church officials and opponents, in order to resolve the question: As Christians we must forgive those who hurt us: this is what the Lenten time invites us to do. We want to promote reconciliation and harmony".
Pastor Samson Ashiq told Fides of the incident: "One of our faithful had climbed onto the roof of the church with some workers to build a cross on the building, which is quite new.
According to some Muslims, young Christians were spying on Muslim homes, dishonoring their families. At that point a quarrel broke out. I apologized to the members of the Muslim community, explaining that this was a misunderstanding. And I did not expect an aggression".
The clash occurred on Sunday, February 11th, immediately after Sunday prayers. Faysal Inayat, one of the wounded faithful, told Fides: "We were in church for the Sunday liturgy when some Muslim men blocked the church gate with motorcycles. They did not allow people to go home and harassed some women outside the church gate". Seven Christians were seriously injured. Muslims also entered a house, and started beating a man and a woman with wooden sticks. The Pastor called the police who managed to stop the fight and brought the injured to the hospital for first aid. Church leaders have filed a police report.
The church, recently built, opened its doors in December 2017. Some fundamentalists did not appreciate the presence of the new Christian place of worship and encouraged the aggression. Noman Peter, operator of the National Commission of "Justice and Peace" of Pakistan, who visited the place, told Fides: "It is very significant that the question has been resolved and that Christians have forgiven the aggressors. We hope and pray for good relations in the future". (AG) (Agenzia Fides, 16/2/2018)


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