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» 09/16/2010
ISLAM - INDIA
Kashmir: Muslims try to burn a Christian school (only in name)
by Shefali Prabhu
It is the St Francis School, owned by Muslims, who use the Christian name to attract more students. Four dead and 19 injured in Mendhar, while protests spread in Kashmir. The influence of fundamentalist groups on the masses, dragged from their villages to demonstrate. Missionary priest Jim Borst under police protection.

Mendhar (AsiaNews) - A mob of Muslim radicals have tried to burn a school with a Christian name (St. Francis School), unaware that it is governed by Muslim and Christian in name only. The police managed to stop the arsonists, but fired into the crowd, killing four people and wounding 19. Christian leaders say "these people are being manipulated.

The protest against the "Burn the Koran" campaign is spreading in several areas of Kashmir and has already left 22 dead and hundreds injured. The events used the announced (but subsequently cancelled) desecration of the Koran in the United States, to increase the tension against the Indian government, which refuses to grant autonomy to the region, also disputed by Pakistan.

After three days of demonstrations and violence, protests erupted yesterday in Mendhar, about 60 km from Poonch near the border with Pakistan. From 10 am at least 3,000 people gathered also from nearby villages, marching towards the school of St Francis and the residences of teachers.

The crowd were stopped by the police who used firearms, batons and tear gas grenades. In the clashes four demonstrators were killed and 19 wounded. The mob destroyed dozens of government offices, the police station and burned at least eight cars.

The irony is that the school targeted is Christian in name only and is owned by local Muslims, even if the teaching staff is made up of Christians from Kerala.

Mgr. Peter Celestine, bishop of Srinagar tells AsiaNews: "The so-called St Francis School has nothing to do with Catholic Protestant or evangelical institutions. They only use the Christian name to attract students. This shows that even for the local Muslims, Christian educational institutions have a very high standard”.

"These people - he added –are rounded up from nearby villages and incited to attack, inflamed by religious zeal."

In recent days, however, some Catholic schools were affected. Among them the Good Shepherd's School of missionary Jim Borst, in Pulwama. The mob burned the main building and two other buildings were looted. Witnesses said the protesters were from villages under the influence of "Allahwales" and Devbandis "fundamentalist groups close to the Wahhabis.

Local people, Muslim, expressed solidarity with the missionary and say they are ready to help re-start the school. Fr. Jim, for his part, sent a letter to the families linked to the school, promising to reopen immediately as soon as the curfew ends. Meanwhile the priest is under police protection to prevent attacks against him.

On 14 September another school risked being burnt: it is the Christ School in Poonch. Only police intervention stopped the mob just 500 meters from the building.

Fr. Matthew, the principal told AsiaNews: "We have 1522 students and only 40 are Christians, 40% of the students are Muslims, then there are Hindus and Sikhs. We have always enjoyed a deep respect from the locals. Many Islamic authorities have expressed their displeasure at the attempt to burn the school and condemned the attack. But people are manipulated and have been driven to a frenzy by false news reports".    


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See also
03/29/2011 PAKISTAN
Third church attacked as Pakistani extremists declare war over Florida Koran burning
by Jibran Khan
03/28/2011 PAKISTAN - UNITED STATES
Two Christians killed, churches burned: extremists respond to Florida Koran burning
by Jibran Khan
09/14/2010 INDIA
The fruits of "Burn the Koran": Catholic school burnt two Protestant schools targeted
by Shefali Prabhu
02/16/2009 PAKISTAN
Marginalization, threats, and misery for families charged with blasphemy
by Qaiser Felix
03/31/2011 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Minister calls on Interpol and the Pope to condemn Florida Koran burning
by Jibran Khan

Editor's choices
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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