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» 09/17/2012
PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians and Muslims condemn blasphemous film about Muhammad
by Shafique Khokhar
Hundreds of people demonstrated in different cities. The Diocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue in Faisalabad organizes a Muslim-Christian meeting. Fr. Mendes: terrible to offend the sensibilities of Muslims. Muslim leader: the authors must be tried by “ Shariah courts." And thanks to Christians for solidarity.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - The wave of protests against the blasphemous film about Muhammad, which has inflamed many Muslim majority countries has 'arrived in Pakistan Over the past few days protests have been held in several cities. Hundreds of people chanted slogans condemning the film "Innocence of Muslims" and the Christian community has sympathized with the Muslim majority condemning a work of little artistic value and offensive to Islam. The Diocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue in Faisalabad, on the evening of September 15, called a press conference in the curia, which was attended by at least 50 prominent figures, Christian and Muslim. They expressed, together the strongest condemnation of the film, branded its authors as "agents of Satan" who deserve exemplary punishment.

The participants appealed to the U.S. government to ban the film, and they also call for the arrest of Pastor Terry Jones, Sam Becile, the director, and other persons who participated in the production. They also specifically ask the Islamabad executive to  demand an official apology from the U.S. embassy in Pakistan. The United Nations, say the Muslim-Christian leaders, must also be considered: these groups should be treated the same way as terrorists because they affect the feelings of the faithful and "demolish peace in the world."

Fr Bonnie Mendes, a priest and former Secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, says it's terrible "to offend the sensibilities of Muslim for sinister and evil interests." The Muslim religious leader Muhammad Ibrahim requested the extradition to Pakistan of Pastor Jones and the author of the film, so they may be " tried by the Shariah courts." He speaks of a "conspiracy" of the Jewish and the U.S lobby. against Islam and thanks "minorities" for their  "strong condemnation" of the film.

For the director of the Diocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue, Fr. Aftab James Paul, freedom of thought "should never mean hurting the feelings of others." The priest announces a letter to the U.S. consulate in Pakistan and will raise the issue with UN officials in the country. Finally, Fr. Khalid Yousaf calls for "respect" for religion, and the end of these "blasphemous acts."

To "avenge" the broadcast of the film that offends the figure of Muhammad, on 11 September, an armed group attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi (Libya). In the attack, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his co-workers lost their lives. The protest against the film has since spread to other Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as India and Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world.

 


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See also
07/06/2009 PAKISTAN
Faisalabad, Christians and Muslims investigating case of young man charged with blasphemy
by Qaiser Felix
10/26/2009 INDIA - PAKISTAN
The courage of the Church of Pakistan, against the "Islamization" of society
by Nirmala Carvalho
05/02/2009 PAKISTAN
Christian families flee Punjab in wake of presumed blasphemy case
by Qaiser Felix
09/18/2007 PAKISTAN
”Blasphemous” Christian freed after a year: he was innocent.
by Qaiser Felix
05/06/2006 PAKISTAN
Mgr John Joseph, blasphemy martyr, remembered
by Qaiser Felix

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