30 March 2017
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  • » 12/05/2012, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Faisalabad: young Muslim arrested for profaning statue of the Virgin

    Shafique Khokhar

    Sabar Shah, 26, broke the glass cover with stones and destroyed the religious symbol. The police stopped him and he is now in jail, awaiting trial. Anger and dismay among the Christians of the city. The pastor speaks of "hurt feelings" and calls for a fair trial. Vicar of Faisalabad extremists inciting religious hatred.

    Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - A scarred face, with compassionate eyes, the pieces, scattered everywhere, along with shattered glass. The back of the tunic is still standing, with the base attached to the bricks that surround the grotto. This i show the faithful found the statue of  Our Lady belonging to a church in Faisalabad (Punjab), targeted by a Muslim fanatic who reduced it to a pile of debris. And the image (photo) supplies the sense of frustration and helplessness of a religious minority affected even in its most cherished and sacred symbols like the Virgin Mary, a figure also honoured and respected even in the Islamic tradition.

    At 10 in the evening of 30 November, the 26-year old Muslim Sabar Shah, son of Abid Shah, a resident of Chak Jumra, Faisalabad district, desecrated the grotto and destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary, attacking her with stones. It was inside a glass case, within a brick wall at the Catholic Church of St. Pius. The statue was discovered by a catechist named Babu Palus Boota, who immediately called the parish priest, Fr. Abid Tanveer, who at that time was returning from a short visit to Lahore.

    The next day, the police opened an investigation, upon complaint of the priest assisted by activists of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church, under Article 295 of the Penal Code. The Christian community has expressed anger and dismay over the blasphemy, but the leader of the Catholics has been able to maintain the calm and avoid exacerbating already exasperated sentiments. At two in the morning of 3 December the police arrested the young Muslim who confessed to the crime and is now subject to pre-trial detention in prison.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, the parish priest, Fr. Abid Tanveer said that "Our Lady is a key component of our faith" and "the act of desecrating a statue only serves to hurt the feelings of Christians." He appeals to the government, to punish those who breed hatred and extremism with a religious background. "The culprit - he concludes - must be brought to justice." Fr. Khalid Rashid Asi, vicar general of Faisalabad, agrees, affirming that the episode shows that "fundamentalists are not able to promote peaceful relations between different faiths."

     

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    See also

    20/07/2010 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad, murdered brothers buried. Justice and Peace: abolish the blasphemy law now
    At 8 this morning the community bid a final farewell to Sajid and Rashid Emmanuel. Their murder has sparked violent clashes between Christians and Muslims. The police are patrolling the streets but the situation is "explosive." Catholic activist: "renewed commitment to cancellation of discriminatory laws." Christian couple threatened with death for a documentary on Gojra.

    28/12/2011 PAKISTAN
    After blasphemy charges against him are dropped, Christian prays for other believers in prison
    Rehmat Masih was arrested on 19 June 2010. He had come to the defence of Christians in a quarrel with a Muslim over land. On 18 November 2011, a court dismissed his case for lack of evidence.

    16/05/2016 14:50:00 PAKISTAN
    Bishop John Joseph's sacrifice "opened up debate on the blasphemy law"

    The Catholic Church commemorates the 18th anniversary of his "martyrdom for the faith." The Bishop’s niece declares that her uncle’s act stirred consciences at home and abroad. The law that punishes offenses against the prophet and the Koran with death was passed in 1986. Since then, 1,400 convicted persons.



    28/09/2006 PAKISTAN
    Christian jailed on blasphemy charges receives support from his family
    In relating their visit to young Shahid Masih, relatives says he is holding up well. They encouraged him to be strong but are afraid of what Muslim extremists might do. The teenager's defence attorney is demanding a more thorough investigation into the case.

    06/05/2006 PAKISTAN
    Mgr John Joseph, blasphemy martyr, remembered

    On the eighth anniversary of the bishop's death, his sacrifice is being recalled across the country and once again, there are calls for abolition of this unjust and abused law.





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