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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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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
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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