Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Salman Taseer

For background to events affecting Christians in Pakistan, see Aid to the Church in Need's page about Pakistan. You can follow the links at the right hand side of this page to explore ACN's coverage. Of particular significance to this post is the link to Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws.

A couple of year's ago, at an ACN event in London, I recall the Bishop of Faisalabad talking about the response to an attach that had taken place on Christians and on their homes and property. He talked about the solidarity and practical support given to the victims of the attacks by members of the local Muslim population, through organisations like businesses and business federations. It is important to recognise that moderate Muslims do not wish to see the extremist violence, the "mob rule", that all too often turns itself onto Christians in Pakistan, in the name of Islam.

One of the worst incidents of violence against Christians took place in the Punjab in August 2009. A Mass celebrated to mark the first anniversary of that atrocity is reported by ACN here, and Bishop Coutts' remarks give some indication of the background to the anit-Christian violence in Pakistan.

This background illustrates the significance of the assassination of the Governor of Punjab, and of the reaction to his funeral. BBC coverage is here and here. Salman Taseer died because he spoke up for the truth about the dignity of the human person, and especially the right of people to follow a religious faith in accord with their own conscience, even when that places them in a minority in their country.

While we pray particularly for those communities in Pakistan that are the specific target of violence, we should also pray for all the citizens of Pakistan at this time of great uncertainty about the future of their country. Everyone is the victim of violence and fear in their society, even though they might not themselves be the direct targets of violence.

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