03/31/2011, 00.00
PAKISTAN

Pakistani Minister calls on Interpol and the Pope to condemn Florida Koran burning

by Jibran Khan
Rehman Malik wrote letters to Benedict XVI and the international agency, calling for the condemnation of the act and an exemplary punishment. The Senate approves a resolution calling for the U.S. to take action against the evangelical preacher. Pakistani Christians emphasize their belonging to the country and denounce the “insane” gesture, the cause of a new wave of persecutions.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik - on the recommendation of President Asi Ali Zardari - has sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI and the Secretary General of Interpol Ronald Nobel, in which calls on them to condemn the burning of the Koran and take action against the instigator, the American pastor Terry Jones. The Senate in Islamabad has also intervened on the episode, unanimously passing a resolution urging the U.S. to bring the controversial preacher to justice.

The mad act of Pastor Wayne Sapp, who last March 20 in Florida burned a Koran under the supervision of the evangelical preacher Terry Jones, has sparked controversy and violence. The initiative has been repeatedly strongly condemned by Christian leaders in Pakistan and India, defined as "an insane and disrespectful act” by a U.S. citizen that has nothing to do with the Christians of Pakistan. However, the burning of the Koran has sparked the reaction of Islamic fundamentalists who, in the space of a few days, have attacked three churches and killed two people, fueling the climate of fear and distrust within the Christian community.

The letter addressed to the head of Interpol, explains Rehman Malik, demands that the matter be treated as a case of "violent crime" and that urgent measures be taken for the future, to ensure such episodes are not repeated. The resolution adopted unanimously by the Senate, as well as requiring urgent action against the pastor Terry Jones, calls on all Muslim countries to express their indignation against the United States and the United Nations to register a "shameful act" towards Islam.

The interior minister also condemns attacks on churches and the burning of some copies of the Bible, the work of Islamic fundamentalists. Malik explains that he has instructed security forces to investigate the matter and take "appropriate measures" to "safeguard the rights of minorities, their properties and sacred places."

In recent days, the Christian community has repeatedly emphasised that there are no ties between the United States, Pastor Terry Jones and Pakistani Christians, who "were born and belong only to the motherland." Bishop Anthony Rufin of Islamabad / Rawalpindi, has repeatedly reiterated that "we should not be equated to the Americans." Fr. Anwar Patras, a Catholic priest, has added that the Christian community, first of all, belongs to Pakistan: "We were born in this land and we will be buried here, we have no connection with Pastor Terry Jones and his sick ideas."

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